Facebook tests new Face ID security option for Messenger inbox

Facebook is testing a new way for Messenger users to secure their inboxes, at least if they own an iPhone. The feature, which was first leaked back in January, enables Messenger users to secure their inboxes behind Face ID even if the iPhone is unlocked, putting an extra barrier between one's messages and any nosey person who may be trying to get a look.

Many people use Facebook Messenger as their primary chatting app, meaning it usually contains private conversations and sensitive information. Ordinarily, unlocking one's phone would make the app accessible, but that can be changed as part of a test that Facebook has introduced with a small number of its iOS users.

According to Engadget, some Messenger users on iOS can now secure their inbox behind Face ID, Touch ID, or the passcode, depending on which is used with the handset. The user can choose how long the inbox will remain accessible before it will be locked; the options range from immediately after the user leaves Messenger to up to 1 hour after leaving it.

The app states that the Face ID information is neither transmitted to nor stored by Facebook. It's unclear how many iOS users have access to the test at this time and when the feature may go live for everyone. Facebook does plan to make its inbox locking feature available to Android users, as well.

The test isn't a surprise; feature leaker Jane Manchun Wong tipped the new option way back in January before it became official. The test only launched recently, however, with Facebook explaining that it's simply a new option for users who care a bit more about securing their private messages.