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WhatsApp Has Added New Features To Their App In 2023

Over the past few weeks, Whatsapp has made announcements about new features and updates coming to the app. WhatsApp is an online messaging service founded in February 2009 by Brian Action and Jan Koum and was later acquired in 2014 by Meta Platforms, Inc., formerly Facebook, Inc. It soon became one of the most popular messenger-based apps in the world; now, with reported 2 billion active users. With these new updates, the company aims to improve the user’s app experience while ensuring their privacy and security. In this article, I will discuss some recent updates and features available to WhatsApp users shortly.

Single-vote polls

On May 4, WhatsApp introduced some new updates regarding creating polls in order “to help groups gather info and make decisions together.” Now, WhatsApp users can create single-vote polls that allow individuals to vote once. To do this, the poll creators would have to turn off the “allow multiple answers” toggle while creating the poll. This feature is great for when you need to get a definitive answer.

Secondly, users can search for a specific poll by filtering their messages, similar to how you filter for photos, videos, or links. To search for a survey, you would need to go to the “Chats” screen and press the ‘Search’ button, and then the “Polls” button. There you will find a list of all the polls and be able to vote or look at the results later. You can also receive notifications when people vote on your polls, which will help you be updated on all the poll responses.

Sharing media

Within the same WhatsApp blog, WhatsApp announced that users could forward media with captions within their group chat. This is great for when you need to provide additional details or add context to the media shared in the discussions.

“Sharing photos on WhatsApp is one of the easiest ways of keeping friends and family updated on your life, and the ability to forward media means you can quickly reshare images from one group of connections to another,” said WhatsApp. “But sometimes you might not have time to add context before someone responds.”

Until now, users were able to send a message after they have already sent the image.  As a result of this new update, users can keep, delete, or rewrite a caption when sharing photos, videos, or GIFS. Furthermore, WhatsApp users can also share documents with captions which makes finding documents within the group chats easier.

Multi-device compatibility

On April 25, WhatsApp announced that individuals would soon be able to connect four mobile devices to a single account. Previously, WhatsApp users could only have one phone and multiple companion desktop devices per WhatsApp account. By adding this update to their app, people can switch devices without ever signing out and continue their conversations right where they left off. Additionally, business owners can now give their employees access to their WhatsApp business accounts and contact their customers directly.

“Last year, we introduced the ability for users globally to message seamlessly across all their devices while maintaining the same level of privacy and security,”  said the WhatsApp team. “Today, we’re improving our multi-device offering further by introducing the ability to use the same WhatsApp account on multiple phones.”

According to an article posted, WhatsApp started its journey on multi-device compatibility in 2021 by conducting a limited public beta test. During that time, other messaging apps, such as Telegram and Messenger, had already offered messaging synchronization on multiple devices, but they didn’t provide end-to-end encryption. WhatsApp was developing this messaging synchronization across multi-devices while maintaining end-to-end protection and making it available to everyone in 2022. Later, TechCrunch reported that WhatsApp added updates that allow users to link four desktop devices without having a registered phone switched on and an Internet connection, and now, the ability to use the app on multiple cellular devices.

When you link your phone as a companion device, it connects to the app independently. It ensures all your messages, calls, and media are end-to-end encrypted. Also, if the primary account has been inactive for a long time, WhatsApp will automatically log you out of all companion devices.

This feature will be rolling out to users globally in the next couple of weeks and will be available to all users who install the latest updates of WhatsApp Messenger and WhatsApp Business. Furthermore, after this release, users can link companion devices by receiving a one-time code instead of scanning a QR code.

Keep in Chat

WhatsApp has allowed individuals to save messages with Keep in Chat. This will enable users to keep texts or voice notes that may hold critical information, which you will enable later. Also, as the sender, you can accept or decline the request.

“Today we’re introducing “Keep in Chat,” so you can hang on to texts you need for later, with a special superpower for the sender,” said WhatsApp on a blog post. “We believe if you’ve sent the message, it’s your choice whether others in the chat can keep it for later.”

Before, messages would disappear from the chatroom within a set time frame, whether 24 hrs, seven days, or 90 days. Now, this new feature will allow users to save any important messages from your chats in just a few steps.

First, you must press the “Keep in Chat’ button, which will notify the sender of your request. Then, the sender can confirm or deny your request. If the sender denies your request, the message will disappear like the other messages within the set time frame. If they do allow you to save the message, then the message will be moved to the Kept Messages folder, where the messages will be organized by chat.

Chat Lock

WhatsApp has been finding more ways to enhance privacy on the app, and the most-requested lock chat feature has made its way to some lucky beta testers. According to a website that tracks WhatsApp, beta testers around the globe are getting a chance to try out a feature that will allow individuals to lock their chats and keep their conversations hidden using their fingerprint or passcode. 

“Once a chat is locked, it can only be accessed using the user’s fingerprint, making it impossible for anyone else to open the chat,” they said. “As an additional layer of privacy, this feature also ensures that media files such as photos and videos sent in a locked chat are not automatically saved to the device’s gallery.”

To find out if you have access to this feature, you have to open the chat info and see an option called “Chat Lock.” Once you enable it, there will be a new section called “Locked Chats” in your chat list, which you only unlock with your fingerprint. In addition, if someone tries to access your phone and fails to provide the required authentication, they will be prompted to clear the chat to open it. Currently, this feature is only available to some beta testers, but it will become available to more people over the next few weeks. 

GIFs, stickers, voice messages, etc.

One of the critical features that WhatsApp wrote down on their website is the ability to “express yourself,” whether that’s with the use of stickers, voice, GIFs, etc. It can provide a variety of ways to have more expressive and engaging conversations.

“Sometimes we need more than words to let someone know how we feel,” said WhatsApp.  “You shouldn’t have to rely on spelling it out perfectly to get your message across.”

WhatsApp constantly provides a variety of GIFs and stickers that people can use when sending messages to their friends and family. For example, the company recently released a new “Share Asian Love Sticker” pack on its Twitter account for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPI Heritage Month).

What’s next?

WhatsApp is constantly finding ways to make their app more user-friendly and to be able to express themselves through their app with recent enhancements like single-vote polls, sharing media with captions, and creative sticker packets. In addition to the announced updates, WhatsApp could consider implementing a feature that allows users to schedule messages, making it convenient for individuals in different time zones to communicate effectively. While many of the features are still under development, WhatsApp continues to make updates and add new features to its app.

Cover image provided by Vectonauta on Freepik.

 

Edited by Whitney Edna Ibe


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