3 changes planned for WhatsApp

 ·5 Oct 2021

Several new features are currently in the works for messaging service WhatsApp, according to the official WhatsApp official blog and insider website WABetaInfo.

This will include a number of new features around disappearing messages and a new global voice message player and comes after the messaging platform suffered significant downtime on Monday through its parent company Facebook, which cited a problem with its network configuration.

Bloomberg reported that Signal and Telegram, two private messenger apps, saw downloads and user sign-ups soar, as Facebook and WhatsApp’s loss turned into a gain for other communication networks.

Signal, the Edward Snowden-endorsed business on Monday announced millions of new users on Twitter. Telegram, whose functionality closely mirrors WhatsApp, surged 55 places to top the US iPhone download chart, Bloomberg said, citing Sensor Tower.

Signal’s focus on privacy – expressed in its policy to not collect any data on its users and thus avoid situations where governments may pressure it to disclose personally identifiable information – has made it a favourite for secure communications.

WhatsApp, which boasts more than 2 billion users, is already trying to contain the fallout over an updated privacy policy which meant data-sharing agreements with Facebook.

The messaging service has been hard at work in recent months to win back favour with its users through several crowd-pleasing changers, the most recent of which are detailed below.

Disappearing messages

WhatsApp is rolling out a new update for disappearing messages that will enable users to select the duration of time they want the message to last for.

Previously messages could last up to seven days, with users now given the set a timer anywhere between 24 hours and 90 days.

The update will also introduce a new ‘default message timer’ for new chats,  allowing new conversations to start with the disappearing messages option enabled for the selected duration.

These new features will start rolling out – for WhatsApp beta for iOS, WhatsApp Business beta for iOS – this week. The feature is also expected to launch on Android shortly.

Global voice messages

The global voice message player lets users start a voice note and then exit a chat, view and reply to messages in other conversations in the app while continuing to playback the voice note.

While playing, a window will be pinned to the top of the app with an option to pause or stop playing the voice message.

This feature will be handy for those multi-tasking users without the time to listen to minutes-long voice notes. It does not allow for playing voice notes while the app is minimised.

WABetaInfo said that this feature could also be useful when you receive a voice message that has a long duration. In this case, you can continue sending messages to other contacts when listening to the voice message.

It is also reportedly testing features including transcription and a seek option to advance experiences with voice messages.

Stored messages 

As part of WhatsApp’s forthcoming multi-device feature, the messaging service will store your recent messages on its servers to allow all your devices to download them.

While these messages remain end-to-end encrypted, this is a significant departure from how WhatsApp has functioned, MyBroadband reported.

Until now, WhatsApp has promised to only store messages for as long as it takes to deliver them to your device.

It is not clear whether Facebook will store your chat history for a certain length of time or if it will delete messages once they have been delivered to all your linked devices.

The Facebook-owned messaging platform’s expanded multi-device feature — Multi-Device 2.0 — will sync all chat history from WhatsApp’s servers when opening the app on a secondary device for the first time.

Read: Government extends deadline to hire thousands of assistants for South Africa’s schools – here’s how to apply.

Show comments
Subscribe to our daily newsletter