Changes for WhatsApp – including voice note previews and updated privacy settings

Meta-owned messaging service WhatsApp has announced changes to its voice notes feature, allowing users to preview voice messages before sending them.

In a statement on Tuesday (14 December), WhatsApp said that the future has already begun rolling out to some users in recent weeks and is now available on its Android, iOS, web, and desktop platforms.

Users can listen to a voice message before sending it by doing the following:

  • Open an individual or group chat;
  • Tap and hold the microphone, then slide up to lock hands-free recording;
  • Start speaking;
  • Once finished, tap stop;
  • Tap play to listen to your recording. You can also tap any part of the recording to play it from that timestamp;
  • Tap the trash can to delete the voice message, or tap send to send it.

Privacy settings 

WhatsApp is also reportedly working on new security measures to prevent unknown contacts from seeing a user’s last seen or online status.

According to the insider website WABetaInfo, the change will mean WhatsApp now doesn’t show the last seen and the online status if you have never chatted with another account.

This has historically been a problem as third-party apps available on the App Store or the Google Play Store allow you to log the last seen and the online status of select contacts. People have used these apps to stalk other WhatsApp users as they can see when other people are online.

“We’re making it harder for people you don’t know and haven’t chatted with from seeing your last seen and online presence on WhatsApp,” the messaging service wrote to a user in a support email.

Disappearing messages

WhatsApp also recently introduced changes to disappearing messages, giving users more options around how long a message can be viewed. Messages will then automatically delete after a set interval.

In a blog post on 6 December, the group said WhatsApp users will have the option to turn on disappearing messages by default for all new chats. When enabled, all new one-on-one chats will be set to disappear at a chosen duration.

The messaging service has also added a new option when creating a group chat that lets you turn it on for groups you create. This new feature is optional and does not change or delete any of your existing chats.

As part of this change, WhatsApp is also adding two new durations for disappearing messages: 24 hours and 90 days, as well as the existing option of seven days.

“For people who choose to switch on default disappearing messages, we will display a message in your chats that tells people this is the default you’ve chosen.

“This makes clear it’s nothing personal – it’s a choice you’ve made about how you want to communicate with everyone on WhatsApp moving forward. Though of course, if you need a particular conversation to remain permanent, it’s easy to switch a chat back, it said.


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Changes for WhatsApp – including voice note previews and updated privacy settings