4 major changes for WhatsApp – from new profiles to larger calls

 ·8 Nov 2023

Meta-owned WhatsApp is constantly updating and has several new features in the pipeline for users.

In South Africa, WhatsApp remains the free online messaging platform of choice, constantly introducing new features – such as the recently launched Channels.

However, before these updates are released to everyday users, they are usually rolled out to Beta testers to see if there are any technical issues that may negatively affect the App’s performance or the user’s experience.

WABetaInfo, a data service, provides a comprehensive breakdown of all the new features that WhatsApp is releasing or still working on.

Below are four new features that users should keep an eye out for:

Alternative profile

WhatsApp is working on bringing alternative profile features to the App in the future.

This will allow users to create a different photo and name for contacts who cannot see their primary profile information.

For example, if contacts can only see one’s profile photo, people outside of a user’s contact list will still see an alternative picture.

“In our opinion, the alternate profile feature can serve as a protective shield: it will be adding a new layer of security and privacy to the user experience as they have finally more control over their information,” WABetaInfo said.

Channel polls

WhatsApp is also working on adding polls to the recently launched Channels feature.

The polls will be able to restrict responses to a single-choice, which is similar to what is found in the chats and groups feature.

Privacy will also be ensured as phone numbers are not disclosed to the channel owner or their followers.

“In our opinion, bringing a poll feature to channels may be very beneficial as it is the best tool to gather feedback from channel followers. We believe that the introduction of polls can often encourage a more active interaction compared to simple emoji reactions,” WABetaInfo said.

Bigger calls

A new update on IOS has also allowed users to initiate group calls with 31 other participants.

Although calls that supported 32 participants were supported in a prior update, users could only select 15 contacts when starting such calls. The new update allows users to start a full-capacity call of 32 participants from the outset.

WABetaInfo said that some accounts may only receive the update over the coming weeks.

Search dates

WhatsApp is also rolling out a feature for its web beta testers, allowing them to search for messages on specific days.

A calendar button is available while searching for messages in a conversation, allowing users to find a message shared on a particular date.

“With the introduction of the date-based search feature, it’s finally possible to quickly locate messages from a particular date, and this not only saves time but also reduces the frustration of scrolling through long chat histories,” WABetaInfo said.

“In addition, we think that this feature is particularly helpful when it comes to recalling non-text messages, such as voice notes, which can be complicated to retrieve since those without text transcriptions cannot be searched, or when users are unable to recall the exact wording in a text message.”

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