Instant messaging platform WhatsApp has rolled out multiple features this year including dark mode, improved group privacy settings, fingerprint unlock feature and even Netflix trailer in-app streaming support.
Here's a list of features already rolled out as well as those being tested in beta.
Rolled out WhatsApp features
1) WhatsApp Business app for iPhone
WhatsApp started rolling out the Business App for iPhone users earlier this year in India, Brazil, Germany, Mexico, the UK, and the US. It also rolled out a new Catalog feature for businesses using the latest WhatsApp Business app on both Android and iPhone in India, Brazil, Germany, Indonesia, Mexico, the UK, and the US. This feature is aimed to help small businesses showcase and share their offerings through a distinct catalog of products.
It also introduced quick replies, labels, and chat list filtering on the Web version as well as the desktop clients of the Business app.
2) Group Privacy Settings
WhatsApp rolled out the updated group privacy settings globally which give the control to select which of contacts can add you to a group on the instant messages. This change has been introduced to curb spam group invites.
3) Biometric authentication
Both Android and iOS users can now lock automatically and unlock the app only with their fingerprint. Users can choose the duration the app will automatically lock in as well as whether the content of messages will be visible in notifications, including the sender of the message. WhatsApp for iOS users can also use Face ID to lock the WhatsApp app.
4) Consecutive voice messages
This feature allows for auto-playing of two or more voice messages sent one after the other to Android, iOS users and WhatsApp Web.
5) Status Updates as Facebook Stories
This feature lets you share your WhatsApp Status on Facebook Stories and has been rolled out to Android and iPhone users.
6) 'Frequently Forwarded' label in India
In August, this feature was rolled out on both Android as well as iOS apps to let users know if the message they have received has been forwarded over five times. Long forwarded messages are also truncated, and users will have to tap to read the full message.
7) Tipline feature
This feature was introduced to prevent the spreading of fake news ahead of the general elections in India. WhatsApp unveiled its ''Checkpoint Tipline'' feature where people can check the authenticity of information received.
8) Enhanced PiP mode in Android, Web
In June 2019, WhatsApp for Android got an update that enhanced Picture-in-Picture (PiP) feature to allow users to watch videos in a pop-up window even while switching from one chat to another. It also continues to play the video on the floating window when WhatsApp is in the background.
9) Netflix trailer support
Earlier in November, WhatsApp was spotted being able to stream Netflix video trailers in-app. WABetaInfo reported that when users share a compatible Netflix link, the recipient will be able to play the trailer video in the messaging app itself. This feature is only available for iOS users for now.
10) Opi Stickers support
Expanding its sticker collection, WhatsApp added an Opi sticker pack designed by Colombian illustrator Oscar Ospina, in June this year. The pack includes Opi stickers featuring a white-color bear expressing different emotions and is available within WhatsApp for both Android and iPhone users.
11) Limits forwards to 5 chats globally
Again to combat fake news, WhatsApp limited the forward feature to just five chats. This feature was first rolled out to Indian users in July last year, and in January, the company rolled it out to all users globally.
12) Reply Privately for iPhone
At the start of 2019, WhatsApp introduced for iPhone users Reply Privately support in WhatsApp Groups which lets users add stickers to photos and videos, and 3D Touch support to preview a contact's status. The feature allows the participants of a group to reply privately to a chat in their 1:1 chat. Android users got this feature last year.
13) 3D Touch to preview Status on iPhone
WhatsApp for iPhone update got the ability to use 3D Touch to preview a contact's status in the Status tab. The preview screen also lets the user Mute a status if they desire. It is important to note here that not all iPhone models support 3D Touch.
14) Group call shortcut
WhatsApp for Android v2.19.9 introduced a dedicated call button in group chats - something that is already available for iPhone users since last year. This feature can be used to make group calls by adding the participants all at once from a slide-out tray containing the contact cards of all members in a group.
New WhatsApp features in 2019 (Beta)
1) New camera icon
The latest WhatsApp for Android 2.19.328 update brings a change in the Instagram logo-like camera icon inside the WhatsApp app.
2) Emoji-related features
Earlier this month, WhatsApp Android beta version 2.19.315 brought along new emojis and tweaked a few existing ones. The new emojis include more couple emoji variations, colour blocks, yawning face, and a single individual in various postures. An update in May brought along as many as 155 redesigned emojis.
3) Splash Screen
Splash Screen was spotted in Android beta 2.19.297, and a new Light Splash Screen and a Dark Splash Screen was spotted. The Light Splash Screen will show up when Dark Mode is not activated. Splash Screen is a new page that shows up initially when the app loads for the first time, with the WhatsApp logo plastered on a white background. This was spotted in Business beta as well.
4) Hide Muted Status Updates
The Hide Muted Status Updates feature brings the ability to completely vanish all traces of muted updates from the WhatsApp Status section. Currently, the muted status updates show up at the end of the scroll, but this new feature will hide that section completely.
5) Audio playback in notifications
This feature has been spotted being tested in iOS beta. It brings the ability to preview incoming voice messages on the notification panel but may not be working for all beta testers.
6) Memoji Stickers on iOS
Memoji Stickers option showed up for beta testers, and the stickers show up in the frequently used section as well, alongside the normal emojis. Memoji stickers are available for iPhone X, iPhone XR and iPhone XS users only, running on iOS 13.
7) Quick Media Edit feature
The Quick Edit Media Shortcut will provide editing of media files you have sent or received in an individual WhatsApp chat or a group conversation.
8) Animated stickers
Once developed, this feature will support iOS, Android, and even the Web. WABetaInfo shared screenshots and photos of the feature working on all three platforms.
9) Increasing audio files limit
WhatsApp is working on bringing a new UI for selecting audio files that allow users to preview an audio file before sending, and also lets users send up to 30 audio files at a time.
10) Short Link feature for iPhone
The Short Link feature is already available on both the regular Android and WhatsApp Business for Android apps, and is finally being tested on iOS. Using the new Short Link feature, the business can access a short wa.me URL to share with its customers.
11) Redesigned Settings menu for Android
The redesigned Settings brings relocation of certain tools, new icons and the way information is displayed on the screen. The first noticeable change is the addition of a 'Payments' option on the main 'Settings' page which shows a history of payments and details of the linked bank account.
12) Download Single Sticker option
The download single sticker feature is now live in a beta update and is expected to come in the stable update soon. It was introduced in the latest WhatsApp for Android beta version 2.19.33. Earlier, a user was forced to download the entire sticker pack even if the person just wanted to use a single sticker from that pack. This new feature is useful, especially for those who want an uncluttered stickers menu with only the relevant ones showing up. It also saves precious data for all the limited pack users.
13) Shared Media Options
Users when browsing photos in the Media section will be able to see new options by tapping the three-dot menu button - 'Show in Chat', 'Set as...' and 'Rotate'.
14) iPhone app redesign
WhatsApp beta 220.127.116.11 for iPhone brought along a redesign of few elements, and the most notable ones include different cell animations, redesign of read receipts, chat icons, and more. However, lot more subtle changes are expected to be introduced soon.
15) Redesigned Facebook Logo
This feature is being tested to redesign Facebook footer which is visible on the welcome screen as well as in the settings menu of the latest WhatsApp beta version.
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