is the most popular messaging app in the world, used by over 1.2 billion people worldwide and 200 million in India alone. Despite its success, the Facebook-owned company has not become complacent and always keeps the competition on its toes by releasing new features every few weeks. 2017, of course, saw the overhauled WhatsApp Status (an aping of Snapchat), but there have been many other small updates this year that didn’t get as much attention. From increased media sharing limit to video streaming, we take a look at all the new WhatsApp features released this year alone. While going down this memory lane, we’ve ranked features in the order that we feel made the most impact (or will make, if in beta) in user experience.
1. New revamped Snapchat-like Status feature
Perhaps, one of the most important updates this year, the new Status feature was rolled out to all users globally in February. The new WhatsApp Status feature replaced the old text form of status to allow users to change their status to a short video or multiple photos that will automatically disappear in 24 hours. Even though this feature was clearly introduced to combat Snapchat competition, it overhauled the way users interacted on the app daily.
2. Media sharing limit increased to 30
This change is significant because WhatsApp is one of the primary platforms for media sharing after an event, get-together, or any social meeting where pictures and videos are taken. The media limit was first at 10, and this increase to 30 was a welcome change by all users. It was first spotted in Android beta in January, but was later rolled out on all platforms eventually.
3. Recall or Revoke feature
This feature is still not out in the stable version, but has been spotted on various occasions. It’s important on a chat app because it lets you recall sent messages. The feature in the many possible forms it could arrive would allow users to recall or ‘unsend’ messages they have been sent to their contacts, or even edit them. The feature, was earlier seen on iPhone beta version, and was also spotted recently on WhatsApp Web as well.
4. Two-step verification
This feature was rolled out in February to all users as an optional security feature. With this feature, users are now able to verify their number when they install the app on a new device more securely. Users will have to provide a six-digit passcode (created by them using this feature) when registering their phone number with WhatsApp again — or any attempt to verify their phone number through the app. To know how to setup two-step verification, follow the step-by-step guide here.
5. All file type transfer
The company is slowly rolling out support for all types of file transfers (including archives) on Android, iPhone, and Windows Phone with a limited number of users, removing any hindrance of file sharing on WhatsApp. This new feature will now allow you to share video in a wide variety of formats, MP3 songs, or even APK files for that matter on WhatsApp. The file sharing limit will still be at 128MB on iOS, 64MB on Web, and 100MB on Android.
6. Ability to queue messages on iPhone
While WhatsApp had this ability on Android for a while now, iPhone users finally got it in January. This ability to queue messages even when in areas of poor or no connectivity was a big miss for iPhone users, as it prevented them to send messages at all in areas of poor connectivity. Now, all users can just send a WhatsApp message to a group/individual even when connectivity is unavailable, and the message will be sent automatically once they get connectivity again.
7. Reincarnation of Text Status
After the introduction of the new Status feature, support for the old Text Status feature was ended. This created a huge uproar among users, and the feature was then brought back on popular demand. The feature is now available for iPhone and Android users both.
8. Photo Bundling, Video Streaming, Photo Filter features
WhatsApp introduced some nifty features to elevate media sharing. This includes photo bundling into an album, video streaming, and photo filters. The Photo Bundling feature allows users to send photos and videos to your contacts as an album. WhatsApp users can now send a bunch of photos to their friends, who will receive them bundled as an album and not as before, one after another. Once the album is opened, all images are shown on a single page. The feature is already available for iPhone users and is in beta for Android users.
9. Night Mode, Quick Reply button, and ability for Siri to read messages out loud
For iPhone users, WhatsApp recently introduced a new night mode feature for its camera for low-light photography. Interestingly, the Night Mode icon appears by default only when the camera sensor detects low-light conditions, and not otherwise.
10. Chat improvements
To improve the basic handling of chat and the way you communicate with the screen while chatting, WhatsApp has made several tweaks this year. Most notable is that Android users got a new separate video call button and saw the relocation of the attachment button. Earlier, the video calling feature was hidden within or grouped with the voice calling button, and one would need to tap twice in order to choose video calling from a pop-up menu. The attachment button was relocated to the bottom within the text bar. You’ll now see the little attachment feature right next to the camera icon in the text bar. Notably, the text bar too got a new look with rounded corners rather than the square-shaped box of old.
11. Change Number and Live Location feature
Lastly but importantly, WhatsApp was recently reported to be testing a new feature on the Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile platform that could make life less painful when changing your contact number. In trying to ease the transition, it is testing a feature that will notify your friends and family about your number change for you. The Live Location sharing feature was also spotted on Android beta, hinting that it will make its way to WhatsApp soon. This will presumably turn location sharing on as a broadcast — enabling contacts to see each other on a map.
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