WhatsApp, the incredibly popular messaging service recently acquired by Facebook for 19 Instagrams dropped an update for Android users today, bringing the app up to version 2.11.186. The update brings to the Play Store features beta users have enjoyed since version 2.11.181 earlier this month.

Users who grab the update will enjoy new privacy settings for "last seen," profile photo, and status (allowing users to limit who can see each), a camera shortcut (a 1x1 widget for quick photo capture), and several other UI improvements. Here's the full list of changes:

What's New

  • new privacy settings for last seen, profile photo and status
  • add Camera shortcut for quicker picture sending
  • add ability to pay for a friend's WhatsApp service
  • add large video thumbnails in chat
  • add option to show unread messages on home screen widget (Android 3.0+)
  • add option to share/save profile photo/group icon
  • increase message history user can send
  • fix sending flag emoji on Sony phones
  • fix voice note recording volume on Samsung Note 3 and Sony phones
  • enabled Hindi (Android 4.1+)

One of the most interesting new features is the ability for users to pay for each other's WhatsApp subscriptions. For those unaware, WhatsApp is free for a year, after which the service asks a meager $0.99 payment per year to continue service. Android users are now able to pay for their friends' subscriptions on Android or other mobile platforms including Windows Phone, Blackberry, and iOS.

Screenshot_2014-03-10-20-06-38 Screenshot_2014-03-10-20-06-56 Screenshot_2014-03-10-20-08-32

If you're already a WhatsApp user who hasn't been getting the apk directly from WhatsApp's website, hit the widget below. If you're not a user, but want to see what all the fuss is about, now's a great time to check it out.

Liam Spradlin
Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.

  • Joaquín Tuduri

    What's weird about Whatsapp is that when you get close to the end of that first "free trial year", and you don't pay the 0.99 cents, they automatically extend it for a couple more months or even a year.

    I guess they would rather keep the user than lose one over .99 cents.

    (It's happened twice for me now.)

    • Darkbotic

      Shhhh! What are you doing!!!?
      We don't want WhatsApp to know about this... ;)

    • ProductFRED

      No, what's weird is that I popped my SIM into an iPhone 4S a few years ago, installed Whatsapp, and got a Lifetime Account. Then I just put my SIM back into my Galaxy Nexus and have had a Lifetime Account ever since. I never understood why it was an iPhone-only exclusive.

      Too bad I uninstalled it though, what with Facebook buying it.

      • CMETRIQ

        So Facebook bought it, so fucking what? You most likely have or had Facebook or Google account in one point of time. They already know all your info more than whatsapp ever could. You really think Facebook is going to read your messages between you and your dumbass friends? People are fucking sheep sometimes it's amazing.

        • Pearl

          What's with negative respond ? Are you Facebook employee or what ?
          I don't have Facebook account. And probably never will.
          "At one point of time" you said ? No, people don't have obligation to join FB. People are free to choose which social network they want to join.

          You should never assume people will choose the same choice as yours. It's disgusting.

          • Alexander Fuchs

            And then this people should stop complaining. And just shut up.

        • MistiXF

          Never had, never will. Because fuck you. Simple as that.
          Deleted whatsapp as soon as I found out that FB boought it. Also, becasue fuck you.

          • Gheni

            You are really strong, man! Go ahead like this....

        • Dario · 753 a.C. .

          my fear is about they can introduce that people will see you not with the nick you chose, but with your real name and last name trought facebook.

          if it'll happen, ifyou wanna know who's the owner of a number, you just have to add that number as a contact and see the real name or something like it.

          in fact i hope they'll not do something like that. anyway facebook has already done what i said for facebook messenger. if you add your phone number, everyone having your phone number can know name and lastname of the owner adding that number on facebook messenger

    • haroonazeem638

      I've got it automatically extended 4 times already.

    • John

      Didnt work for me. Got extented one time (2 weeks) after that it urged me to pay (no possibility to view incoming messages anymore). Had to pay... and after that (last year) there was Telegram... and the time when I said goodbye forever WhatsCrap.

      • MJ

        Oh, my God! They cut off your service after you didn't pay? Those bastards really wanted to charge you $.99 for another year!

        Welcome to the real world...

      • Ulysses Grant

        For God sake! Its only 99 cents a year. You probably had fun using it... 99 cents!!!!!

    • Satish

      Same has happened with me.
      I joined WhatsApp in Nov 2011 and at the moment, my free trial will expire on Feb-2015. I got 2 one year extension and I didn't have to pay anything.

    • krazyfrog

      I haven't paid them a dime and somehow I have Lifetime of free service.

    • unni123456

      Facebook paid $40 per user. May be that's why they gave us free extension. Now, it may not happen.

    • MJ

      Not a Whatsapp user here but It amazes me how people won't pay for services nor software these days. It's $.99 a year! I know the economy is tough but come on... Get hired at McDonald's and work one hour then quit. You will even have about $5 left over to spend on some mobile apps.

      • Ulysses Grant

        You are right. People complained that they have to pay but also complained when they see ads on the app. Speaking of instant gratification.

        • Justin Howell

          You're still alive?

      • Matthew

        You know I buy apps happily but never thought to purchase Whatsapp because it did extend to me and never bothered me, only until now do I realize I have it for free. I'm going to purchase it now because I do use it hella a lot, so it clearly has earned its worth.

    • http://www.linkedin.com/in/pratikthakkar Pratik Thakkar

      They have done this to me 5 times.

    • RiTCHiE

      and that shouls be a reason to leave them also. Whatscrap is done and people should all boyvcot them FB mofo's.

  • Aditya Bhatt

    Previously I was an iPhone user and after switching to Android my Whatsapp account shows lifetime validity . People have been using it for years on Android and I don't know a single person who has paid for this. If its going to be free then why do they add the payment option ?

    • ash

      Paying for others will lead to many scam msgs and even mails

      • Dmitri Smirnov

        Unlikely. I doubt WhatsApp is going to let you get the funds out of the system, as for the service itself - it's hardly worth to try and set up a scam to get one dollar. Practically anything will get you a better return of your time.

  • Kafman

    In the latest beta, they had a nice feature were you could silence a whatsapp group, and it wouldn't show the notifications on the notification area. Does this feature couldn't reach to the final version?

    • frafri

      whats the link for the beta apk??

    • Ygor Vaz

      I've never used the beta version bit I've been using this function for quite a few months. You only have to go to the group you want to silence and then open the options (use your device's physical options button if it has onde) and it will be right there.
      In the photo below you can see it as "silenciar" (brazillian portuguese of silence)

      • Kafman

        Like I said to the other guy, I know how to silence groups, the thing is that even if your silence the group, you will still get the messages on the notification bar. In the beta when you silenced a group, you wouldn't get message notifications.

        • Dario · 753 a.C. .

          another things.. why do i have to silence a group only for a week? everyweek i have to repeat the same things to silce every group i enjoyed.. i really don't know why they don't have "forever" option as well.

    • flow_241

      This option isnt beta only. Go into a group chat, hit the options button and there you can silence the group.

      • Kafman

        I know how to silence groups, the thing is that even if your silence the group, you will still get the messages on the notification bar. In the beta when you silenced a group, you wouldn't get message notifications. It was the perfect feature.

  • Naga Sridhar

    One advantage of a friend paying for someone is that now I can pay for my parents without going through the fuss of explaining them how to pay and why should they pay for it!

    • MJ

      Definitely targets the indian "boyfriends" association bro..

      • Naga Sridhar

        That definitely will happen! But I think spending 50/60 rupees for a year will be the least of their expenditure/ worries!

  • Rami

    In the new Privacy settings, what do they mean by allow "Contacts"? all contacts in my device, or just those with whom I started a chat?

    • buuuuh

      All the contacts synced with WA.

      • 3laa2

        What is Wa

        • Dario · 753 a.C. .


      • 3laa2

        Sorry I mean what do you mean by synced with WA

    • Dario · 753 a.C. .

      that's a very interesting point. i think contacts on your device but you'd better set "only contacts" and then ask to someone you don't have in your device contacts if he can see that. let me know what you'll get about that


    dont get the option of camera shortcut for quicker picture sending on my samsung note 2

  • Nestea80

    Finally audio notes are fixed for my Note 3!

  • Khaled helmi

    something I realized after updating is the ability to save a contacts photo. I don't remember being able to do that before.

    • Wesley Modderkolk

      You could, when you opened the image it was automatic saved in sdcard/Whatsapp/Profile Pictures

      • Dario · 753 a.C. .

        that's not the same. now you have a real option to save that while before it was not so clear, but of course, you're right, you could

        • Wesley Modderkolk

          Ah okay, in that way.

  • RiTCHiE

    Telegram is the next gen whatsapp killer anyways.


  • G

    A major gripe I have with this app is that anyone who has your mobile number, regardless of whether or not you have them on your contact list, are able to see you status, profile pic, etc. It baffles me why this hasn't been fixed yet. There are plenty of alternatives which are much better than this app. The problem is that loads of your friends use this so your kind of stuff trying to force everyone to use a more secure, private app...

    • http://nspeaks.com Navjot Singh

      You haven't checked the above post. You can hide your status, pics and last seen from such people now.

  • _artem_

    Successfully removed my account and completely switched to telegram. The only regret - I paid for this crap mid December and completely removed (including paid subscription) my account couple of weeks ago. Btw after deletion of my account (from whatsapp settings), couple of days later I just restored my titanium backups of whatsapp, and guess what! I got tons of messages that people sent me after I already deleted my account, seconds later i got a dialog to confirm my number which i hasn't because otherwise I would send paid sms my own number which then automatically deleted by whatsapp. I restored my backups because all my contacts still could see me in their whatsapp contacts, I had to email whatsapp that they should completely remove my account so none of my friends are confused seeing me in their whatsapp contacts and wondering why I don't answer them. And one day later I disappeared from my friends' whatsapp contacts. So if you delete your account, your new unread messages are still kept on whatsapp (fb) server

  • curioussss

    Hmm when I chose only visible to my 'contacts' and when I viewed some who are my contacts, some time stamp could be seen and, some couldn't and when I switched back to visible to 'everyone', all time stamp could be seen. Does this mean whoever in your contacts must have you in their contacts too for either party to see the other's time stamp when choosing this option? Has anyone discovered this too?

    • Sam

      Hi, Yeah I was curious about that too so I turned my last seen to "My contacts" and suddenly some of the last seen stamps disappeared. So I asked one of my good friends and cousin that how come I can't see their time stamp even though they are in my list, I found that they didn't save my number I was on their fone just as a number no name nothing. Hence, both parties need to be in each others contact list to see the last seen stamp when on "My contacts" option. Which kinda sucks to be honest :(.

  • fjleon

    there's a bug with the privacy control, for example if you disable the "last seen" feature, it actually applies in reverse as well, meaning you won't be able to see other people's last seen. If this is the intented behaviour, the window shouldn't say "who can see my personal info".

  • Anthony Johnson

    This one is expected from Facebook as firstly they
    acquired Instagram a popular photo sharing app and now takeover whatsapp which
    are giving tough competition. Well hope they will take the step to improve this
    app further regardless of an aim to destroy its presence. I love to use
    whatsapp and definitely checkout these new features on my qi enabled Nexus 5.

  • Android Developer

    I just don't get how can they be so popular with such minor updates and so few features compared to the other competitors.
    All other alternatives provide more features. granted, some are buggy (like hangouts), but they are much better than this app in any possible way...
    And WhatsApp isn't even for free anymore.

    I've recently tried an app called "Telegram".
    Sadly, it doesn't have calls and video calls, but in terms of messaging, it just has so much more to offer:
    - totally free
    - open source (you can even use the web browser or desktop app),
    - no registration (like WhatsApp),
    - no restrictions on files being sent (can send even APK).
    - no downscaled images
    - files are saved on the cloud instead of your device (saves space) and you can choose exactly what to save on the device.
    - quite fast.

  • Monika

    I think I might check out some new kids on the block, any advice? I've heard about this new messenger, Piip, has anyone tried it yet? It seems as if it's in its baby phase, but seems decent enough...

    • http://www.radioshak.co.uk Shakil Shaikh


  • Gonzo

    How is the 99c working for you to now start receiving ads and being tracked by Facebook? If you think Facebook will not track you, you need to start living in the real world. And if you believe Koum's last post on his blog, then you're really fantasizing. Do not let others do the research that you should be doing for yourself. He says they do not have your personal information. GPS is enabled in WA. They have your phone number. Facebook has the rest of your information. Have fun paying your 99c for getting them to run you over twice.

  • raquel

    I paid for a friend that couldnt use whatsapp anymore. Will he be notified?

  • kd

    I too got 3 years extended already

  • jrj

    Yeah but how do you stop whatsapp from automatically downloading peoples profile pics to their phone. I dont want everyone to have the pics I put up..

  • katec481

    mine didnt Joaquin, what's more I've just lost all my photos and messages as it wouldnt transfer them. Why dont they update the darned thing when requesting the payment?