This story was originally published and last updated .
WhatsApp has supported group audio and video calls since 2018, but you have always been limited to calling three other people at one time. During times of stay-at-home orders and quarantines, that might not be enough to stay connected with all of your friends and family. An update to the WhatsApp beta channel improves that situation as it raises the limit to up to eight participants (including yourself) for the first few users, but it involves a server-side change, too.
Unicode 12.0 was officially announced many months ago, but the emojis and changes it brought have slowly been trickling down to different platforms. Google already implemented them in Android 10, but WhatsApp, which likes to use its own cross-platform designs, is just now following suit.
Whatsapp, which is used by billions around the world, might be upgraded in the near future to gain a new privacy-oriented feature. According to the folks at wabetainfo, the latest beta version of Whatsapp is starting to lay down the foundation for disappearing messages. However, the feature isn't live for anyone yet, and there is no promised and concrete timeline.
Just like almost any other app these days, WhatsApp offers status updates eerily similar to Snapchat and Instagram Stories. People who are into this feature have had the possibility to mute certain contacts (such as their colleagues) for quite some time already. However, muted updates would still show up in the status tab, greyed out but within a separate section below all others. The latest beta (version 2.19.260) is looking to change that with an option that lets you hide muted stories altogether.
Despite WhatsApp's near-ubiquity in my region, its Status feature has failed to gain much traction even though it's been available for over two years. Some of my friends love it and post multiple updates per day, but they're a clear minority. Yet, WhatsApp seems to think there's hidden potential in statuses and has already announced that ads would be coming to it in 2020. Another feature now rolling out in beta is the ability to share a status to other apps, most notably Facebook.
Back when I was six years old, a teacher showed us the image of an animal and asked us what it was. Several students answered "hippopotamus," and I was left wide-eyed and speechless. I was not used to being one of those who didn't know something, so the feeling stuck with me and I started working harder to avoid being as clueless as I was that day. If that incident is still imprinted in my memory, you can imagine that the hippo holds a special place in my heart too. My husband would tell you that I made him walk the entire Valencia Bioparc twice on our honeymoon because we missed the hippo on our first pass.
Move over, emojis and GIFs, stickers are the next hot item every social app or keyboard must have. As if we didn't have enough ways to express ourselves in our messages, there's even more pressure now on finding the right visual to convey our current state among a sea of potential sticker packs. WhatsApp is the latest messenger to join the game with its own sticker implementation in a beta release.
iOS users have enjoyed a neat gesture in WhatsApp for a long time that us Android fans have been denied: a simple swipe to reply on any message. For the past few weeks, this feature has been rumored to be coming to Android and now it's finally live in the latest beta.
Not to be outdone by Telegram's new "Mark as read" button on notifications, WhatsApp is rolling the same feature out to some users now. Not everyone is able to see this shortcut, even those of us on the latest beta, so it appears the function is enabled via a server-side switch.
Android 8.0 Oreo introduced one cool feature for app notifications: channels. Since not all notifications are created equal, even if they come from the same app, this would allow you to choose how different types of notifications appear, sound, and vibrate, or not, on your phone. However, that created one big issue: Google didn't have a fallback in place for apps that don't get updated to support the channels, which means that you couldn't assign importance to any notification coming from the app. That, as you can imagine, was very annoying with apps like WhatsApp where you couldn't disable the permanent WhatsApp Web running notification without disabling all of the app's notifications, for example.