The big changes coming to WhatsApp

WhatsApp is working on a number of exciting new features that are expected to roll out in the near future.

Both the Android and iOS versions of the messaging app are expected to receive a range of new tools and improved functionality.

These changes range from the ability to send expiring media to a new storage management tool.

We have outlined the most interesting new features that are expected come to WhatsApp below.

Disappearing messages

One of the most-anticipated features which has been tested for WhatsApp on Android and iOS is the ability to send expiring media.

Users will be able to send an expiring image, video, or GIF using this functionality and once it is sent, it will disappear from the recipient’s phone once they leave the chat.

To send expiring media once this feature is available, users will need to tap the new button when sending media via a chat.

There is no timer to set, as the image will completely disappear after it is viewed.

This feature is being tested in the Android and iOS versions of the WhatsApp beta application.

Vacation Mode

Information revealed in a recent beta version of WhatsApp for Android showed that development was continuing on a function the platform had previously named “Vacation Mode”.

Currently, chats which are archived by users are automatically unarchived again when a new message is received.

This new feature allows users to ignore archived chats, however, which means these chats will not be automatically unarchived when new messages arrive.

Once it is launched, this option will be available under a separate Notifications tab within the Archived Chats menu and will include two toggles:

  • Notify new messages – Disabling this feature hides notifications from archived chats, which provides the Vacation Mode functionality.
  • Auto-hide inactive chats – If enabled, chats older than six months will be automatically archived.

New storage tools

Another recent beta version of WhatsApp for Android included a new way to manage sent and received files.

This comprised an overhauled storage usage interface for the application, which allows you to save space by easily finding and deleting large files.

Changes include an overall storage bar which outlines how much of your smartphone’s capacity is filled by WhatsApp media and external data.

There is also a new section that allows you to sort by the size of the media you have received, as well as the date received.

You are also able to see which chats contain media that takes up the most space on your smartphone and search specific chats for certain files.

Fingerprint security

Another new feature which is under development for the Android version of WhatsApp is a fingerprint identity verification option.

WhatsApp is experimenting with a security feature that will allow users to verify their identity for WhatsApp Web using the fingerprint sensor on their smartphone.

This functionality allows users to create a new WhatsApp Web session and confirm that it is them logging into the platform through the WhatsApp mobile app.

There is no confirmed release date for this WhatsApp Web fingerprint security feature as it remains under development.

Android features

Recent reports have shown that there are a number of additional features coming to the WhatsApp platform for Android.

These include a new catalogue shortcut and call button for business chats, as well as WhatsApp Doodles for chat wallpapers.

The new call button for business chats combines the voice and video call shortcuts previously available from the chat screen.

WhatsApp Doodles allow you to customise chat wallpapers with faded sticker outlines.

This functionality will be available as a toggle under the Wallpaper settings menu.

iOS features

WhatsApp is working on other improvements and features for the iOS 14 version of its messaging app.

These include the following:

  • Search Bar changes
  • Limited Library support
  • Mute Always
  • Catalogue shortcut
  • Expiring Media

Changes include a larger search bar for chats, as well as the ability to allow WhatsApp access to only the photos which you select from your library instead of all your images.

The latest iOS beta update for WhatsApp also reveals a new option to Mute a chat permanently, instead of only over eight hours or one week.

Integration with Facebook Messenger

Facebook has slowly been making progress in its reported goal of merging Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp chats into a single unified platform.

It is unclear when and if the full integration of WhatsApp messages with Facebook Messenger will occur, as Facebook has not confirmed this plan.

Facebook has integrated Instagram and Facebook Messenger, however, allowing users to communicate seamlessly between these apps.

The company said this would result in a number of Messenger features rolling out to Instagram – including Vanish Mode, Forwarding, and Selfie Stickers.

Many have alluded to the integration of these services as the beginning of the movement which will result in all of Facebook’s messaging platforms becoming unified.

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The big changes coming to WhatsApp