WhatsApp Beta update introduces new features including channels, HD images, several redesigned elements, and more.
WhatsApp releases an update for Google Play Store beta users. This update includes several experimental features. Some of these features are already available in the stable version. Others are still being developed and available to a limited number of users. To join the WhatsApp Messenger Beta, iPhone users can submit the latest update through the TestFlight Beta Programme.
The release of these features is gradual. Some of the most recent features include companion mode, the ability to automatically play GIFs, call links saved in the calendar app, community admin, and certain users may also experiment with the updated interface for the calling button within chats. These features are presented as circular icons and more.
WhatsApp has launched channels that allow users to follow organizations’ updates privately. This provides one-way broadcast tools for sending text, photos, videos, stickers, and polls to a broad audience, not just to contacts. Channels will be accessible in newly added tabs in the app’s bottom navigation and separate from Chats and Group Chats/Communities. Users can find these using a searchable directory or through invite links.
Channels won’t reveal your phone number to admins or other followers. This is quite similar to Telegram’s channels. Updates will only be shared for up to 30 days, and the channel will remain end-to-end encrypted by default. Admin phone numbers and profiles will remain hidden from followers, protecting personal information.
This feature has yet to be available globally. It is rolling out in Colombia and Singapore, with selected organizations testing the feature. The company is also exploring ways to monetize the feature, such as allowing businesses to charge users for access to their content. To make updates disappear even faster from devices, WhatsApp is also updating tools to make updates disappear even faster from devices. Admins can choose to block screenshots and forwards from their channels.
Update the Tab
The Update tab is a redesigned version of the Status tab. It includes a separate section for muted status updates and a shortcut to open your privacy settings. The status update shortcut is now a shortcut to create a status update within the menu. This shows up when you tap the plus icon at the top of the screen. In the future, channels will also be available within the Update tab, and there will be changes regarding how status updates are displayed.
WhatsApp will finally allow users to send high-quality images. However, images are compressed by default, and users must select the HD option, which appears on top of the images. The image will be sent at 4,096 x 2,692 (11 MP) by selecting the HD option. As usual, it takes more time and data to transmit HD images. This feature will be released in stable versions in the coming weeks for Android and iOS.
This will improve the user experience while sending images and is being rolled out to some beta testers. The default option is always “Standard Quality” for any photo, and users must select the HD option whenever they want to share an updated photo with improved quality.
iPad Support for Companion Device
WhatsApp recently announced a companion mode that allows users to link up to four devices to their account. Now, WhatsApp is working on enhancing this mode by adding iPad compatibility. This means that the iPad will finally be recognized as a linked device.
WhatsApp has introduced an updated keyboard with a new layout and features. Users can now scroll the keyboard upwards for more emojis and other options. The keyboard also includes an emoji category bar, which allows users to easily access different emoji categories. This feature also includes GIF and sticker selections. Attachment sharing buttons have likewise been relocated to align with WhatsApp for desktop and iOS.
Redesigned Floating Action Button
WhatsApp has started rolling out a redesigned interface with a bottom navigation bar. The Calls and Status tabs have square shapes with rounded edges, following Material Design 3 Guidelines. Material Designed 3 will include calls, the status tab, and the toggle switch.
The “Add Other Participants” option has updated the group settings feature. This makes it easier for group admins to manage the group by allowing them to control who can add members.
The redesigned keyboard also includes an additional sticker and GIF picker. Users can now scroll upward to view more items on the grid. The button for accessing the GIFs, stickers, and avatar sections has been relocated higher up and redesigned to clearly indicate that they work as tabs. The search and avatar configuration buttons have been enhanced to make it easier for users to categorize avatar packs.
With the community announcement group feature, community admins can now better highlight their group by sharing a message within the group. In addition, they can mention a certain sub-group. This feature is available for iOS users.
Community admins can now choose who adds groups to the community. Only admins can add groups by default, but they can change this to allow anyone in the community to create their own groups.
A newly added calling button and context menu are available in group chats. This menu lets users choose whether to initiate an audio or video call. The menu has a better design than the old action sheet on iOS, making it easier for users to select the type of call they want to make.
The old settings tab has been replaced with an updated tab that features the user’s profile photo. This redesigned settings page includes three streamlined shortcuts for privacy settings, the contact list, and the profile. There’s also a shortcut to view and share personal QR codes.
Group Profile Icon for easier identification
The app now lets users add profile icons to group chats. This makes it easier to identify participants and distinguish them from one another, especially for users with similar names or who still need to set a profile picture. If users don’t have a profile picture or choose to hide it, the app will show a default empty profile photo that matches the contact’s name’s color.
Users can now crop photos within the app itself, making editing easier. This feature is available for WhatsApp Desktop, which users can download from the Microsoft Store.
Users can now save WhatsApp links to their calendar app. They can tap on the “Add to Calendar” action to do so. This is an additional reminder so users remember to generate a link for a WhatsApp call. Additionally, it allows users to send a link to initiate a call.
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