WhatsApp in 2021: the features already released and the news to come | Applications and Software

O Whatsapp implemented several new features in recent months. In addition to accessing one account on up to four devices, the messenger team announced a tool to migrate conversation history between operating systems, self-destructing photos and videos, and more. Here are all the features that have already been released in 2021 and those that will be brought to the app in the future.


WhatsApp on Android (Image: André Fogaça/Tecnoblog)

Using the same account on up to four devices

Unlike Telegram, you need to keep your cell phone turned on to use WhatsApp on a computer. But that started to change in July, when the messenger announced the possibility of accessing an account on up to four different devices. And all this without giving up end-to-end encryption.

The function allows the user to exchange messages through the notebook without having the smartphone around, for example. In addition, those responsible for the platform informed that the message history will be synchronized between all connected devices. The feature is still in the testing phase.

WhatsApp on multiple devices (Image: Disclosure)
WhatsApp on multiple devices (Image: Disclosure)

Migration of conversation history between systems

The messaging app even announced, in August, a feature to migrate conversation history between operating systems. This means that, through the new feature, it will be possible to take information from an Android cell phone to an iPhone or from an iPhone to Android. In addition to messages, the tool also transfers media, such as images and voice messages, to the new smartphone.

According to the messenger, the feature will reach Android first. “Users will be able to take their WhatsApp histories from iOS to an Android device and later be able to do the same on iOS devices,” they said in August.

Backup Migration (Image: Disclosure)
Backup Migration (Image: Disclosure)

Photos and videos that self-destruct

WhatsApp was closer to Snapchat and Instagram. Also in August, the messenger team made official a feature that allows you to send photos and videos with a kind of “expiration date”. In the ad, the messenger said the function offers “an additional layer of privacy and control” to the media.

The feature allows the file to be viewed only once. Just like Instagram Direct, when tapping on a received image, for example, the media will expire right away. To view it again, you need to resubmit it.

Those responsible for the platform also prepared improvements for temporary messages in groups. Also, the messenger works in a “Disappearance Mode”. According to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the function will be implemented in the near future.

Temporary photos on Android and iOS (Image: Disclosure)
Temporary photos on Android and iOS (Image: Disclosure)

The messenger features end-to-end encryption to protect conversations that take place on the platform. Still, backups stored on Google Drive, via the Android app, and on iCloud, via the iPhone (iOS) app, do not have an extra layer of protection. But this problem will be fixed soon.

In July, WhatsApp Beta began receiving the function to protect backups. It works like this: when saving a backup on Google Drive, for example, the user can choose a password to encrypt their files. Then, the information can only be accessed with the registered credential.

Backup with password (Image: Playback/WABetaInfo)
Backup with password (Image: Playback/WABetaInfo)

WhatsApp Payments

WhatsApp Payment was officially announced in June 2020 and suspended in Brazil by the Central Bank (BC) days later. The platform, however, returned to work in the country in May 2021 after being approved by the BC in March.

The platform allows users to make payments through the messaging application. For this, it is necessary to register a card from a bank or financial institution that is a partner of the service. This is the case of Itaú (Mastercard), Nubank (Mastercard), Banco do Brasil (Visa), Bradesco (Visa), among others.

WhatsApp Payments (Image: Disclosure)
WhatsApp Payments (Image: Disclosure)

Conversations archived forever

Organizing the conversation list is not always a simple task. But the platform received, in July, an option that allows you to archive chats forever, which can help to give an “order in the house”. This way, even if a new message arrives, the conversation will remain hidden and will not be taken to the app’s home screen.

The feature can be turned on or off whenever user wants to. Access to hidden conversations takes place on the app’s home screen, in the “Archived” option. It is also possible to archive and unarchive at any time.

Messenger on iPhone (Image: Dimitri Karastelev/Unsplash)
Messenger on iPhone (Image: Dimitri Karastelev/Unsplash)

Button to accelerate the speed of audios

In May, app users received a button to speed up audios. By pressing it, you can choose to play the voice message in less time, which can be useful when receiving audio longer than two minutes, for example. The feature is now available for Android and iPhone.

The messenger is also preparing more improvements to voice messages. This time, it is a function to review the audios before being sent. It remains to be seen when the tool will reach everyone.

Button to accelerate audio (Image: Ana Marques/Tecnoblog)
Button to accelerate audio (Image: Ana Marques/Tecnoblog)

Join calls in progress

WhatsApp voice and video calls gained a huge boost in July. The messenger now allows guests to participate in an ongoing group conversation, even if they don’t answer the call at first. The feature is now available on both Android and iPhone (iOS) phones.

The bindings interface also received improvements. As with FaceTime, the application shows a tab with the buttons to turn off, change the image sideways and activate or deactivate the microphone and camera. You can also drag the window up to see who is taking part in the call.

Group calls (Image: Disclosure)
Group calls (Image: Disclosure)

computer calls and more

The improvements also landed on WhatsApp Web. In March, the messenger started to allow voice and video calls from the computer. Another innovation focused on the use of biometrics to access the web version of the platform on a new device or browser.

The desktop messenger application will even receive a tool to edit images. Just like on mobile, it will be possible to add emojis, stickers, text and more to photos uploaded by the platform. The feature is not yet available to users.

Desktop voice and video calls (Image: Disclosure)
Desktop voice and video calls (Image: Disclosure)

WhatsApp Business News

The messenger team also presented some news for WhatsApp Business. In April, the commercial version of the messaging app received an update with a feature to hide missing items. The application version also gained an option to manage the product catalog from the computer.

In June, Facebook even unveiled new types of messages for Business. In addition, the application reduced the time required to use the API and expanded access to the resource. “This can generate more meaningful conversations that increase customer satisfaction and increase sales,” they said.

WhatsApp Business (Image: Gabrielle Lancellotti/Tecnoblog)
WhatsApp Business (Image: Gabrielle Lancellotti/Tecnoblog)

Muted videos and importing animated stickers

Throughout 2021, the messenger team increased some of the application’s functions. This is the case of the tool to send videos, which now has a button to silence them before being submitted to the conversation. The other novelties are the import of animated stickers and increased the space for images in the chat.

Another change that is coming out of the oven is the setting to choose the quality of the images sent. Through it, it is possible to define the compression level of a photo in case you want to save data or send it with more details, for example. Altogether, the platform offers three options: Automatic, Best Quality and Data Saver.

Stickers selection screen (Image: Reproduction)
Stickers selection screen (Image: Reproduction)

What’s to come?

WhatsApp is also working on other features that aren’t yet available for use or haven’t reached everyone. This is the case of the option to login via call that does not need to be answered. In April, a developer also found clues about an integration between the messenger and Facebook Messenger.

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