WhatsApp has announced a series of new features that will be rolled out to all users in the coming weeks. The first (and perhaps best) on the list are animated stickers. We saw hints that animated cartoon ads would return in June when they appeared in the beta version of the app. At that time, it seemed like they were only at an early stage of development, but WhatsApp has confirmed that they will be rolled out to all users in the coming weeks, much sooner than expected.
It will also be much easier to share your contact details with people, thanks to the introduction of QR codes. Instead of having to exchange phone numbers, you can scan a code from a friend’s phone. Instagram (also owned by Facebook) already has a similar feature in the form of Name Tags, but WhatsApp will use plain black and white QR codes.
The dark mode is also being extended and will soon be available for both desktop and web versions of WhatsApp. We already got a look at the new design in February thanks to an eagle-eyed developer who spotted unused code in the WhatsApp web app, but it will soon be officially available for everyone to try.
Group video calls will also be updated. In April, WhatsApp raised the maximum number of participants on a video call to eight, which was extremely helpful (especially when personal contact was impossible due to Covid-19) but allowed you to see only a very small image of each person on your phone’s screen.
In the future, you can quickly zoom in on each person by simply tapping the screen and holding the image. Finally, the Linux-based KaiOS operating system will now be able to create their own WhatsApp status – a message that disappears after a certain period of time, just like a story on Instagram or Facebook.
All these new tools and features are expected to take a few weeks to fully deploy but should be available and ready to use very soon.