With more than 2 billion users across the globe, WhatsApp is the world’s most popular messaging app. So it’s no wonder that the Facebook-owned chat service is constantly evolving, and releases several batches of updates every year. From new features to improved functionality, several significant changes have been announced over the last year, which users can expect to enjoy on their smartphones heading into 2022. We unpack the latest WhatsApp updates in more detail below.

View Once Photo and Video Messages

Arguably the most notable WhatsApp update to appear in the last year is the introduction of the View Once feature. With this, multi-media messages – like photos and video clips – are automatically deleted as soon as they’ve been viewed. When you receive a View Once message, it’ll appear without showing a portion of the photo in your chat, and will be marked with an icon to let you know that it’ll disappear after one view. You can send a View Once message in just a few simple steps:

  1. Open a new message in WhatsApp.
  2. Tap the paperclip in the compose bar to access your existing photo and video files.
  3. Select the file you’d like to send as a View Once message, or tap the camera icon instead to take a new photo or video.
  4. Now you can add a caption and select the View Once icon, which looks like the number 1 in a small circle.
  5. Tap send. If the recipient doesn’t open your message within 14 days, it’ll disappear.

Although whoever receives your message will only be able to view it once, within this time they will still have the opportunity to take a screenshot, or use the screen recording function.

Disappearing Messages

WhatsApp has also brought in disappearing messages. With this update, users will be given the chance to choose how long their messages will be available to the recipient, with options including 24 hours, 7 days and 90 days.

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Designed to improve privacy and optimise storage, disappearing messages can be switched on as default, or set up for chats with specific contacts, in line with your preferences. When you open a chat that has disappearing messages activated, WhatsApp even adds a notification at the top of the screen to tell each participant how long your conversation will be available for, so you don’t have to.

Join a Group Call that’s Already Started

WhatsApp recently updated the functionality of its video call offering, with a new setting which permits users to join group calls after they’ve already started. Before this update, you had to accept the initial invitation in the group chat in order to get onto a call. Now, you can join in at any time – providing the call hasn’t ended – by going onto the calls tab, and tapping on the missed notification.

Multi-device Compatibility

This feature is specifically available on WhatsApp multi-device beta, which users can opt into if they’d like to experience a version of the app currently still in development. While historically you could only use the messaging app on your laptop or iPad if your phone was connected, WhatsApp beta enables you to use up to four different linked devices regardless.

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It’s worth noting that you’ll still need to link any alternative devices with your phone when you first install the app. Also, if WhatsApp is inactive on your phone for longer than 14 days, it’ll be disabled on your computer, tablet or any other connected tech.

Preview Voice Notes

Where previously voice notes could only be listened back to after they’d been sent, WhatsApp has now given users the ability to preview their own voice notes after they’ve recorded them. This frequently requested update should allow you to reflect on your message before you send it, and delete the note so you can rerecord it if you’d rather start over. Here’s how to preview your voice notes:

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  1. Open a new message on WhatsApp.
  2. Long press the microphone icon next to the text bar.
  3. Swipe up when the padlock symbol appears to start recording.
  4. When you’re ready to pause and listen back, tap the red stop button at the bottom, then press play to hear it from the beginning.
  5. After this, you can either delete your voice note by tapping the trash can icon, or hit send.

WhatsApp is available to use on every contemporary Android and Apple smartphone, as well as some tablets, laptops and other devices. Enjoy your favourite messaging app on a new or refurbished phone from Mobiles.co.uk, where you’ll find great deals from the biggest manufacturers on the market, including Samsung, Google and many more.