WhatsApp currently lets you video and voice call with up to four people.
Facebook has confirmed that WhatsApp will soon let you video and voice call with up to eight people simultaneously, which is double the existing number of participants. The popular instant messaging platform currently lets you video and voice call with up to four people. The news isn’t very surprising because the functionality is already available now on beta versions of WhatsApp for both Android and iOS. But then again, it confirms it will be rolling out for all devices soon — not every feature that’s in beta becomes official, so an official confirmation is always nice. More precisely, it’s coming as soon as next week.
I'm very excited for this. We'll be rolling out to users on Android and iPhone next week. https://t.co/jNZCBs6EZE
— Will Cathcart (@wcathcart) April 24, 2020
The confirmation comes alongside a couple of other announcements that Facebook is making today, including the launch of Messenger Rooms, its dedicated video calling tool that lets you video and voice call with up to 50 people simultaneously. But while Messenger Rooms won’t be completely private, WhatsApp video and voice calls with up to eight people, WILL be end-to-end encrypted “so no one else can view or listen to your private conversation, not even WhatsApp.”
End-to-end encryption is one of the main USPs of WhatsApp and even though Facebook is working to bring the security protocol to Messenger and Instagram Direct, so users will potentially be able to cross-platform chat across all these services one day, it’s easier said than done. Facebook is quick to point out why Messenger Rooms can’t be end-to-end encrypted. “There are significant challenges to providing end-to-end encryption for video calling with large groups of people,” it explains.
That’s possibly one reason why Facebook had to launch a dedicated tool for en masse video calling rather than simply bumping up the participant count on WhatsApp to a 50, which is its most popular instant messaging platform.
But coming back to WhatsApp, you can start video and voice calling with up to eight people right now if you want. The only condition is you’ll have to use the beta version of WhatsApp on either Android and iOS. In order to video call with up to eight people, your WhatsApp must be running version 2.20.133 on Android and version 18.104.22.168 on iOS. Also, the other participants that you’re looking to video and voice call, must also have the same beta version of WhatsApp running on their devices. You can read more about how you can video call with up to eight people on WhatsApp here.