WhatsApp working on not one but three big features, says report

By: | Updated: October 18, 2018 5:05 PM

WhatsApp is making big changes to its Android, iOS, and Windows Phone apps by introducing three new features

WhatsApp to launch three new features

WhatsApp is reportedly working on an update with three new features for its app on three platforms – Android, iOS, and Windows Phone. After making changes to how the notifications and reply feature work on the app, the Facebook-owned company is planning on giving the users the ability to link their WhatsApp account with their Instagram account. Moreover, WhatsApp is working on two other features – Vacation Mode and Silent Mode, but more on them later.

Starting with the account linking, WABetaInfo notes in its report that the ability to link the account with external services was spotted on the WhatsApp Business app, however, some ‘references’ of the same feature have also been found on the regular WhatsApp Messenger app. The feature has not been activated for either app yet. The Linked Account settings will be located in the Profile settings, says the report.

The first service that is listed under the external service is Instagram, which is not surprising since Facebook has been making efforts to unify the cross-platform features and experiences on all its apps. To link the Instagram account, one needs to tap on Instagram mentioned on the screen, followed by entering the credentials for login. After the credentials are validated, the WhatsApp account will be linked to the user’s Instagram account.

According to the report, it is not clear as why Facebook would want the user to link the Instagram account, however, it does mention that the account linking feature has more to do with at least two possibilities – to recover password using the linked account and sharing the WhatsApp Status on Instagram as Stories, which could be useful to the WhatsApp Business users.

Instagram account linking (left) and Vacation Mode setting (right)

Coming to the two other features, WhatsApp is reportedly working on Vacation and Silent Modes, largely to promote the idea of digital wellbeing and cut down the time spent on the chat app. Vacation Mode will essentially stop the archived chats to pop up in the active chat list whenever a new message arrives. Currently, when you archive a chat it disappears from the chat list, however, as soon as the contact sends a new message it crops up at the top of the list. With Vacaction Mode turned on, an archived chat won’t show in the list when a new message is received, given that the chat was muted before archiving.

The Vacation Mode will be available in WhatsApp’s Notification Settings on Android, iOS, and Windows Phone platforms. The archived chat will continue to be hidden unless you reverse the archive and mute settings. The best use case for this feature is archiving and muting a group that you don’t want to be a part of but still cannot exit it due to some reason. You will first need to mute the group and then archive it – it won’t reappear in the chat list for as long as it stays muted and archived.

The third feature is Silent Mode which will hide the app badge for any notifications from the muted chats. While this feature is available to many users via third-party launchers, says the report. This could be a good riddance for the users who mute certain chats but any notifications from them start showing the badge on the app icon. WABetaInfo says that this feature is activated by default but there is no toggle setting to turn it off or on.

All the new features will make their way to all three platforms sooner or later. While the screenshots posted in the report suggest that the iOS app could be the first to receive the features, Android and Windows Phone apps should get them soon. It’s not clear when these features will enter the beta channel as of now.

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