- If a group call seems like overkill, WhatsApp ‘voice chats’ are just the thing
- They start with an in-chat bubble and users can join as and when they’re free
Whether it’s sharing some big family news or during a nail-biting football game, there are often moments where you just need to talk it out in the WhatsApp group chat.
And if a group call seems like overkill, you’ll be glad to hear that there’s a new option available called ‘voice chats’.
While group calls ring every member of the group, voice chats start with an in-chat bubble, which users can join as and when they’re free.
What’s more, the call controls remain at the top of the chat, meaning you can quickly unmute, hang up or message the group – without having to leave the conversation.
Here’s everything you need to know about group voice chats, including how and when you can try it yourself.
Whether it’s sharing some big family news or during a nail-biting football game, there are often moments where you just need to talk it out in the WhatsApp group chat. And if a group call seems like overkill, you’ll be glad to hear that there’s a new option available called ‘voice chats’
How to start a voice chat on WhatsApp
- Open the group chat you want to start a voice chat with.
- Tap in the top right corner of the screen.
- Tap Start Voice Chat.
- Once you start the voice chat, group members will receive a push notification to join instead of a call.
Voice chats were quietly announced by WhatsApp today.
‘Voice chats allow you to instantly talk live with members of a group chat while still being able to message in the group,’ it explains in its Help Center.
To start a voice chat, open the group chat you want to speak with.
Tap the blue icon in the top right corner of the screen, and tap Start Voice Chat.
Once you start the voice chat, other members of the group will receive a push notification to join, instead of a call.
You can see who has joined the voice chat in a banner at the top of the screen.
To leave a voice chat, simply tap the red X.
The voice chat will end automatically once everyone has left the chat, or if no-one joins the first or last person in the chat for 60 minutes.
‘As always, WhatsApp protects your voice chats alongside your personal calls and messages with end-to-end encryption by default,’ WhatsApp explained.
The new feature is rolling out globally to groups over the coming weeks, starting with those that have 33 people or more
The new feature is rolling out globally to groups over the coming weeks, starting with those that have 33 people or more.
The launch of voice chats comes shortly after a report by WABetaInfo suggested that WhatsApp is working on the ability to send self-destructing voice notes.
These voice notes can only be played once, and can’t be exported, forwarded or saved.
‘This mode effectively minimizes the chances of unauthorized access or later listening, providing a new layer of privacy for sensitive and confidential information,’ WABetaInfo explained.
If you’re considering deleting WhatsApp, you’ll be happy to hear that there are several alternative apps to choose from:
With more than 400 million users, Telegram is one of the most popular WhatsApp alternatives.
While it looks very similar to WhatsApp, what sets it apart is the fact that it gives the option to set messages to self-destruct after a given period of time, leaving no trace.
Telegram also offers end-to-end encryption.
However, as a WhatsApp spokesperson pointed out, Telegram ‘does not offer end-to-end encryption by default so it’s not necessarily more secure than WhatsApp’.
Signal is one of the most secure messaging apps, thanks to the fact that it is open-source.
This means that the code for the app is publicly available to view, making it near-impossible for the app’s creators to sneak in any backdoors that could allow governments or hackers to spy on your messages.
If you use an iPhone, you may consider simply switching to iMessage, Apple’s own messaging app.
The app has a number of impressive features included no character limits, the ability to send pictures and videos, and of course Apple’s animated emoji feature, Animoji.
Unfortunately, iMessage is only available for iPhone users, so you’ll struggle to interact with anyone using an Android.
4. Google Messages
Google’s answer to iMessage is Google Messages, an Android-only messaging service.
The app replaces your standard SMS app, and integrates with all of Google’s apps and services, making it easy to share images or use Google Assistant.
5. Facebook Messenger
If you were put off using WhatsApp due to its sharing of data with Facebook, Facebook Messenger may not be the best option for you.
However, the app offers a number of helpful features, including games, secret conversations and video calls.