WhatsApp, world's most popular instant messaging app, rolled out two new features in 2019. The features were anticipated much before they made their way to the final version as they were tested for bugs first on WhatsApp Beta. If you wish to check out the latest WhatsApp features, you can sign up to be beta tester by clicking here. The beta version is susceptible to bugs and crashes, so beware of what you're getting into before you sign up.

WhatsApp introduced the group calling shortcut in its Android version in January this year, while its second feature which allows user to unlock WhatsApp via their biometrics was introduced to its iOS version. Here's how you can try the new features out:

Unlock via Face ID, Touch ID:

The new biometric feature was rolled out to WhatsApp for iPhone last week. It lets you add an extra layer of security to the application through Face ID and Touch ID. The new authentication system works similarly to the one found on Outlook and Signal iOS apps.

This, however, doesn’t lock individual WhatsApp chats—it just lets you open WhatsApp with your biometrics. It also lets you view WhatsApp notifications with the body of the message as well as receive or decline WhatsApp calls.

To enable this feature, you need to open WhatsApp and then go to Settings --> Privacy --> Screen lock. Now you’ll find the option to let you unlock WhatsApp through Face ID or Touch ID. Further, you get to choose to be prompted about this immediately or after an interval of a minute, 15 minutes or an hour.

To start using this feature you’ll have to update your WhatsApp to the latest version (build v2.19.20). Depending on your settings, it will be updated automatically or manually. To manually update the app, go to the App Store, search for WhatsApp and check if your device has received the update. The feature is still in the rolling out phase, so it might take a while for your device to receive the update. WhatsApp for iPhone is 137.7MB in size and is compatible with iPhone models running iOS 8.0 and above.

WhatsApp group calling shortcut:

WhatsApp group calling has been around since August last year, but the process was fairly complicated. You first had to place a video or voice call to a contact and after you were connected, you were required to tap on a button that let you add more participants in the call. It was cumbersome and required quite a few unnecessary taps.

But the new button solves the issue. It lets you call contacts of your choice from a group. All you have to do now is tap on the add participant button in a group (right next to the hamburger button). Then you’re greeted with the list of participants that you can start a call with. The maximum number of participants is still restricted to four.

If you wish to place a group call with a bunch of friends that are not in a single group, you might have to resort to the previous method of adding participants after you’ve placed a call.

Close