WhatsApp is preparing a new set of features for its Android users, many of which have been on my wish-list for many years, and have perhaps been the biggest causes of my disdain for the popular messaging app. The new beta, WhatsApp version 2.12.560, rolled out today and features (among other things) quick reply, solid wallpapers and new multiple-selection tools and options.

Perhaps the most important inclusion in the latest beta is one which ensures that not only Android N users will get Quick Reply. With the latest beta, as spotted by Android Police, everyone gets a quick reply option show up within the WhatsApp notification card. Once selected, a popup window appears with a text input field which includes quick access icons for emoji and voice input.

Users with the updated beta app will then be able to reply to messages right away and save precious time from within this popup, or hit ‘view’ to launch the fullscreen app.

One of my own personal favorite new additions is something which many will see as insignificant: Solid wallpapers.

For years, WhatsApp has let you choose from a number of different images to use as a chat background. Now, you get the option to have a solid color as the backdrop, making the chat look far more like a regular messaging UI. Granted, you could always just download a solid color image to your personal photo gallery and select that, but having an in-built native selection is a much more intuitive and convenient process.

Other, less obvious changes to the app include a new method of selecting contacts, groups and accessing options for those. Instead of getting a large image pop up overlay when tapping a group or contact’s chat, you now get a direct list of options. Depending on whether it’s a group or contact, that list of options will differ. It includes the usual choices like adding shortcuts, delete, archive, exit group and a few others.

If you happen to select multiple chats, whether they’re with a single contact or group, you’ll get only the options which are shared between all selected types of chat. For instance, selecting an individual and group chat together will only give you the common options.

If you want to download and install the latest beta version of WhatsApp to your phone, you can do so by heading over to APK Mirror and downloading directly or by joining the Play Store beta program.

About the Author

Cam Bunton's favorite gear