We often see the Facebook-owned WhatsApp add new features and functions in beta updates and recently we very briefly got a glimpse of upcoming animated stickers.
[Update 07/01]: WhatsApp’s animated stickers are now official after being announced in a blog post by the team behind the cross-party messaging app. They are also joined by contact sharing via QR code which is also making the jump from the beta channel to stable builds of WhatsApp.
Today, we are excited to confirm some new features that are rolling out over the next few weeks:
- Animated Stickers: Stickers are one of the fastest growing ways people communicate on WhatsApp, with billions sent every day. We are rolling out new animated sticker packs that are even more fun and expressive.
- QR codes: We are making it easier than ever to add a new contact. Soon when you meet someone new, you will be able to scan their QR code to add them to your contacts. No more tapping in their digits one at a time.
- Dark mode for WhatsApp web and desktop: The incredibly popular Dark Mode theme now extends to your computer.
- Improvements to group video calls: With now up to 8 people on a video call, we’ve made it easier to focus on whoever you want by letting you press and hold to maximize a participant’s video to full screen. We also added a video icon in group chats of 8 or less, so you can easily start a group video call with 1-tap.
- Status comes to KaiOS: KaiOS users can now enjoy the popular feature that lets you share updates that disappear after 24 hours.
These features are rolling out to users over the next few weeks, in the latest versions of WhatsApp.
That’s not all though, as this update will also bring a ton of new features such as a dark theme for the companion desktop app — something that has long been requested by users. There is also the ability to expand video within a group video call, allowing you to focus on one contact or even your own video stream.
We’re not quite sure how anticipated animated stickers are by WhatsApp users but we have seen them come to other third-party messaging platforms over the past few years. That makes WhatsApp one of the notable absentees for the animated add-on.
However, according to WABetaInfo, the feature very briefly appeared in beta version 220.127.116.11 for Android and 18.104.22.168 for iOS. For those on Android though, the WhatsApp version 22.214.171.124 beta update quickly removed the option to send animated stickers. Those that stuck with version 126.96.36.199 update should still retain the ability to send animated stickers though.
If you have avoided updating, you can also download and install third-party sticker packs and see them animated when sent. However, they won’t animate until you send them within a chat or direct message.
As WABetaInfo notes, the animated stickers do not loop when sent to a contact. However, they do seem to loop when you view them within the sticker selector. It’s unclear if WhatsApp will offer a toggle to loop stickers in the future or not.
So with that in mind, it’s clear that WhatsApp is readying proper support for animated stickers in the future but we’ll have to wait until another future beta update to learn more — after such a brief flirtation with the feature. Obviously, stickers are not necessarily as important as the recent features we’ve seen in the works for future builds of the messaging client but still another welcome addition.
More on WhatsApp:
- [Update: Suspended] WhatsApp launches in-app digital payments service, starting with Brazil
- WhatsApp begins testing multi-device logins, improved search, chat clearing, more
- WhatsApp’s ‘Click to Chat’ feature exposed some phone numbers on Google search
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