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Here’s All that WhatsApp changed in October 2023

Here’s All that WhatsApp changed in October 2023

Here’s All that WhatsApp changed in October 2023

Here’s All that WhatsApp changed in October 2023

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  • WhatsApp, used by billions, evolves with Meta’s Android-inspired enhancements.
  • Meta bolsters WhatsApp’s privacy and security with passkeys and multi-account support.
  • WhatsApp discontinues support for older Android versions, requiring at least Android 5.0 for compatibility.
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WhatsApp is a vital communication tool for billions of individuals, connecting them with work, family, friends, and interests. Meta, recognizing WhatsApp’s widespread usage, has dedicated much of 2023 to reinforcing its position, sometimes drawing inspiration from other Android messaging apps like Telegram. As a result, new features seem to be continually emerging, adding a sense of excitement and freshness to the platform.

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In October, Meta’s engineering team reaffirmed WhatsApp‘s dedication to privacy and security while introducing desired features. Passkeys for sign-ins and easy multi-account switching without app cloning are now available. Communities gained more features, but some devices lost WhatsApp compatibility. It’s a lot to cover, so let’s get started.

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Use more than one account.

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For over a decade, WhatsApp has been our go-to choice for secure messaging, but we’ve always wanted the convenience of using it with all our phone numbers. Up until now, achieving this required third-party software to clone WhatsApp or even dedicating a separate Android phone exclusively for WhatsApp use. This restriction of one phone number per device sparked development efforts back in June. In a recent announcement, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg officially revealed support for multiple user accounts on a single device.

Here's All that WhatsApp changed in October 2023

Here’s All that WhatsApp changed in October 2023

This development restores the practicality of using dual-SIM phones, and WhatsApp has diligently ensured that user accounts can efficiently utilize device resources such as storage and contacts. At the same time, they have maintained the segregation of conversations, privacy settings, and notifications for each account.

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Passkeys are the future.

To enhance user privacy, WhatsApp now includes passkey support, allowing users to skip the SMS-delivered two-factor authentication code and use on-device biometrics like fingerprint scanning for account login. While this feature is mainly used during new phone setup or account resets, it offers enhanced security benefits such as preventing password reuse and reducing the risk of falling victim to phishing scams and password theft scripts.

Here's All that WhatsApp changed in October 2023

Here’s All that WhatsApp changed in October 2023

Passkeys employ cryptographic keys on your device and WhatsApp servers to verify your identity when signing in. Your device’s biometric authentication further confirms your identity, making passkeys resistant to person-in-the-middle attacks that can intercept SMS-delivered 2FA codes. Passkeys are also faster and more user-friendly compared to traditional passwords or one-time passwords (OTPs).

Your text, formatted your way

In recent beta updates, WhatsApp introduced text formatting features similar to those in rival apps. These include options for bold, italics, underlining, and strikethrough, as well as formatting for code blocks, quote blocks, bulleted lists, and numbered lists. The new features make it easier to differentiate instructions or code from other messages and are handy for managing shopping lists using WhatsApp’s self-messaging feature.

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Here's All that WhatsApp changed in October 2023

Here’s All that WhatsApp changed in October 2023

More features for voice messages

In October, Meta introduced self-destructing voice messages, potentially expanding the list of view-once media formats on WhatsApp. Currently, this list only includes photos and videos. Furthermore, WhatsApp is in the process of enabling voice message support in channels, allowing administrators to share audio clips with a broader audience through channel updates. This marks a significant development since channels currently support sharing only images, videos, and text.

Here's All that WhatsApp changed in October 2023

Here’s All that WhatsApp changed in October 2023

Concerning channels, Meta is in the early stages of introducing sticker pack support to enhance audience engagement. However, this feature remains in development and was not accessible to beta testers this month. In a separate beta test, WhatsApp introduced the ability to share links to specific messages within a channel, similar to how one can share links to specific updates in a Telegram Broadcast Group. This allows recipients to instantly access the precise information the sender intends to convey, eliminating the need to scroll through other channel messages. It also provides recipients with a direct link to view the channel’s content without requiring them to subscribe for future updates.

Community events on text

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Channels on WhatsApp offer one-to-many broadcast capabilities, and earlier this year, the platform introduced communities to enable large-scale interactions through topic-based groups, akin to how Discord uses servers and channels. In recent developments, Meta has integrated features into communities to enable members to convene at designated times and engage in community events through text. Participants can now schedule a community event for a later time using the attachment button within the message box.

Here's All that WhatsApp changed in October 2023

Interface redesign reaches more people

WhatsApp had been conducting trials of a new user interface (UI) design in the past few months, albeit with limited availability to a select group of testers. In October, this design expansion became more widespread through a server-side rollout, evident in beta version 2.23.21.12. It reached a more extensive audience of beta testers, including members of the Android Police team. The alterations encompass a fresh, bottom-aligned navigation bar for switching between chats, updates, and call tabs, alongside new Material Design 3 toggles in the app settings. Meta also modified the color of sent messages to a different shade of green, darkened the chat background, and introduced a new color for the in-app logo.

Keep chats locked and hidden.

In the latest beta channels, a privacy enhancement lets you hide locked chats for added security. Concealing these private conversations offers an extra layer of protection in addition to chat locking. To reveal hidden chats, you’ll input a customizable, pre-configured secret code in the WhatsApp search bar, followed by the unlock code for each locked chat. It’s akin to having built-in two-factor authentication (2FA) within WhatsApp.

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Here's All that WhatsApp changed in October 2023

Slashing redundancies

WhatsApp, having been in existence for many years, faces the challenge of ensuring that new features remain compatible with older Android versions. This can be limiting when introducing advanced features such as companion mode. Consequently, like many other developers, WhatsApp has recently discontinued support for outdated Android versions, specifically Android 4.4 and earlier. The app now requires a minimum of Android 5.0 to run. However, considering the distribution of Android versions, this change is expected to impact less than 1% of users globally.

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These beta updates are expected to make their way to the stable channel once they’ve undergone thorough testing. However, the company typically doesn’t disclose specific timelines for users to anticipate these changes.

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