WhatsApp rolled out one of its first big changes of the new year. The company is currently beta testing message reaction notifications WABetaInfo, an independent online portal that shares news about WhatsApp updates.
The latest update appears in the latest beta (version 22.2.72) on iOS. A new option “Reaction Notifications” has appeared under WhatsApp’s notification settings. Users can either enable or disable these reactions in their notifications. Since it’s visible to iOS beta users, if it gets positive reactions, it could appear in the main version soon. However, users cannot yet respond to messages, although this change could be available in the near future.
This is a follow-up to WhatsApp’s Message Reaction feature, which appears to have been in development in November 2021. This feature allows users to respond to a message with a specific set of emojis instead of a text message. This is likely an attempt to catch up with Apple’s iMessage reactions, which started in late 2016.
At the moment it is currently unknown when these changes would appear in the Android beta version. Meanwhile, the latest Android beta update introduced a voice note playback feature, which allows users to view the note in an interface with a progress bar, as well as pause, resume or close the note at will. Considering these changes were introduced three months ago in the iOS beta, it’s possible that the message notifications update will reach beta Android users by April 2022.
WhatsApp made a number of important updates to its messaging service in 2021, including adaptability for multiple devices and end-to-end encryption for online backups. The meta-owned messenger also began beta testing a new interface for voice calls and testing a new shortcut for quick replies in its business version towards the end of December 2021.