WhatsApp for iPhone Now Lets You Lock App With Face ID or Touch ID

WhatsApp has enabled a new Face ID authentication option for iPhones that support the feature, in the latest update to the messenger app (via WABetaInfo).

The Facebook-owned platform has been testing the feature for iPhone X and newer devices in its TestFlight beta releases for some weeks now, but version 2.19.20 of WhatsApp, now on the App Store, makes Face ID available for all users with supporting iPhones.

When enabled, users need to use Face ID to unlock the WhatsApp app, but they can still reply to messages from notifications and answer calls when the app is locked.

To require Face ID to unlock WhatsApp, tap Settings -> Account -> Privacy -> Screen Lock and toggle on the Require Face ID switch. Users with a fingerprint sensing Home button on their iPhones will see an option to Require Touch ID instead.


With the Face ID/Touch ID toggle enabled, users will see some additional options appear below that allow them to activate the authentication requirement immediately, after one minute, after 15 minutes, or after one hour.

When the app is locked, if the iPhone fails to recognize a face or fingerprint, users can alternatively choose to enter their iPhone Passcode to open WhatsApp.

Elsewhere in this update, a smaller change means users can now download individual stickers in a sticker pack from the in-app sticker store, rather than having to download the whole pack. Just select a stickers pack, tap and hold the desired sticker, then tap Add to Favorites in the pop-up pane.

WhatsApp is a free download for iPhone available on the iOS App Store. [Direct Link]


This article, "WhatsApp for iPhone Now Lets You Lock App With Face ID or Touch ID" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Mark Zuckerberg Plans to Make Facebook Messenger, Instagram Messaging, and WhatsApp Interoperable

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is planning to integrate three disparate messaging services -- Facebook Messenger, Instagram messaging, and WhatsApp -- into one "underlying messaging infrastructure" (via The New York Times).

Facebook Messenger

These services will continue to operate as their own standalone apps, but the company's work will make them interoperable with one another. This means that a Facebook user could send an encrypted message to someone who only has a WhatsApp account, and vice versa. The company is still in the early stages of the unification, with plans to be finished by the end of 2019 or early 2020.

According to sources familiar with the plans, Zuckerberg's idea is the newest effort to keep people within the Facebook ecosystem, and off of rival texting apps like iMessage.
Mr. Zuckerberg has also ordered all of the apps to incorporate end-to-end encryption, the people said, a significant step that protects messages from being viewed by anyone except the participants in the conversation.

By stitching the apps’ infrastructure together, Mr. Zuckerberg wants to increase the utility of the social network, keeping its billions of users highly engaged inside its ecosystem. If people turn more regularly to Facebook-owned properties for texting, they may forgo rival messaging services, such as those from Apple and Google, said the people, who declined to be identified because the moves are confidential.
In an official statement, Facebook said it's "working on making more of our messaging products end-to-end encrypted and considering ways to make it easier to reach friends and family across networks," alluding to the upcoming change. As of now, WhatsApp is the only one of the three main Facebook messaging apps to support secure end-to-end encrypted text messages, which ensures that texts are only read by you and the person you send them to.

This also raises privacy concerns for Zuckerberg's plans, since it's unclear how an end-to-end encrypted app would integrate with apps like Facebook Messenger. To sign up for WhatsApp, only a phone number is needed, but in contrast personal identities are the central part of apps like Facebook and Instagram, including their messaging services.
Today, WhatsApp requires people to register only a phone number to sign up for the service. By contrast, Facebook and Facebook Messenger ask users to provide their real identities. Matching Facebook and Instagram users to their WhatsApp handles could give pause to those who prefer keeping their use of each app compartmentalized.
In the wake of last year's Cambridge Analytica scandal, internal sources state that Zuckerberg has renewed his focus on WhatsApp and Instagram as the main Facebook brand was hit hard with negativity. In September, Bloomberg reported that Instagram was expected to soon become "more tightly integrated" with Facebook, in the wake of Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger leaving Facebook.

WhatsApp founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton have also left Facebook for similar reasons. According to today's reports, employees are still clashing with Zuckerberg over the new shift in focus to WhatsApp and Instagram, with dozens of WhatsApp employees arguing with Zuckerberg over the upcoming messaging integration plan on internal message boards, as well as during a "contentious" staff meeting last month.

During this meeting, WhatsApp employees reportedly asked Zuckerberg why he was so focused on making the messaging services integration a priority for 2019. According to sources, his responses were "vague" and "meandering," and as a result several WhatsApp employees have left and more are planning to leave because of the plan.


This article, "Mark Zuckerberg Plans to Make Facebook Messenger, Instagram Messaging, and WhatsApp Interoperable" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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WhatsApp Announces Support for Sticker Packs

WhatsApp is about to introduce support for stickers in the massively popular chat app, an official blog post revealed today.

Stickers have been available on rival messaging platforms including Apple's iMessages and Telegram for some time, so today's announcement isn't a surprise as WhatsApp tries to cement its position as the most popular messenger app globally.


To begin with, WhatsApp is launching sticker packs created by its own in-house designers, along with a selection of stickers from other artists.

However, users can also expect third-party sticker packs further down the line, as WhatsApp is also releasing a set of APIs and interfaces that will allow anyone "minimal development or coding experience" to build their own sticker packs and publish them on the App Store.

WhatsApp users can post stickers in chat threads via a new sticker button, and add new sticker packs by tapping the plus icon, once they become available on iOS and Android over the coming weeks.


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Latest WhatsApp Update Adds iPhone XS Max Support, Hints at Future Dark Mode

WhatsApp received an update this morning that adds official support for the larger display on Apple's iPhone XS Max, as well as some other improvements and new clues on what's next for the messaging platform.

Prior to today's update, the WhatsApp interface didn't scale properly on the 2,688 x 1,242 resolution screen exclusive to Apple's new 6.5-inch device, but happily the issue has been fixed in this update and the UI now takes full advantage of the larger OLED display.

Elsewhere in this version (2.18.100), WhatsApp has introduced a redesigned contextual action menu for message bubbles in chat threads. Previously, a long press on a message would bring up a horizontal popup menu similar to the one found elsewhere in iOS.

Old message action menu (left) versus redesigned menu

In contrast, the new vertical menu masks the background to highlight the selected message and allows more options to be shown in the first popup, with an ellipsis replacing the arrow button to reveal additional actions.

Elsewhere, consecutive voice messages now play in sequence, so users no longer have to tap play on each message. The latest update also adds new reply options to user status messages, with documents, voice messages, locations and vCards being added to the existing text, images, GIFs and videos.

In addition to these changes, WABetaInfo has uncovered alpha code in the latest version suggesting future features for the app will include an optional Dark Mode and the ability to preview videos in WhatsApp notifications.

Image via WABetaInfo

In the hidden Dark Mode, incoming messages currently have a dark gray color and outgoing messages are dark green, but it's worth noting that the theme is still in early testing and may look very different when the Dark Mode officially goes live.

WhatsApp is a free download for iPhone available from the App Store. [Direct Link]


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WhatsApp Begins Rolling Out Support for Media Previews in Message Notifications

WhatsApp now supports media previews in new message notifications, according to the latest update for iPhone users running iOS 10 or later.

For as long as WhatsApp has been on iPhone, any images included in messages have been replaced by a camera emoji in notifications, so you had to open the app to see the attached media.

Similarly, GIF messages sent over the chat platform are traditionally represented in notifications by the space invader emoji, requiring users to open WhatsApp to view the content.

That behavior is set to change in version 2.18.90, released today, with support included for full media previews. On devices with 3D Touch, a hard press on notifications should reveal the media without having to open the app. Alternatively, users can swipe left on the notifications and tap View in the revealed menu.

It's also worth noting that the media preview feature allows users to download images and GIFs directly from the notification if they have disabled WhatsApp's media auto-download option.

According to WABetaInfo, the media preview feature isn't working for everyone who has updated just yet, but WhatsApp is apparently aware of the issue and is aiming to fix it server-side within the next few days.

Also in version 2.18.90, WhatsApp is introducing a feature that flags suspicious links sent over the chat platform. When a message is received that contains a link, WhatsApp analyzes the URL characters locally in order to detect if the link is suspicious and alerts the user in the chat thread.

WhatsApp is a free download for iPhone available from the App Store. [Direct Link]


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WhatsApp for iOS Gains Group Calling for Voice and Video

Popular Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp this afternoon announced that the WhatsApp apps for iOS and Android devices now support group calling for voice and video.

WhatsApp users can make group calls with up to four people total by starting a one-on-one voice or video call and then tapping the "add participant" button in the top right corner of the app to add another contact to the call.


WhatsApp says that its group calls are end-to-end encrypted and designed to work reliably around the world in a variety of different network conditions.

The feature, which was first announced by Facebook in May at its F8 developer event, is rolling out to iPhone and Android users and should be available to all users soon.

WhatsApp can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]


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WhatsApp Message Notifications to Support Media Previews in Future Update

WhatsApp received an update overnight that suggests media previews will soon be coming to the app's iOS message notifications for the first time.

Currently in WhatsApp iOS notifications, images included in messages are replaced by a camera emoji, requiring the user to open WhatsApp to see the media. Likewise, GIF messages are represented in notifications by the space invader emoji.

However, WABetaInfo reports that WhatsApp version 2.18.80 lays the groundwork for full media previews in iOS notifications. The upcoming notification extension feature is said to support images as well as GIFs.

Image via WABetaInfo

To view the media preview, users will need to use the Peek and Pop gestures or swipe down on the notification in Notification Center. Users should also be able to download the media directly from the notification if they have disabled WhatsApp's media auto-download option.

Aside from the notification feature that's still under development, the latest version of the app lets you use Siri to send messages to WhatApp groups.

WhatsApp is a free download for iPhone available from the App Store. [Direct Link]


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WhatsApp Limits Message Forwarding to Cut Down on Hoaxes and Misinformation

WhatsApp says it is limiting the ability to forward messages to multiple chats at once in an attempt to reduce the spread of spam and misinformation.

The news follows WhatsApp's recent decision to add labels that indicate to users that a message has been forwarded.

The change was announced by the company in a blog post that specifically mentions India, where the spreading of fake messages over the chat platform has reportedly incited lynchings.
Today, we're launching a test to limit forwarding that will apply to everyone using WhatsApp. In India - where people forward more messages, photos, and videos than any other country in the world - we'll also test a lower limit of 5 chats at once and we'll remove the quick forward button next to media messages.

We believe that these changes — which we'll continue to evaluate — will help keep WhatsApp the way it was designed to be: a private messaging app.
WhatsApp's wording suggests the limit is a test, however a spokesperson told Recode that the company was "horrified" by the violence in India, and that it had announced several changes to help address the issues.

On Thursday, the BBC reported on one incident in India that left one man dead and two others severely injured after false rumors went viral on WhatsApp that they had tried to abduct children. It's the latest in a series of viral message-related crimes in the country that has resulted in 12 dead over the last month.

(Via TechCrunch.)


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WhatsApp Gains New Group Chat Setting for One-Way Messaging

WhatsApp rolled out an update over the weekend that introduces a useful new administrator setting to the popular messaging platform to make group chats more functional.

Essentially, the new setting allows group chats to be set up so that only approved admins are able to send messages to the group, which should help prevent important information from being lost in a hail of messages from group members.


WhatsApp says the feature is intended for certain use cases where groups are used to receive important announcements, including parents and teachers at schools, community centers, and non-profit organizations.

To enable the setting in WhatsApp, tap Group Settings -> Send Messages and select Only Admins.

Facebook-owned WhatsApp has focused on improving the group chat experience over the last few months, introducing group descriptions, a catch-up feature, and protection for users who are being added repeatedly to groups they've left.


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How to Stop WhatsApp Auto-Saving Images and Video to Your iPhone’s Camera Roll

Some 60 billion messages are sent over the WhatsApp chat platform every day. One of the reasons for the service's massive popularity is that it lets users send and receive as many media-rich messages as they want, which – as long as they've limited WhatsApp's use of their cellular data plan – costs them next to nothing.

That's great news for senders, but one of the drawbacks of receiving multiple images and video clips from your WhatsApp contacts is that they're automatically saved to your iPhone's Photo Library. Apart from being an unwelcome sight in your personal Camera Roll, they can start to take up valuable storage space. Fortunately, you can easily prevent this default behavior by following the steps below.

How to Stop WhatsApp Saving to Your Camera Roll

  1. Launch the WhatsApp app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap the Settings icon (the small cog wheel) at the bottom right of the screen.
  3. Tap Chat Settings.

  4. Toggle off the Save Incoming Media option so that it no longer shows as green.
Once you've turned off the above setting in WhatsApp, you can still manually opt to save individual media files that you receive in a chat thread. If your iPhone supports 3D Touch, simply hard press on the photo or video clip in question and swipe up to reveal the Save option. Alternatively, you can access the Save option by tapping the photo or clip and selecting the Share icon in the lower left of the screen.

How to Limit WhatsApp Media Downloads to Wi-Fi


If receiving images or video over WhatsApp is sapping your cellular data when you're out and about, you can prevent them from downloading to your iPhone until you're safely back in range of a Wi-Fi connection.


To do so, return to WhatsApp's Settings tab and select Data and Storage Usage. The options under Media Auto-Download let you dictate which types of media can be downloaded and under what circumstances. Make sure that the media types you're happy to wait for are set to Wi-Fi.


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