WhatsApp now lets users make group video calls with new update

31 Jul 2018

WhatsApp Group call. Image: WhatsApp

WhatsApp’s new update means users can video call with up to four people at a time.

WhatsApp users spend more than 2bn minutes on calls per day on the app, and the company has announced that users can now make group voice and video calls.

WhatsApp has 1.5bn monthly active users, so this feature is likely to be a popular addition. The app has had video and voice call support since 2016 and 2014, respectively, and its popularity means the introduction of group calls was a no-brainer for developers.

To make a group video or audio call, you first make a one-on-one call as normal and select the ‘Add participant’ button on the top right-hand corner. Then you hit the add button to include them in the call. To add up to four people simultaneously, just use the same button to include them in the conversation.

WhatsApp had announced the plans for the feature in May at Facebook’s F8 developer conference and it only took a few short months for it to be live on both Android and iOS, starting 30 July.

Feature works in most network conditions

WhatsApp said that the feature has been engineered to work under less-than-optimum network conditions, so it should work as long as you can establish an internet connection, no matter your location. Calls are also end-to-end encrypted, similar to all messages sent and received on the platform.

While the limit of four people means it is not exactly a replacement for businesses using the likes of Skype to chat, families and friend groups will reap the benefits of the new feature.

In May, WhatsApp introduced a plethora of new features to improve the group chat experience. A group chat description field is now available and admin controls were also given a boost, including options to revoke admin permissions from other members. A protection feature ensures you can’t be repeatedly added to groups you have already left.

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects