WhatsApp begins rolling out voice calls for iOS … slowly

22 Apr 2015

Bringing itself on a parity with Android users, iOS WhatsApp has now updated the iOS version of the app with voice calls, but many users have yet to see an update as part of a slow release.

The ability to make calls through the app will effectively close the circle on what has been one of the biggest shake-ups to the telecoms industry in terms of making phonecalls and text messages, with many now shunning the traditional methods in favour of WhatsApp’s web-only services.

Officially known as WhatsApp Calling, the service is described in the App Store’s description as giving users the ability to: “Call your friends and family using WhatsApp for free, even if they’re in another country. WhatsApp calls uses your phone’s internet connection rather than your cellular plan’s voice minutes.”

However, WhatsApp has said that the ability to make calls will not be instantaneous and will be “rolling out slowly over the next several weeks”.

Few users are reporting that it is actually on their phones just yet, but it will inevitably feature an almost identical service as is seen on Android whereby a user will be prompted by a message telling them that they have an incoming call.

Until now, iOS WhatsApp users have had to make do with sending recorded messages to one another.

The Facebook-owned service launched WhatsApp Calling on Android phones devices last month and similarly offered a slow roll-out so as to beta test the feature, so it might be a while yet before iPhone users will get to try their hands at it.

WhatsApp iOS image via Álvaro Ibáñez/Flickr

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic