WhatsApp Begins Testing Chat Lock, Status Sharing to Facebook and Voice Transcription Features: Report

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WhatsApp is reportedly rolling out three new features to testers on the beta release channel. The first feature allows users to lock specific chats on iOS. The popular messaging app is also testing the ability to share your Status with your Facebook friends directly from WhatsApp for Android. Beta testers can also test a feature that transcribes voice notes sent on WhatsApp, on recent beta versions of the app on iOS. The voice transcription feature is the only one that requires iOS 16 in order to function, as per a report.

According to WhatsApp feature tracker WABetaInfo, version 23.9.0.71 of WhatsApp beta for iOS introduces support for a feature that allows beta testers to lock chats for additional privacy. Once enabled, these chats can only be opened after successful authentication using Face ID, or Touch ID on older iPhone models. Users can navigate to the chat information section and look for a new section called Locked Chats. Once a chat is locked, the tracker reports that sender names and message previews are hidden, while images and videos are not automatically saved to the phone’s Photos library.

The Meta-owned messaging service is also deepening its integration with Facebook by allowing users to quickly share their WhatsApp Status with their friends on the social networking service, on version 2.23.9.22 of WhatsApp beta for Android. Previously, users would be prompted to share their Status to Facebook, but it would involve leaving the app. This integration will allow users to opt-in to sharing their Status, which means it will be disabled by default, according to WABetaInfo.

WhatsApp voice note transcription is done on the recipient’s device
Photo Credit: WABetaInfo

WhatsApp also recently began rolling out a voice transcription feature on version 23.9.0.70 of WhatsApp beta for iOS. This feature allows users to read the contents of a voice note without having to connect a pair of earphones or play it over the phone’s speaker, as per the feature tracker. This can come in handy during situations where reading a voice note might be easier than listening to it.

WABetaInfo says that the voice transcription feature on iOS is done on device and not on WhatsApp’s servers. This means that voice notes will continue to remain protected by end-to-end encryption like messages and other attachments. The app will use language packs that can be downloaded in order to enable transcription in different languages. The text from voice note transcriptions is also indexed, and can be searched, as per the report.


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