Want to voice chat on WhatsApp? You might be able to soon

Unlike group calls, voice chats let group members join and leave the voice chat as they please. Here's what we know about the feature WhatsApp is testing.
Written by Maria Diaz, Staff Writer
BATH, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 01: In this photo illustration the logo of US online social media and social networking site 'X' (formerly known as Twitter) is displayed centrally on a smartphone screen alongside that of Threads (L) and Instagram (R) on August 01, 2023 in Bath, England. On the top row the logo of online video sharing and social media platform YouTube is seen alongside that of Whatsapp and TikTok. Along the bottom row Facebook, Quora amd Messenger are displayed. Elon Musk recently revealed the new logo for Twitter, which constitutes the letter 'X' as part of a rebrand of the company. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
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WhatsApp, Meta's globally popular messaging app, could soon get a voice chat feature similar to Discord's voice chats and Twitter Spaces. According to beta testers, some have gotten access to the feature that allows users in a group to create voice chats that members can join and leave when they want. 

WhatsApp is the third most popular app worldwide, with over 2.4 billion monthly users, behind Facebook and Youtube. It grew in popularity with the rise of smartphones in countries where messaging rates could be higher than monthly data rates. However, it has maintained popularity for its multimedia messaging features and easy access and navigation.

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The new voice chat feature will be available when enabled for the account that is starting it. It will be accessible by tapping on a button within a group. Once a voice chat starts, group members can join in and leave whenever they'd like, though the voice chat will end at the 60-minute mark if no one joins in. 

Users already have access to group calls within set groups of members, but when a group call begins, it rings the phone of each member in the group. Like the rest of the content shared through WhatsApp, voice chats will be subject to end-to-end encryption.

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For now, it appears voice chats will allow up to 32 members to join at once, but this will likely change as the beta program progresses. The feature is only available to a small group of beta users for Android.

WhatsApp has recently made updates to its platform reminiscent of some social media networks, including the addition of Channels, a one-way private broadcast tool.

There's no word of when we may see a stable release of this version of WhatsApp, but the voice chats feature has only been reported to be available to some users with access to the most recent version of WhatsApp beta. 

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