WhatsApp, the popular mobile messaging service owned by Facebook, has released a major update to its iPhone app today. The update includes the highly-anticipated WhatsApp Calling feature, which rolled out to every Android user late last month. The WhatsApp Calling feature is comparable to Skype and the FaceTime Audio service on iOS. Data charges may apply while using the WhatsApp Calling feature.
“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,” said WhatsApp in its app update description.
Unfortunately, The WhatsApp Calling feature is rolling out slowly so you may not see it right away. The new calling feature should be available for every iOS user within the next few weeks. Prior to launching WhatsApp Calling for Android, the messaging company ran a lengthy beta test.
WhatsApp version 2.12.1 also includes an iOS 8 share extension, a quick camera button in chats, the ability to edit your contacts right from WhatsApp and an option to send multiple videos at once. You can also crop and rotate videos before sending them. The iOS 8 share extension lets you share photos, videos and links to WhatsApp from other apps. And the quick camera button lets you seamlessly capture photos and videos or choose a recent camera roll photo or video.
How does WhatsApp Calling for iOS work? If someone calls you through WhatsApp, you will see a push notification from the messaging service showing who the call is from. Once you answer the call, you will notice that there are options to mute the call or put it on speakerphone. You can also send a message to the person calling you. If the WhatsApp Calling feature for iOS is similar to the Android app, then you will see a Calls tab that has a list of your incoming, outgoing and missed WhatsApp calls. Personally, I do not have access to WhatsApp Calling for iOS app yet.
Launched in 2009, WhatsApp started out as a simple group text messaging app. Four years later, WhatsApp added a voice messaging service. And then Facebook acquired WhatsApp for $19 billion in February 2014. Several months ago, WhatsApp launched a desktop client called WhatsApp Web — which you can activate with an Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone or Nokia S60 device.
Earlier this month, WhatsApp hit 800 million monthly active users. WhatsApp has been adding about 100 million monthly active users every four months since August. In January, WhatsApp hit 700 million monthly active users. WhatsApp now has more users than every other messaging app, including Facebook Messenger. It took Facebook about 8 years to hit 1 billion users. Facebook now has about 1.4 billion monthly users and Facebook Messenger has roughly 600 million users.
Have you updated to the latest version of WhatsApp? Do you have access to the voice calling feature yet? What are your thoughts about WhatsApp Calling? Let us know in the comments section.