WhatsApp (read receipt 001)

Not to be outdone by rival Viber which rolled out animated stickers, location sharing, a brand new keypad and other enhancements in yesterday’s refresh, Facebook-owned WhatsApp today pushed a substantial update to its App Store application.

WhatsApp for iPhone now features richer notifications settings with per-chat rules and mute options, a new swipe gesture to mark chats as read or unread, the ability to directly share contacts from the Contacts app and locations from Apple Maps, backups for your videos and much more.

Other new features in this update include an enhanced interface when cropping photos and videos before adding them to a chat, friendlier features for hearing-impaired users with improved VoiceOver support and infinite scrolling with earlier messages loading automatically as you scroll chats.

Message swiping and muting

WhatsApp now features the familiar swiping gesture on the chat screen that you can use to reveal hidden options, like in Apple’s Mail and a number of other third-party apps.

For example, swiping in the chat list from left to right lets you mark a message as read. If a message has already been read, you will see the option to mark it as unread.

WhatsApp 2.12.5 for iOS iPhone screenshot 001

Swiping in the chat list from right to left lets you archive a message.

WhatsApp 2.12.5 for iOS iPhone screenshot 002

If you tap More, a menu pops up offering options to mute the conversation, bring up contact information, share the contents of your chat in an email message, clear the chat without deleting it from your history or delete the chat forever.

WhatsApp 2.12.5 for iOS iPhone screenshot 003

For those wondering, you can mute a chat for 8 hours, 1 week or 1 year.

Location sharing from Apple Maps

WhatsApp is now listed as an option in the Share sheet within Apple Maps.

This lets you quickly send your current location, or any point of interest for that matter, directly to WhatsApp without leaving Apple Maps. Just fire up Apple Maps on your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad, find a location (or drop a pin on the map) and tap the share icon in the upper right corner.

WhatsApp 2.12.5 for iOS iPhone screenshot 004

Now choose WhatsApp in the top row of icons, choose one or more WhatsApp contacts to share the location with and tap Send, as shown above. Which brings me to another new feature in WhatsApp 2.12.5: a larger map thumbnail in the chat window.

Here’s what it looks like.

WhatsApp 2.12.5 for iOS iPhone screenshot 005

As you can see, the Fifth Avenue location I just sent to myself from Apple Maps appears in the chat window as a larger map thumbnail. If I tap the embedded thumbnail, WhatsApp takes me to a full-screen map view like before.

Location sharing from Contacts app

In addition to native sharing to WhatsApp from Apple Maps, the same feature is now available in Apple’s stock Contacts app. As you may have suspected, this lets you quickly share specific contact data with a friend on WhatsApp right within the context of the Contacts app.

WhatsApp 2.12.5 for iOS iPhone screenshot 006

First, open Contacts on your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad and tap on a contact. Scroll down in the contact view screen until you see the Share Contact option. Tap it, choose WhatsApp in the top row of icons, select your recipient and you’ll be taken to a new screen to cherry-pick which contact information you’d like to share.

In the example above, I’m sharing Apple, Inc’s work address and its homepage with myself. Depending on specific contact information shared, WhatsApp will provide additional options in the chat window. In the example above, I can tap on the received Apple Inc. contact card to reveal the homepage and work address I shared with myself.

WhatsApp 2.12.5 for iOS iPhone screenshot 007

But if send more contact information from Contacts to WhatsApp like phone number, the embedded contact card in WhatsApp’s chat window will provide buttons to immediately message the contact, save the card as a new contact on my iPhone or add information to one of the existing contacts on my device.

WhatsApp 2.12.5 for iOS iPhone screenshot 008

Lower data consumption

Viber’s most recent update brought out a more efficient data compression and WhatsApp follows suit. Just tap on the Settings icon alongside the bottom of the WhatsApp interface to bring up in-app settings. Now tap on Chats and Calls and then flip the Low Data Usage switch to ON.

WhatsApp 2.12.5 for iOS iPhone screenshot 009

WhatsApp says enabling the feature “further lowers the amount of data used during a WhatsApp call,” but stops short of saying how many kilobytes are saved during a call with this enabled. Viber, for instance, said its new data compression allows the app to burn just 84 kilobytes per minute to make an audio call on a 2G connection.

WhatsApp’s option that lowers data usage will be of particular importance to users in emerging markets and developing countries who either purchase data on the go in 100-megabyte buckets or their monthly cellular data allowance is below one gigabyte.

Video backups

I like WhatsApp’s built-in backup system that periodically saves my chats and media in the cloud. It gives me a piece of mind knowing that I can restore my chat history on another device in just a few seconds.

WhatsApp 2.12.5 for iOS iPhone screenshot 010

Now in WhatsApp 2.12.5, you can at last tell the app to back up videos, too.

To enable video backups, visit the Chats and Calls section in WhatsApp settings, tap on Chat Backup and flip the Include Videos switch to the ON position.

WhatsApp stores your backups in iCloud so it may be a good idea to perform a backup while on Wi-Fi or disable cellular data for iCloud if you really must back up a WhatsApp archive on a cellular connection.

WhatsApp 2.12.5 changelog

The following new features and enhancements are listed in the changelog:

  • Per chat custom notification settings and mute
  • You can now include videos in your chat backups in Settings > Chats and Calls > Chat Backup
  • Mark chats as unread or read with a swipe to the right
  • Better support for VoiceOver
  • Directly share contacts from the Contacts app and locations from Apple Maps to WhatsApp
  • Lower the data usage used during WhatsApp calls in Settings > Chats and Calls
  • Earlier messages now load automatically as you scroll chats
  • Improved design for cropping photos and videos
  • Location messages now use a large map thumbnail

WhatsApp is the leading mobile messaging platform with more than 800 million active monthly users versus Viber’s installed base of 500 million active users.

WhatsApp availability

The 46-megabyte application requires an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad with iOS 6.0 or later. WhatsApp is optimized for native display resolution on the iPhone 5/5c/5c, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, but continues to lack an iPad-optimized interface and a WatchKit component for your wrist.

WhatsApp is available at no charge in the App Store.

  • Tim

    Whatsapp is becoming more and more of a disappointment. This app should have released Watchkit compatibility and things like Quickreply the day of their respective release. Facebook has ruined this app.

    • Danny Rios

      unfortunately a lot of apps haven’t done the quick reply feature nor the watchkit one.. it’s so annoying. I don’t know why they are taking so long! Kik, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Facebook itself, Instagram Direct.. none of those are doing it. And it’s a cool feature if you ask me.

      • nalvarez

        iOS doesn’t provide APIs to let developers add quick reply, so only the native Messages app can do it. It’s Apple’s fault.

    • Luca

      That’s why there’s Telegram 🙂 Not as popular though…

      • Tim

        The exact problem of telegram. About 0.5% of my contacts use it. I’d have more commucation if I’d use an Enigma Machine.

      • Ángel Javier Esquivel

        Just Imitate them

      • David Villamizar

        You can’t force people to use telegram, people switched to whatsapp from BBM and it was a though long process. Telegram seems like a whatsapp clone we don’t really need. I’d rather have people moving to Facebook messenger.

    • Matheus Lisboa

      Quick reply for third-party apps are actually only allowed on iOS 9…

      • Are you sure about that?

      • Matheus Lisboa

        yup, you can have interactive notifications, but not quick reply on iOS 8… the api only came for iOS 9

      • nalvarez

        I looked at the pre-release developer documentation, looks like iOS 9 did not add the quick reply API either.

      • Matheus Lisboa

        I’ve seen developers use it on ios 9, so I guess they forgot to mention

      • David Villamizar

        Apple likes to f*ck up with your mind on keynotes. They implied the quick reply thing was something whatsapp could use, then they didn’t release a public API for that. #justapplethings

    • I believe Apple don’t allow third party apps to use the iOS quick reply “rich reply” APIs. Although if I remember a previous iDB post correctly, that could change iOS 9

    • johnsm

      also no web interface and no ipad app. even more pathetic is the FAKE excuse they gave: ios is too stricted to implement web interface, while telegram implemented it without any problems.

    • You get what you paid for… oh wait WhatsApp is free!

      • Tim

        You pay with your personal information.

      • Мирас Мынжасар

        Really? Free first year, Then 0.99$ per year

      • I never paid a cent, early bird luck
        But even then 1$ a year is nothing

  • Arsal Cheema

    The day I will appreciate WhatsApp feature upgrades is when .mp3 music file sharing becomes possible from the music app via WhatsApp.

    • samyg

      That’s not going to happen, because apple won’t allow it. If you notice, there is no share menu in the music app (to share music files ), so this is not even possible with airdrop or imessage, let alone whatsapp.

      • Arsal Cheema

        There is in iOS 8.4
        We can share music files via WhatsApp but only if the files are in .m4a or .m4r format

      • You are sharing the url, not the file

      • johnsm

        shares the link only, n00b

    • :D

      I think there might be tweaks that let you do that

    • Shad Rizk

      Watusi is the solution

      • Arsal Cheema

        You sir, are a lifesaver.

      • Shad Rizk

        You’re welcome:)

      • Alberto Espinal

        Hey Shad! Does Watusi works in IOS 8.4? Does the unseen and unread checkmarks work as well?

      • Shad Rizk

        yes of course.. but i still didn’t test it on the newest version of whatsapp.

      • Alberto Espinal

        Thank you I installed it but what’s annoying about it is that after you read the conversations it still shows the badges like you haven’t read them, any thoughts on that?

      • Shad Rizk

        of course the whatsapp server will keep sending you notification untill you receive it as double check. there’s no option to stop that.

  • :D

    Does marking a message as unread remove the read receipts from the recipient’s device?

    • johnsm

      of course not

  • kikovskypa

    Wheres Whatsapp Web for iPhone??? Taking so long

    • Elias Chao

      In Cydia :p

    • johnsm

      telegram has it, also an ipad app

    • LegitPirate

      Yup still waiting and waiting. Meanwhile I’ll have convince the rest of my friends to use Telegram.

    • David Villamizar

      They won’t do it for iPhone until the multitasking API changes. Chances are it won’t change, so no whatsapp web without jailbreak.

  • T. Allen

    I keep getting an error message stating “WhatsApp Messenger could not be installed at this time” every time I try and update it. I have rebooted my phone a couple of times. Anyone else seeing this issue?

    • Try deleting WhatsApp and reinstalling

    • Dayne McNab

      I cannot open my whatsapp program. Everytime I click on the icon it closes immediately. This is after I updated the app to the very latest version. I am using an iphone 6 plus on iOS 8.3 jail broken. This is the very first time I have had this issue. I have deleted the software four times and reinstalled to no avail. Also I have rebooted the phone by pressing power and home button simultaneously. Still no luck. Please advise. Thanks

      • deb_ch

        Did you try to delete the app, backup the phone, make a reset of data and re-sync and then try to install WhatsApp? Not sure if it’ll work, though.. Hm.

        What drives me mad is that swipe seems not to offer archive instead of delete.. yuck.

  • Iuri Dos Santos Cunha

    Christian you wrote 5c on the end there twice ;P lol

  • sigh

    FYI this breaks Watusi for anyone using it out there. Whatsapp will crash if you try to open a convo with Watusi installed.

  • johnsm

    great… swipe right used to open all media contained in the chat.. now it’s a stupid mark unread.

  • zabrawn

    Whatsapp makes me sick, always the last to update screensizes for new iphones, always last in everything, they add all this bullshit but not a watch app. 20 billion huh
    TELEGRAM > whatsapp

  • Abhijeet Gupta

    Touch ID lock, because iOS8 supports native Touch ID locking. Shame, whats app is becoming more of a disappointment.

  • igbenga

    Swipe right for media or group media was one of my favorite features. Now they get rid of it in favor of ‘mark as unread’. Not worth it…

  • iKhalil

    Meh I’ll keep using Telegram

  • Maidenmann

    and what about the GIF support?

  • Tim

    Never paid a dime for it and I’ve been using it for 5+ years now.