WhatsApp rolls out end-to-end encrypted video calling

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 15, 2016

Facebook-owned WhatsApp announced yesterday that it had begun rolling out video calling to the more than one billion users it claims across iOS, Android and Windows Phone platforms around the world.

According to TechCrunch, video calls on WhatsApp are end-to-end encrypted just like with FaceTime in order to prevent rogue parties from eavesdropping on your communications.

WhatsApp previously rolled out end-to-end encryption for chats. “We obviously try to be in tune with what our users want,” WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum told Reuters. “We’re obsessed with making sure that voice and video work well even on low-end phones.” Read More

 

Viber launches Public Accounts for brands, overhauls media menus in iPhone app

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 9, 2016

Popular messaging app Viber today launched a new account format, called Public Accounts, which allows businesses and brands to interact with users. More than a thousand Public Accounts from such brands as BBC, Mashable, The Washington Post, The Weather Channel and more were available at launch, with many more to follow in the coming days and weeks. Subscribing to Public Accounts allows users to get updates from brands they love and post messages that other followers will see. Read More

 

WhatsApp for iPhone gains GIF search feature

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 9, 2016

Facebook-owned WhatsApp two days ago gained support for sending and receiving animated GIFs, as well as sending short videos or Live Photos as GIF attachments. Today the team issued a small update to WhatsApp’s iPhone application in the App Store, bumping version number to 2.16.16 and adding another handy feature: a built-in option that lets you find animated GIFs to attach to your messages from within the app. Read More

 

Join Microsoft’s Skype Insider initiative to beta-test upcoming features

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 9, 2016

Microsoft is launching a new Skype Insider initiative which invites users to download pre-release builds and test upcoming features before they’re rolled out to everyone.

Microsoft already has similar programs available for Windows and the Xbox and now Skype users can sign up online at the Skype Insiders registration form. If you decide to participate in the program, you will be permitted to install pre-release builds of Skype alongside your current version of the app. Read More

 

Facebook halts WhatsApp data collection in UK following privacy probe

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 8, 2016

As of late-August 2016, WhatsApp has been sharing account data with Facebook in what the firm framed as an effort to improve targeted advertising on the social network. Although users can easily opt out of the WhatsApp → Facebook data sharing with just a few taps, most novice users are unaware that their WhatsApp usage data is being shared with Facebook.

In the United Kingdom, the Information Commissioner Office head Elizabeth Denham said her office had launched a probe into WhatsApp’s updated Terms of Service a few weeks ago.

The new terms previously drew ire from European privacy watchdogs who expressed “serious concerns” over the policy change. As a result of the UK government probe, WhatsApp has now suspended account data collection and sharing with Facebook. Read More

 

WhatsApp now lets you send short videos or Live Photos as animated GIFs

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 7, 2016

Following a recent update that added a bunch of new camera features and the ability to draw on photos, Facebook-owned WhatsApp today pushed another update that enables support for animated GIFs. Not only can you now send and receive animated GIFs through WhatsApp for iPhone, but also easily send any short video or Live Photo in your library as an animated GIF. WhatsApp 2.16.15 is required for these features, available free on the App Store. Read More

 

Google Allo gains Assistant voice dictation, ability to draw on images & more

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 27, 2016

Allo, Google’s cross-platform smart messaging app with built-in Google Assistant, was bumped this morning to version 2.0 following its App Store debut a month ago.

Allo’s built-in Assistant now supports voice dictation so you can now converse with it instead of typing. Another new feature: you can draw right on your image attachments. Google Allo 2.0 for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch is a free download from the App Store. Read More

 

Skype for iPhone gains Siri messaging integration, other new features coming soon

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 27, 2016

Microsoft today refreshed Skype for iPhone and iPod touch and Skype for iPad with the ability to send messages to your Skype contacts using Siri. Just say something along the lines “Send message to John on Skype saying what’s up?” and Siri will do the right thing.

Earlier, the app integrated with iOS 10’s CallKit to make VoIP Skype calls behave like traditional phone calls with Lock screen, Phone, Favorites and Contacts integration.

And earlier this week, Microsoft announced a number of other changes that will be coming to Skype for iOS in the coming weeks. Read More

 

Tip: replay any bubble or screen effect in Messages conversations with a tap

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 26, 2016

The Messages app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch has gained a number of new features in iOS 10 that allow users to better express themselves with things like stickers, reactions, iMessage Apps, animated expressions, Digital Touch, bubble and screen effects and much more.

Initially, a message sent with an effect would animate once after the user opened it. In iOS 10.1, Apple’s added a new option to replay bubble and screen effects anywhere in conversations with a tap. Read More

 

Apple’s created mockups of iMessage for Android, including one with pure Material Design

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 25, 2016

I was just reading a post titled “On iMessage’s Stickiness” from Apple pundit John Gruber, published last evening on his Daring Fireball blog, and stumbled upon an interesting passage alleging that Apple’s created several mockups of iMessage for Android.

One of the mockups of iMessage for Android reportedly looks like a carbon copy of its iOS counterpart, with another one based on Google’s Material Design guidelines.

“I’ve heard from little birdies that mockups of iMessage for Android have circulated within the company, with varying UI styles ranging from looking like the iOS Messages app to pure Material Design,” reads the post. Read More

 

Data Saver mode is reportedly coming to Facebook Messenger in a few weeks

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 20, 2016

I use Facebook Messenger literally every single day to message my friends and family and have always hated how the mobile app discriminately downloads media content regardless of whether I open the message or not.

Sometimes my friends would attach really long videos or high-resolution shots to their messages, prompting me to completely disable cellular access for Messenger on my iPhone, but then I don’t receive their texts on the go.

Wouldn’t it be better if Messenger handled data-hungry attachments more intelligently when the user is connected to a cellular network? As per a report by The Next Web a few days ago, a new data saver option is indeed coming to Messenger in a few weeks. Read More

 

WhatsApp update enables drawing on photos and videos, new camera features & more

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 20, 2016

WhatsApp’s latest update, which surfaced this morning on the App Store, brings the ability to draw on photos and videos and adorn your media with text or emoji. You can also express yourself by sticking huge emojis on top of photos and videos. Users automatically see the new editing tools when capturing a new photo or video or sharing one that’s already on their phone. Coming soon: support for Retina flash for the selfie camera, zooming during video capture and a shortcut for quickly switching between cameras. Read More

 

Facebook getting ready to ape Snapchat with Messenger Day, a visual storytelling feature

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 18, 2016

If you live in Poland or Australia, you might have stumbled upon a brand new feature at the top of Facebook’s Messenger app, called Messenger Day. As reported by Mashable on Tuesday, Facebook has begun expanding this new feature across the globe following launch of Instagram Stories last month. Available in the mobile Messenger app for iOS and Android, Messenger Day is about sharing what you’re up to in the form of auto-dissapearing updates, stickers and sketches. Read More

 

How to use iMessage Apps in iOS 10 Messages

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 10, 2016

Your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch lets you spruce up your messaging game with stickers, emojireactions, bubble and screen effectsanimated expressions of your feelings and iMessage Apps for things like OpenTable reservations, Apple Music integration, animated GIF creation and more.

This tutorial details important things pertaining to third-party iMessage Apps, including finding and installing them in the App Store, organizing them on the Messages App Shelf, disabling those you seldom use and deleting ones you no longer need. Read More

 

How to use Digital Touch in Messages for iPhone and iPad

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 6, 2016

Digital Touch debuted as a sort of gimmicky feature of the Apple Watch software. On iOS 10, Digital Touch has made its way into the stock Messages app, making it easy and to add various effects to photo or video attachments, send sketches, taps, kisses, heartbeats and more. In this step-by-step tutorial, you’re going to learn how to express your feelings in style with the Digital Touch features on your iOS 10-enabled iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. Read More

 

How to enable and use Secret Conversations in Facebook Messenger

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 5, 2016

Facebook Messenger supports end-to-end encryption, giving you a piece of mind knowing that any sensitive messages with friends and family cannot be deciphered by a third-party. Facebook kicked off a limited trial of this feature in July 2016 before rolling it out to everyone in October 2016. These Secret Conversations, as Facebook is calling encrypted chats, rely on a device key that ensures only you and the recipient can see the message.

You can verify the device key to confirm that the messages are end-to-end encrypted, set a timer to have secret messages disappear from the conversation and so forth.

Here’s how to set up and use Secret Conversations in Facebook Messenger. Read More

 

Apple threatens pulling an app for pranking friends with stickers that mimic iMessage bubbles

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 30, 2016

Apple on Friday threatened to pull Phoneys, a 99-cent sticker pack which lets you prank friends by putting words in their mouth. The #1 Top Paid item in the Messages App Store, Phoneys employs a simple trick to make the illusion work: it provides stickers that look exactly like the blue iMessage bubbles. Phoneys developer Adam Howell says Apple told him it would be pulling the app next Thursday unless it’s fundamentally changed so that the stickers looked nothing like iMessage bubbles. Read More

 

Skype for iOS updated with Siri, Phone, Contacts and Lock screen integrations

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 29, 2016

Microsoft today announced availability of freshly updated Skype for iOS apps. Bumped to version 6.25, both Skype for iPhone and Skype for iPad now include SiriKit support that lets them integrate with Siri so you can call people and send messages using just your voice. The apps also take advantage of CallKit, which allows VoIP Skype calls to behave like normal cellular calls with fullscreen contact images on the Lock screen and integration with Phone’s Recents and Favorites on iSO 10 devices. Read More

 

Apple airs new ‘Balloons’ ad highlighting iPhone 7 and expressive messaging

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 29, 2016

Apple’s much improved Messages app in iOS 10 is more expressive than ever, especially with nicely done animations that take over the entire screen.

One of the fullscreen effects in Messages, a bunch of balloons that fly up from the bottom of the screen, is the central theme of a new iPhone 7 commercial that Apple posted on its YouTube channel today.

The 30-second commercial wraps up with the message, “The all-new iPhone 7, with expressive messages. Practically magic.” Read More

 

How to use emoji like a pro in Messages for iPhone and iPad

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 28, 2016

Your expressive Messages app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch packs in some interesting and useful features related to emojis. For added impact, emojis can be made three times their normal size.

But that’s not all.

Apple’s stock QuickType keyboard now recommends emojis as you type and Messages has a cool emojification feature where you tap words to turn them into appropriate emoji characters.

We’re going to take you through all emoji-related features in Messages for iOS and teach you how to use them. Are you ready to boost your emoji game? Read More

 
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