WhatsApp is testing easier, more secure contact sharing via QR codes

Facebook-owned WhatsApp is testing a new feature for easier contact adding via QR codes.

It was first spotted in beta of both iOS and Android editions of WhatsApp by WABetaInfo.

People who have access to WhatsApp betas may be able to access this new capability in their in-app settings where there are options to display the user’s own QR code or scan other people’s. If you see a QR code there, the feature is already available for you.

Your QR code can be shared with new friends so they can easily and quickly add you. When you share your personal QR code, you’re also sharing your phone number.

The Verge reported this morning:

It’s a minor feature, but adding contacts on WhatsApp can be a pain. At the moment, the service relies on you adding a new contact to your phone’s address book, creating an annoying extra step when you just want to message someone in WhatsApp itself.

This has been my biggest gripe with WhatsApp as well!

QR codes are a much more convenient way of adding someone if you’re with them in person, although it won’t make the process too much easier if you’re doing it online.

And should you happen to mistakenly share your WhatsApp QR code with someone who you don’t want to have your number, you have the ability to revoke the code and call it day.

Keep in mind that Facebook could ultimately decide to pull the plug on this feature, meaning there are really no guarantees that it will be rolled out to everyone anytime soon.

The Facebook-acquired messaging service, along with other technology products like Zoom, is seeing a major surge in usage following the coronavirus epidemic. In mid-April, the software was refreshed to enable group video calling between up to eight participants simultaneously.

WhatsApp also recently gained Dark Mode support and introduced new capabilities designed to prevent bulk message forwarding in order to slow down the dissemination of disinformation regarding the coronavirus, COVID-19 and other fake news.