WhatsApp updates: 5 major changes coming to the app - including chat transfer and media captions

Key changes for users include transferring chat history and forwarding media with captions

WhatsApp is working on some major changes to improve functionality for users.

Details of the upcoming updates have been revealed online via the Whatsapp blog WABetaInfo, with improvements to images and chat functions coming soon.

The instant messaging service usually tests updates in the beta version of the app first, before changes are rolled out to all users.

WABetaInfo has unveiled some of the major changes that users can expect to see soon, but none of the updates are yet live on the general release version of WhatsApp. Listed are five key changes that are in the works.

Logo of WhatsApp, the popular messaging service (Photo by STAN HONDA/AFP via Getty Images)

Detect text in WhatsApp photos

WhatsApp is rolling out the ability to detect text within images in conversations. If you have the beta version, it is easy to discover whether you have the function or not by tapping on some text on an image and using the text detection button.

However, this feature is specific to iOS 16 and is not provided by WhatsApp but via the system’s API. If you have an older version of iOS then this feature may not be available for you.

Move chat history between Android phones 

WhatsApp is developing a feature named Chat Transfer, which allows users to move their chat history privately to a new android phone without using Google Drive.

However, device permissions are needed to connect users to their new devices. There is no release date for this feature as it is still under development.

Forward media without a caption 

WhatsApp is rolling out the ability to forward media with a caption. This means users can still keep the captions on images, videos, GIFs and documents during the forwarding process, and can also remove the caption before forwarding media too.

Block Shortcuts 

This new feature, which is still in development, will allow users to block contact right within the chat list. WeBetaInfo said WhatsApp is also developing an alternate shortcut to block contacts, which is available within notifications.

However, the block shortcut via notification will only be available when receiving a message from unknown and untrusted contacts.

Camera Mode

This new feature is also still under development, and will allow users to switch to a different mode to record quickly.

Right now, users need to tap and hold to record a video which can be complicated for a long video, but soon users will be able to switch to video mode with just a tap, making it more convenient to capture videos.

How to get WhatsApp beta

To download WhatsApp beta and uncover the new features that are not yet available to the main app, go to Google Play and search for WhatsApp. Scroll down until you see ‘become a Beta Tester’ and tap on the ‘I’m in’ button. From there, press ‘Join’ to confirm and wait for the update.

It is harder to join WhatsApp beta on iOS as it has limited capacity. To test beta versions of apps and App Clips on iOS, TestFlight will need to be used. The developer of the apps will send over an email or public link invitation to allow access. For more information, you can follow Apple’s guide.