Our passion is to find new ways to help keep your messages private and secure. Today, we’re excited to bring to you a new feature we’re calling Chat Lock, which lets you protect your most intimate conversations behind one more layer of security.
Locking a chat takes that thread out of the inbox and puts it behind its own folder that can only be accessed with your device password or biometric, like a fingerprint. It also automatically hides the contents of that chat in notifications, too.
We think this feature will be great for people who have reason to share their phones from time to time with a family member or those moments where someone else is holding your phone at the exact moment an extra special chat arrives. You can lock a chat by tapping the name of a one-to-one or group and selecting the lock option. To reveal these chats, slowly pull down on your inbox and enter your phone password or biometric.
Over the next few months we’re going to be adding more options for Chat Lock, including locking for companion devices and creating a custom password for your chats so that you can use a unique password different from the one you use for your phone.
Tell your friends about Chat Lock, which is rolling out now.
As we continue to innovate the app, today we’re sharing several new features coming to WhatsApp that we hope will make chats a little more productive and fun.
New updates to Polls
We’re introducing three new updates for polls to help groups gather info and make decisions together.
Create single-vote polls: For when you need a definitive answer, we’re introducing the option for poll creators to allow people to vote only once. Simply turn off ‘allow multiple answers' when creating a poll.
Search for polls in your chats: It’s not always possible to answer a poll immediately, and it can be difficult to find a poll within the chat at a later time. Now, you can filter messages by polls, just like you can for photos, videos or links. On the ‘Chats’ screen, press ‘Search’ and then ‘Polls’ to find a list of all results.
Stay updated on poll results: You will now receive notifications when people vote on your polls, so you can easily keep up to date on responses.
Forwarding with Captions
Sharing photos on WhatsApp is one of the easiest ways of keeping friends and family updated on your life, and the ability to forward media means you can quickly reshare images from one group of connections to another. But sometimes you might not have time to add context before someone responds.
Now when you forward media that has a caption, you have the option to keep, delete or completely rewrite it to give extra information when sharing photos between chats. You can also add a caption to photos and videos when you forward them.
Sharing Documents with Captions
Just like when sharing images or videos, the documents you share may require a little explanation. Whether it’s when sending a newspaper article or a work document, now you have the option to add a caption before sharing.
These updates have started rolling out to users globally and will be available to everyone in the coming weeks.
Today, we’re improving our multi-device offering further by introducing the ability to use the same WhatsApp account on multiple phones.
A feature highly requested by users, now you can link your phone as one of up to four additional devices, the same as when you link with WhatsApp on web browsers, tablets and desktops. Each linked phone connects to WhatsApp independently, ensuring that your personal messages, media, and calls are end-to-end encrypted, and if your primary device is inactive for a long period, we automatically log you out of all companion devices.
Linking phones as companion devices makes messaging easier. Now you can switch between phones without signing out and pick up your chats where you left off. Or if you’re a small business owner, additional employees are now able to respond to customers directly from their phones under the same WhatsApp Business account.
This update has started rolling out to users globally and will be available to everyone in the coming weeks.
Also rolling out over the coming weeks, we’re introducing an alternative and more accessible way to link to companion devices. Now you can enter your phone number on WhatsApp Web to receive a one-time code, which you can use on your phone to enable device linking, rather than having to scan a QR code. We look forward to introducing this feature to more companion devices in the future.
With Disappearing Messages conversations do not have to stick around forever – just like in person discussions. While this extra layer of privacy protects messages from falling into the wrong hands, sometimes there’s that occasional voice note or key piece of information you want to keep.
Today we’re introducing “Keep in Chat,” so you can hang on to texts you need for later, with a special superpower for the sender. We believe if you’ve sent the message, it’s your choice whether others in the chat can keep it for later.
To make this work, the sender will be notified when someone keeps a message, and the sender will have the ability to veto the decision. If you’ve decided your message can’t be kept by others, your decision is final, no one else can keep it and the message will be deleted when the timer expires. This way you have the final say on how messages you send are protected.
Messages you’ve saved on your WhatsApp will be noted with a bookmark icon and you can see these messages, organized by chat, in the Kept Messages folder.
We hope people enjoy this new update and the flexibility to keep the messages they need. This will roll out globally over the next few weeks.
When we share what we’re working on here it's usually about new features or products we're building. Today we’re writing about a troubling development in the United Kingdom that everyone needs to know about.
The UK government is currently considering new legislation that opens the door to trying to force technology companies to break end-to-end encryption on private messaging services. The law could give an unelected official the power to weaken the privacy of billions of people around the world.
We don’t think any company, government or person should have the power to read your personal messages and we’ll continue to defend encryption technology. We’re proud to stand with other technology companies in our industry pushing back against the misguided parts of this law that would make people in the UK and around the world less safe.
To anyone who cares about safety and privacy on the internet.
As end-to-end-encrypted communication services, we urge the UK Government to address the risks that the Online Safety Bill poses to everyone's privacy and safety. It is not too late to ensure that the Bill aligns with the Government's stated intention to protect end-to-end encryption and respect the human right to privacy.
Around the world, businesses, individuals and governments face persistent threats from online fraud, scams and data theft. Malicious actors and hostile states routinely challenge the security of our critical infrastructure. End-to-end encryption is one of the strongest possible defenses against these threats, and as vital institutions become ever more dependent on internet technologies to conduct core operations, the stakes have never been higher.
As currently drafted, the Bill could break end-to-end encryption,opening the door to routine, general and indiscriminate surveillance of personal messages of friends, family members, employees, executives, journalists, human rights activists and even politicians themselves, which would fundamentally undermine everyone’s ability to communicate securely.
The Bill provides no explicit protection for encryption, and if implemented as written, could empower OFCOM to try to force the proactive scanning of private messages on end-to-end encrypted communication services - nullifying the purpose of end-to-end encryption as a result and compromising the privacy of all users.
In short, the Bill poses an unprecedented threat to the privacy, safety and security of every UK citizen and the people with whom they communicate around the world, while emboldening hostile governments who may seek to draft copy-cat laws.
Proponents say that they appreciate the importance of encryption and privacy while also claiming that it's possible to surveil everyone's messages without undermining end-to-end encryption. The truth is that this is not possible.
We aren’t the only ones who share concerns about the UK Bill. The United Nations has warned that the UK Government’s efforts to impose backdoor requirements constitute “a paradigm shift that raises a host of serious problems with potentially dire consequences”.
Even the UK Government itself has acknowledged the privacy risks that the text of the Bill poses, but has said its “intention” isn’t for the Bill to be interpreted this way.
Global providers of end-to-end encrypted products and services cannot weaken the security of their products and services to suit individual governments. There cannot be a “British internet,” or a version of end-to-end encryption that is specific to the UK.
The UK Government must urgently rethink the Bill, revising it to encourage companies to offer more privacy and security to its residents, not less. Weakening encryption, undermining privacy, and introducing the mass surveillance of people’s private communications is not the way forward.
Signed by those who care about keeping our conversations secure:
At WhatsApp, we believe that your messages should be as private and secure as an in-person conversation. Protecting your personal messages with default end-to-end encryption is the foundation of that security, and we'll never stop building new features to give you extra layers of privacy, and more control over your messages.
A lot of this work happens behind the scenes without you having to do a thing. Today, we’re excited to tell you about some of the additional security features we’ll be adding in the coming months.
Account Protect: If you need to switch your WhatsApp account to a new device – we want to double check that it’s really you. From now on, we may ask you on your old device to verify that you want to take this step as an extra security check. This feature can help alert you to an unauthorized attempt to move your account to another device.
Device Verification: Mobile device malware is one of the biggest threats to people’s privacy and security today because it can take advantage of your phone without your permission and use your WhatsApp to send unwanted messages. To help prevent this, we have added checks to help authenticate your account - with no action needed from you - and better protect you if your device is compromised. This lets you continue using WhatsApp uninterrupted. Go deeper on the tech here.
Automatic Security Codes: Our most security conscious users have always been able to take advantage of our security code verification feature, which helps ensure you are chatting with the intended recipient. You can check this manually by going to the encryption tab under a contact’s info. To make this process easier and more accessible to everyone, we’re rolling out a security feature based on a process called “Key Transparency” that allows you to automatically verify that you have a secure connection. What it means for you is that when you click on the encryption tab, you’ll be able to verify right away that your personal conversation is secured. For those interested in going deeper into the tech, click here.
These are three additional ways we’re helping secure your account. While there’s many things we can do to make security easy for everyone, there are two features that only you can turn on: two-step verification and use of end-to-end encrypted backups. If you’re already using both, please tell your friends about them so more people can benefit from these layers of security too.
We hope people enjoy the increased security these features offer, and we look forward to announcing more updates soon.
Starting today people across Brazil will be able to pay their local small business right within a WhatsApp chat. This seamless and secure checkout experience will be a game-changer for people and small businesses looking to buy and sell on WhatsApp without having to go to a website, open another app or pay in person. We’re rolling out today to a small number of businesses and will be available to many more in the coming months.
In Brazil you can search for a business, browse goods and services, add them to your cart, and make a payment all with just a few taps. We’re excited to finally unlock this ability for people and businesses right within a chat.
Just like every feature in WhatsApp, payments are designed to be secure. Card numbers are encrypted and securely stored, and people are required to create a Payment PIN and use it for each payment. We also offer customer support to ensure help is available, if needed.
We’re excited to hear how this service helps people and small businesses in Brazil connect on WhatsApp, and look forward to bringing it to more types of businesses and countries in the future.
WhatsApp started as a mobile app and those roots remain as strong as ever. But with hundreds of millions of people using WhatsApp on computers and tablets, we’re focused on making the messaging and calling experience across devices even better.
Today, we’re introducing a brand new WhatsApp app for Windows, available to download here.
The new Windows desktop app loads faster and is built with an interface familiar to WhatsApp and Windows users. You can host group video calls with up to 8 people and audio calls with up to 32 people. We’ll continue to increase these limits over time so you can always stay connected with friends, family and work colleagues.
WhatsApp is the largest platform to provide a fully end-to-end encrypted experience that allows cross-platform communication between mobile phones, computers, tablets and more. This means that your personal messages, media, and calls are always end-to-end encrypted across all your devices.
Since introducing new multi-device capabilities, we’ve listened to feedback and made improvements including faster device linking and better syncing across devices, as well as new features such as link previews and stickers.
As we continue to increase the number of devices which support WhatsApp, we’ve just introduced a new WhatsApp beta experience for Android tablets. We’re also launching a new, faster app for Mac desktops that is currently in the early stages of beta.
We look forward to bringing WhatsApp to even more devices in the future.
Last year, we rolled out Communities, to help people get the most out of their groups on WhatsApp. Since launching, we’ve wanted to build even more tools for admins and users alike. Today we’re excited to roll out a few new changes we’ve made to make groups more manageable for admins and easier to navigate for everyone.
New controls for admins
As more people join communities, we want to give group admins more control over their group privacy, so we’ve built a simple tool that gives admins the ability to decide who is able to join a group.When an admin chooses to share their group’s invite link, or make their group joinable in a community, they now have more control over who can join. Groups are where people have some of their most intimate conversations and it’s important that admins are able to easily decide who can and cannot come in.
Easily see groups in common
With the growth of Communities and their larger groups, we want to make it easy to know which groups you have in common with someone. Whether you’re trying to remember the name of a group you know you share with someone or you want to see the groups you’re both in, you can now easily search a contact’s name to see your groups in common.
These features will start rolling out globally over the coming weeks, as we continue to build new tools to make groups the best experience for admins and members alike.
Status is a popular way to share ephemeral updates with friends and close contacts on WhatsApp. They disappear in 24 hours and may include photos, videos, GIFs, text, and more. Just like your personal chats and calls, your WhatsApp status is protected by end-to-end encryption so you can share privately and securely.
We’re excited to add a set of new features to status on WhatsApp that make it easier to express yourself and connect with others.
Private Audience Selector
Every status you share may not always be right for all of your contacts. We’re providing you with the flexibility to update your privacy settings per status so you can choose who views your status each time you update it. Your most recent audience selection will be saved and used as the default for your next status.
We’re introducing the ability to record and share voice messages up to 30 seconds on WhatsApp status. Voice status can be used for sending more personal updates, especially if you feel more comfortable expressing yourself by talking rather than typing.
We’re adding status reactions to provide a quick and easy way to respond to status updates from your friends and close contacts. This was the #1 feature users wanted, following the launch of Reactions last year. You can now quickly reply to any status by swiping up and tapping on one of eight emojis. You can of course still reply to a status with text, voice message, stickers and more.
Status Profile Rings for New Updates
With the new status profile ring you’ll never miss a status from a loved one. This ring will be present around your contact’s profile picture whenever they share a status update. It will be visible in the chat lists, group participant lists, and contact info.
Link Previews on Status
Now when you post a link on your status, you’ll automatically see a visual preview of the link content, just like when you send a message. Visual previews make your statuses look better, and also give your contacts a better idea of what the link is before they click.
These updates have started rolling out to users globally and will be available to everyone in the coming weeks. We look forward to people enjoying these new status features soon.