The popular Facebook-owned mobile messaging app WhatsApp is receiving a new update according to reports, introducing a new privacy-oriented feature designed to give users more control over group invites. Specifically, the latest update adds three privacy modes for groups, allowing users to select between "Nobody," "My Contacts," and "Everyone."
A simple solution to a privacy concern
WhatsApp groups may have received new admin controls last year allowing group administrators to adjust certain group details but these tools didn't offer much in the way of privacy improvements. Everyone could invite anyone to a group and users could still find themselves in unwanted chat rooms. But with the latest release, this should no longer be the case, unless agreed upon by the user.
WhatsApp users who might want to avoid invitations to random chat groups can enable the "Nobody" option after applying the latest update. By doing so, users will have to approve before joining every group, or they can simply reject invitations.
The "My Contacts" option works in a similar fashion except contacts found in the user's phonebook will be whitelisted automatically and will be able to add the user to a group without an invite. The final option called "Everyone" is self-explanatory and lifts any group invite restrictions, effectively allowing WhatsApp groups to function just as they did before this latest update.
As for users who may want to add other people to a group, unless whitelisted either by the "My Contacts" or "Everyone" filters, they will have to send a private invitation through a conversation before the other party can decide whether to join or decline. The invitation will remain valid for three days after which it will expire.
The latest update is not listed on the Play Store as of this writing but availability will expand gradually. The new features will land on a smaller number of smartphones at first and should reach every WhatsApp user around the globe in the coming days or weeks.
Android smartphone users who have automatic app updates turned off should check their installed app list on the Play Store regularly and keep an eye on when WhatsApp will be bumped up along with its new update. Otherwise, users should receive an update notification or get the update automatically once it reaches their devices.
WhatsApp keeps getting better
WhatsApp has been receiving new features and improvements at a steady pace lately, and the most recent additions arrive roughly one week after the application was updated with improved group call features. The popular messaging app turned 10 years of age in February and the developer stated that it will continue to enrich the user experience by making WhatsApp simpler and more reliable.
Meanwhile, recent reports indicate that WhatsApp might be getting a darker theme soon as bits of code found in a beta version of the mobile app have hinted at the inclusion of the so-called Dark Mode. There's no exact launch date in sight but with more mobile applications aiming to implement a Dark Mode in the wake of Android Q's darker theme, this feature could be coming to WhatsApp in the coming months.