Facebook-owned chat app WhatsApp today updated its iOS and Android applications with a collection of new features aimed at making group chats more in-depth and easier to catch up with. The update also introduces revamped administrator controls to enhance a group’s privacy during chats.
To start, users can set a short blurb under their group info to highlight the “purpose, guidelines, or topics” that will be the main focus of the discussions. This way, when a new member joins the blurb will appear at the top of the chat and they’ll understand the general goal of the group.
When users have been away from a group chat for a period of time, they can now catch up on any messages that specifically mentioned them, in a similar vein to Discord and Slack. Users can find the catch-up feature behind a new @ button at the bottom right corner of chat. Additionally, a new participant search lets users find anyone in their group through a search bar on the group info page.
Groups have been an important part of the WhatsApp experience, whether it’s family members connecting across the globe or childhood friends staying in touch over the years. There are also people coming together in groups on WhatsApp like new parents looking for support, students organizing study sessions, and even city leaders coordinating relief efforts after natural disasters. Today, we’re sharing improvements that we’ve made to groups.
For admins, there is a new control to restrict which members can change the group’s subject, icon, and description. Admins can also now remove admin permissions of other group participants, while group creators can no longer be kicked out of the group they started. The company said that it has also introduced a safeguard that will protect users from repeatedly being added to groups they have already left.
The updates are rolling out today for WhatsApp on iOS and Android.