WhatsApp is finally ready to welcome GIFs into your conversations, with the long-awaited feature now present in the app’s latest iOS beta release. It’s about time support for them was introduced, given rivals like Facebook Messenger and Viber have already gone ahead and integrated them.
However, WhatsApp is striking a slightly different path from its competitors. Instead of allowing users to directly share GIFs, the app autoplays links which contain GIFs. This basically means you can paste a link in a chat and the animation will automatically pop up.
This is a far cry from what tools like Messenger or GBoard offer, but it does save you the hassle of having to open a link in a browser to view a GIF. Besides this, WhatsApp beta version 126.96.36.199 also lets you save GIFs as a single image or as it is to your camera roll.
You’ll also be getting the ability to directly reply to GIF image messages and Peek and Pop them courtesy 3D Touch support. WhatsApp is further planning to protect your animation-filled conversations by supplying the GIFs with encryption support.
These changes were first spotted by Twitter account @WABetaInfo, who thinks the application may let you share a GIF as a document in the future. Other exciting changes which may be outed in the coming days include support for temporary group participants and a timer to tell you how long chat history restoring or backup will take.
As for the long-rumored addition of video calling, the WhatsApp release talks about improvements to video call preview and minimized window. There’s no telling when the company will push the beta into general availability, but it’ll likely happen soon.