Stick emojis on messages and send large files: it’s new in WhatsApp

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WhatsApp will release a major update in the coming weeks. For example, you’ll soon be able to stick a smiley face on someone else’s joke, and it’ll be possible to send 2GB files. These are all back-to-back innovations.

You may not have the WhatsApp update yet. The chat service said last week that it would be a few weeks before everyone could use the new features. You don’t have to do anything for it.

Paste an emoji on a message

Adding emoji reactions should be especially useful in group chats. If someone else sends a message, you can now paste a reply to it. If it’s something you like, you can, for example, add a thumbs up or a heart to the message, just like on Instagram and in the enterprise chat app Slack.

This ensures that you can reply without sending a new message. According to WhatsApp, this is useful in group chats because conversations are less likely to escalate into chaos. For now, six emojis are available: thumbs up, heart, smiley face, surprised face, crying face and two joined hands (gratitude or prayer).

The feature works by holding your finger on a message and choosing an emoji from a pop-up menu. It is then pasted on the message. Several people can do it in a group; a number will be added to the emoji to indicate the number of reactions.

You can select one emoji per comment. Comments pasted on posts that disappear disappear with the post. It is not possible to hide comments. In the future, WhatsApp wants to make all emojis available.

This is what the emoji reactions look like.

Larger files and larger groups

Chat groups on WhatsApp could hold up to 256 people, but according to the company, many people have asked for that limit to be raised. That’s why WhatsApp is “slowly” fulfilling this wish. Once the feature is available, 512 people will be able to join a group chat.

Now larger files can also be sent. The limit for videos or documents used to be 100MB, but has been increased to 2GB. You can send files via the plus icon next to the text box.

WhatsApp thinks the increased limit will be helpful when it comes to collaboration, for example within small businesses or small schools. The chat service recommends using WiFi to upload and download larger files. During sending and receiving, a counter appears at the top of the call to indicate how long it will take.

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