Latest WhatsApp update fixes your group chat anxiety

If you are in several WhatsApp group chats, you’ll know that sometimes they can be a bit overwhelming. It’s fun to keep in touch with your friends and family, but the constant notifications can be overwhelming – and that’s before someone hits the group call button and starts calling everyone in the group.

Phone call anxiety is real, and the latest big update from WhatsApp looks like it’s designed to address that. Voice chats are rolling out to WhatsApp on iPhone and Android in the coming weeks, and they are a new way to, well, voice chat live with people in WhatsApp groups – like a group phone call as opposed to the popular voice notes people send as listen-only snippets on WhatsApp.

WhatsApp says it thinks the new voice chat feature is less disruptive, because rather than calling every member of the group, voice chats exist as in-chat bubbles that you get notified about and have to tap to join. It’s a bit like an audio chatroom.

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“Whether it’s a nail-biting football game or sharing some big family news, there are some moments in the group chat where you just need to talk it out with those available, while continuing to message those that aren’t,” WhatsApp said.

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The Meta-owned chat app said the update will first come to groups with 33 people or more, so smaller groups may have to wait longer. But for those unwieldy chats we all like to be included in but might not want to always be pinged by, this looks like a clever and welcome update to avoid a series of anxiety-inducing phone buzzes.

WhatsApp has added call controls for these voice chats that are at the top of the chat group to unmute, hang up, or text the group without having to leave the group itself. The text app has improved in recent years with new features and upgrades, although the interface looks incredibly similar to what it looked like ten years ago, right before it was bought by Meta – then Facebook – in 2014 for $19 billion.

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