You can react to a message with an emoji in most messaging apps including iMessage, Facebook Messenger, Slack and Telegram.
But WhatsApp users have been waiting years for this feature. We first heard that WhatsApp was developing it back in September 2021 but five months later it’s still not available in the public apps.
However, the wait is almost over. As spotted by WABetaInfo, reactions will be in an upcoming beta version of WhatsApp on iOS and Android. An image posted in Twitter shows a beta version of WhatsApp on iPhone with emojis below a message.
WhatsApp is readying message reactions (secured by end-to-end encryption) in a new upcoming update of WhatsApp beta for Android and iOS. 👍❤️😂😮😢🙏 pic.twitter.com/o9CMW6pnsN— WABetaInfo (@WABetaInfo) February 2, 2022
There’s no word on when the feature will make it into the public version of WhatsApp, but given the lengthy testing period, it can’t be long.
Originally, back in September, any emoji could be chosen as a reaction, but in the latest beta, that’s been reduced to a selection of just six – more in keeping with other messaging apps. Those are:
- Thumbs up
- Laughing with tears smiley
- Surprised looking smiley
- Sad smiley with tear
- ‘Thankyou’ hands
In that older beta, shown above, the number next to the various reactions indicates how many people have reacted to that message, which is most useful in group chats where you can see who reacted with what. It’s unclear whether that will be in the final version.
If you react to a message and the person who wrote it running an older version of WhatsApp, they’ll see a message telling them that they’ve received a reaction and need to update their app.
That’s not all. Other features are in the works as well. There’s a new shortcut to stickers which appears to the left-hand side of a word you’re typing when it matches a sticker. Plus, privacy settings are being reworked to include ‘My Contacts Except…’ so that you can, for example, allow everyone to know when you were last seen using the app except specific people.
WhatsApp users more recently got the ability to send disappearing photos or videos, long after disappearing messages were added to the app.