2020 is a looking like a big year for messaging behemoth WhatsApp. The platform continues to work and extend its functionality and abilities, while also addressing important issues such as security.
Here are some of the new WhatsApp changes which are in the works in 2020:
Dark Mode: Facebook recently rolled out the new dark look, changing the ever present white space into something unrecognizable and black. Given that WhatsApp is owned by Facebook, it is no surprise that the same is coming out on WhatsApp.
While the change may not be welcome for users who are used to the ever present and bright look, the benefits to the user probably outweigh the discomfort as it will likely reduce energy consumption, extend battery life (so you can actually stay on the platform longer), and make it easier to go to sleep once you decide to finally put your phone down.
Reverse Image Search: As the user of WhatsApp has grown, the abuse of the platform has also grown. It is incredibly easy to connect and talk with people using the app. But you can’t always tell if the people you are chatting with are who they say they are. Some people perpetuate their schemes with the use of attractive but natural looking photos.
With this feature, once it is officially rolled out, users can click on an image provided to them and do a quick google search for them. If the image is legit, it should come up connected to the person (and only them, for the most part). If the image is not, you might find it on stock image sites (such as Pexels.com or Pixabay.com), or posted to multiple profiles and platforms associated with many different aliases.
Self-Destructing Messages: People use WhatsApp for many reasons (rather than using traditional calling services or SMS texting). In some cases, people don’t want others to know about the communication (voice calls, videos calls, chats, exchange of media).
This may be because the user wants to shield others from knowing the communication (personal or business relationships), or because the information exchanged is sensitive.
The trouble is that those messages remain on your phone (or theirs) until you decide to delete them, and sometimes it is too burdensome to delete them regularly (or you forget). The self-destructing messages option could be a game-changer for some users, who flock to other apps simply for that feature. You will likely be able to set the app to automatically delete messages after a certain amount of time.
WhatsApp Group Calling Participation: During these troubled times, more and more people are turning to messaging apps to communicate with friends, loved ones, and business associates. Many video conferencing apps held the market on conferencing groups composed or more than 2-3 people. To address that need, WhatsApp is in the works to extend the number of group participants to 8 individuals (free as always).
WhatsApp Security Changes/Updates/Concerns
Many people have flocked to WhatsApp to be able to talk with friends and family around the world without additional costs, especially given that some mobile plans in various countries around the world do not offer any sort of unlimited messaging plan (still charge per message, and charge more for messages sent out of the country).
To address security concerns, WhatsApp offers end-to-end encryption, meaning that only the devices which send and receive the messages can access and understand the data. Hackers who intercept encrypted data are unable to read, decipher, or understand the information they have obtained. In fact, not even WhatsApp can decipher the data or turn it into something legible, even if law enforcement or the government demands it with a subpoena.
However, the thing that WhatsApp encryption does not secure or protect is the data on your phone. If your phone is compromised, whatever content on the phone that has not been deleted is still accessible, regardless of whether the messages are encrypted. (A good reason to have the auto-delete feature).
If you have concerns about people accessing your WhatsApp messages, make sure to take advantage of whatever security features your phone offers. A password to enter the phone, for example, with the feature to reset the phone to factory settings if someone fails to enter the password a certain number of times. If your phone offers it, password protecting access to the app itself.
And watch carefully what you are uploading to your cloud storage.
One thing that can still be demanded from WhatsApp is the data about your messages, such as “sent” and “received” information (sender, recipient, date and time of message). While the sensitive details are not accessible, the simple fact that messages went back and forth on certain dates and times is probative.
People who not only want to protect the contents of the information but also the fact that the account was used to send or receive messages will not be satisfied with the current suite of tools and security options.
Is WhatsApp coming to iPad?
There’s been a lot of talk about WhatsApp coming as an app to iPad in 2020. So far, this news has been out there floating around in the ether for about a year, without the actual product.
Recent leaks suggest that the app is indeed in progress, but awaiting specific functionality for multi-device use. (Right now, you can use WhatsApp on Mac, but the messages go through your phone before they go to your iPad or other Mac device).
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