WhatsApp mobile updated with major new voice call feature

WhatsApp, the popular messaging app owned by Facebook, has been updated on Android and iOS with an important new feature: call waiting. The feature is common on traditional and mobile phone systems but is rare for VoIP services like the kind offered by messaging apps. The new feature makes it possible to view and jump to a new call, but there’s one big issue with the new capability.

Though it’s not terribly popular in the US, WhatsApp remains the dominate form of messaging for many people across the world. In addition to supporting text-based chats, WhatsApp has a VoIP voice calling feature that enables users to call each other through the app. Assuming many of your contacts communicate with you through the app, you’re likely to get calls at times when you’re already on a call.

As of the most recent WhatsApp update, users now have access to call waiting, a feature that shows them when they are receiving a call while already on a different call. The user is shown the contact who is calling them and two options: declining the call or hanging up the current call in order to answer the new one.

That’s an excellent feature for a VoIP app, but there is a noticeable absence: you can’t put someone on hold. That means you can’t, for example, ask the person you’re currently on a call with to hold on for a minute while you switch to the inbound call and let the other person know that you’ll call them back soon.

In the grand scheme of things, that’s only a minor annoyance, of course. In addition to the new call waiting feature, the WhatsApp update changelog shows the addition of fingerprint unlock for WhatsApp, new privacy settings related to group chats, and a bug fix for an issue that may cause rapid battery drain. The update is available from Google Play and the App Store now.