What's next for WhatsApp – new features we're expecting to see very soon

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WhatsApp's developers have been hard at work developing new features for the messaging app, and making adjustments to iron out its quirks – from dark mode to animated stickers – but what's coming up next?

The experts at WABetaInfo specialize in picking through the latest WhatsApp beta releases for signs of new tools and tweaks arriving in future updates. These are usually spotted well before they're available to use – even for beta testers. It might be a set of new icons, or code for a different menu tucked away in the installation files, ready to go, but currently unused.

It's possible that not all of these features will be rolled out in the release version of WhatsApp, and some may look quite different, but these 

Easier storage management

WhatsApp itself might not use up a lot of space, but when you have a lot of active chats going all the downloaded files can soon mount up. You could delete all the media that's been saved to your device, but there might well be some snaps and videos that you want to save in among the memes and other junk.

Thankfully, things look set to become much more manageable, with a new control panel specifically for managing how much space WhatsApp and its associated files take up on your device. 

This new dashboard will let you see at a glance how much storage is currently being used, and how much is free. It will also highlight any particularly large files so you can decide to keep or ditch them.

It will also be possible to see how much space is being used by each of your chats. We don't know yet whether it will be possible to delete the files downloaded during a particular chat, but it would make a lot of sense

Sticker search

A picture says a thousand words, especially when it's a dancing cartoon bear. WhatsApp stickers are a fun way to liven up your chats, but although you can choose to filter them by theme (happy, sad, angry, greetings and so on), it can sometimes be tricky to find one that sets exactly the right tone.

It looks like that will soon change with the addition of a search tool specifically for stickers. It sounds like it should be pretty straightforward to implement, but we suspect it's actually pretty time-consuming because it will involve adding searchable keywords to every single sticker currently available to download.

It will be extremely handy when it arrives, but we wouldn't be surprised if it takes a few months before we can search for exactly the right grinning cat sticker.

Easier camera access

This is a a feature that should appeal to anyone who's ever rushed to capture a moment and share it on WhatsApp, but fumbled finding the camera button. 

When WhatsApp's parent company Facebook launched Messenger Rooms (which allows up to 50 people to take part in an ad-hoc video chat), it replaced one of WhatsApp's camera icons with a shortcut to the new service. While there's still a button to access your phone's camera beside the text entry box, it's no longer possible to open the camera quickly if you accidentally hit the button to attach a file from your phone.

Thankfully, it looks like WhatsApp is now backpedaling and reinstating the second camera shortcut, Sure, it means the sharing panel is larger and a little less tidy looking, but when you absolutely need to share a snap in the moment, it'll could be invaluable.

Color-coded chats

We've all done it – typed a message into WhatsApp and hit send, only to realize we've sent it to the wrong group. Depending on the content, it's then a case of either apologizing for the weird non-sequitur, or rushing to delete it before the check marks turn blue.

Now it seems like the devs are working on a new feature to spare your blushes, which will allow you to set a custom background for each conversation. Never again will you accidentally send a message intended for your partner to your colleagues or your parents.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of TechRadar's sister site Advnture. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better)