The latest beta version of WhatsApp gives us an intriguing look into the future, with three new features to look forward to. So, what's in store? Advanced search, password-protected backups are the two key features on the way, plus automatic download rules.
For now, there's only evidence that these features are in the pipeline for Android users, while in iOS Advanced Search is already available in WhatsApp beta for iOS 184.108.40.206. For anyone who has a huge archive of messages, you'll know how hard it can be to track down files and links that have been sent to you. Thankfully, things are about to get a whole lot easier.
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As WABetaInfo reports, Advanced Search makes it incredibly simple to home in on different types of content. The feature lets you perform text-based search for photos, audio, links, GIFs, video and documents. It's not clear quite when this feature will make it way to everyone, but it is something that will be welcomed when it finally arrives.
Another new option unearthed in the latest beta version of the Android app are new automatic download rules. The feature is currently undergoing development, and when it is finished it will help to save you data. WABetaInfo explains that when enabled "frequently forwarded images, videos, documents and voice messages will be never automatically downloaded from WhatsApp". This option is going to be enabled by default when it rolls out.
Safe and sound
It is already possible to backup your WhatsApp messages to Google Drive, but in future you will be able to secure them with a password to prevent unauthorised access. Future verions of the chat app will given you the option of encrypting backups and protecting them with a password of at least eight characters.
The password you choose is not synchronized with either Facebook or WhatsApp, which is something of a double-edged sword. On one hand, this greatly reduces the risk of it being intercepted or hacked, but on the other, it means that if you forget your password, you lose access to your backup.
These features are not yet functional, but it will be users of the beta version of the app that will be given the chance to try it out first. If you're not yet signed up as a WhatsApp beta tester, you can do so here.
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Sofia is a tech journalist who's been writing about software, hardware and the web for nearly 25 years – but still looks as youthful as ever! After years writing for magazines, her life moved online and remains fueled by technology, music and nature.
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