WhatsApp finally gets a feature that lets it compete with Skype and Zoom

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It's not very long since we first heard rumours that WhatsApp was on the verge of upping its game to better compete with the likes of Zoom and Skype. Something these two big-name video conferencing tools have in their favour is the number of people they allow to take part in chats.

WhatsApp has long only offered support for up to four chat participants, but just last week we learned of hints in app code suggesting that this was about to be increased, at least in the iOS version of the app. Now the change is rolling out, and it's not just iPhone users that will be able to chat with more people.

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The change was spotted by WABetaInfo and it means that both iOS and Android users will no longer be limited with chatting with up to three other people. The latest beta version of the app sees the number of chat participants doubling from four to eight.

The increase helps to make WhatsApp far more versatile and useful, but it'is still not on a par with Skype and Zoom. Skype now allows up to 50 people to take part in a group chat, while Zoom supports up to 100.

The more the merrier

In order to take advantage of the increase in the number of participants, everyone taking part in a chat needs to be running at least version 2.20.133 of the Android app or on iOS. Providing this is the case, up to eight people can enjoy group audio and video calls together.

The feature is gradually rolling out, so it is possible that even if you have either of these versions installed you can't add more than 4 participants to a group chat. Starting a group chat is a simple matter of switching to Calls, tapping the call button and then tapping New group call before selecting who you would like to take part.

Sofia Elizabella Wyciślik-Wilson
Freelance writer

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.

Having written for websites and magazines since 2000, producing a wide range of reviews, guides, tutorials, brochures, newsletters and more, she continues to write for diverse audiences, from computing newbies to advanced users and business clients. Always willing to try something new, she loves sharing new discoveries with others.

Sofia lives and breathes Windows, Android, iOS, macOS and just about anything with a power button, but her particular areas of interest include security, tweaking and privacy. Her other loves include walking, music, her two Malamutes and, of course, her wife and daughter.

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