From Redesigns to New Possibilities: WhatsApp’s Journey in 2023

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365 days is a long time, and even more so after WhatsApp’s development team increased the pace of new releases. WhatsApp is still WhatsApp, but a year later, the application is quite different, with many more options and possibilities.

Several of WhatsApp’s most anticipated new features arrived this year, including message editing or multi-account support. We look back at the year of WhatsApp and take a look at what 2024 will bring us on the popular messaging app.

Whatsapp: What 2023 Brought Us

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WhatsApp changed a lot during the year, to such an extent that it’s almost unrecognizable compared to how it started. The changes came on several fronts, from a new design to new options for communicating and improvements to those that already existed. Here are the top WhatsApp changes of the year.

Design Changes:

2023 brought us one of the biggest WhatsApp redesigns in history, featuring a nuclear white style akin to the one found on the iPhone. The button panel is now positioned down instead of using tabs. Additionally, the app’s settings underwent a radical transformation, seamlessly integrating with the user’s profile. This last part of the redesign is still expanding among all users.

  • New Design on Android: The design on Android underwent a significant transformation, resembling that of the iPhone. WhatsApp abandoned the green top bar, adopting a layout that is whiter in light mode and darker in dark mode.
  • Reorganization of Settings: The settings also underwent a radical change by integrating with the user profile and introducing some modifications to the submenus. Notably, the contacts screen, absent for years, made a comeback.
  • New Design for the Camera: WhatsApp kicked off the year with a revamped interface for the app‘s built-in camera. This redesign included a tab for toggling between photo and video modes and the added capability to record short videos by holding down the shutter button.


New Features:

If last year’s most significant change for WhatsApp was communities, 2023 has been the year of channels. They arrived like a whirlwind, taking away part of the importance of the states, which had to share a tab with them.

  • Channels: One of the major new features of WhatsApp this year was the introduction of channels, formerly known as newsletters. Channels provide a means for a person or organization to unilaterally communicate with its audience. Throughout the year, WhatsApp channels received multiple improvements since their launch, with the most significant being the opening of the door for anyone to create one.
  • Send Messages to Yourself: If you can’t handle them, join in. After many years during which WhatsApp users employed various tricks to open a chat with themselves for saving notes or any other reason, WhatsApp decided to normalize the practice by adding it as a feature. When you start a new chat, you’ll see your own contact with the suffix (You).
  • Voice Chats: WhatsApp remained attentive to Telegram this year, borrowing several new features, including voice chats. Voice chats offer a new way to communicate in groups, keeping the call open for anyone who wants to join, whenever they want, as opposed to traditional calls that are more intrusive.

Multi-Account and Cross-Platform:

During the year, WhatsApp further distanced itself from the concept of a single account on a mobile device, expanding the multi-device mode globally to be compatible with several phones and surprising users with the introduction of the multi-account mode, enabling two WhatsApp numbers on the same phone.

  • WhatsApp on Up to Four Mobiles: WhatsApp’s new multi-device mode, which operates independently without requiring the main phone to be active, has been available for a couple of years. However, it wasn’t until 2023 that the restriction was lifted to allow connection to up to four phones for the same account. Until then, it was exclusively for connecting to other versions such as WhatsApp Web or WhatsApp Desktop.
  • WhatsApp for Wear OS: A surprise of the year was the launch of WhatsApp for Wear OS, seemingly appearing out of nowhere. With the official app and the new multi-device mode, carrying your phone is no longer necessary to contact your friends on WhatsApp.
  • Two Accounts on the Same Mobile: Equally surprising was WhatsApp’s decision to add native multi-account support, without the need for gimmicks or app clones. This new feature is still in the process of being rolled out to users. Although our tests showed that it worked exceptionally well.
  • Transfer Chats from Mobile to Mobile: WhatsApp streamlined the process of taking our chats with us when switching phones through direct transfer from mobile to mobile. This eliminates the need to go through Google Drive or iCloud, and it removes dependence on third-party applications for the transfer, making the process much simpler.
  • Play Voice Memos in Android Auto: A combination of a WhatsApp novelty and an Android Auto feature, the ability of Android Auto to play the audio notes received on WhatsApp is a welcomed innovation that many users appreciated. This enhancement adds convenience to the playback of voice memos while using Android Auto.

Among the new security and privacy features introduced by WhatsApp, users now have the ability to protect specific chats with fingerprints. Additionally, new methods for safeguarding accounts include passkeys and verifying email accounts.

  • Chat Blocking: While it was already possible to lock all of WhatsApp with a fingerprint, the introduction of Chat Lock allowed for a more nuanced approach. This feature enables the protection of individual chats with a fingerprint, known as Chat Lock. These secured chats are displayed in a separate section that can be completely hidden with a secret code. Without the code, the existence of these chats remains unknown.
  • Verification Codes: WhatsApp has reduced its reliance on SMS by introducing initiatives such as verification codes. When attempting to register a number on a new mobile device, the verification code is sent to the mobile where the WhatsApp account is active.
  • Block Spam Calls: To make it more challenging for unknown numbers not in your address book to bother you on WhatsApp, a new privacy option has been implemented. This feature automatically mutes calls from unknown numbers, making them visible but silent, providing a solution to unwanted spam calls.
  • Hide IP in Video Calls: WhatsApp adopted an optional privacy enhancement inspired by Signal. Allowing users to hide their IP during video calls. Enabling this setting ensures that even during a video call, WhatsApp won’t have access to your IP. However, this increased privacy comes at the cost of some data passing through WhatsApp’s servers sooner. Resulting in a potential loss of quality.Passkeys and Email: In a concerted effort to bolster account security and possibly as a prelude to introducing usernames, WhatsApp’s engineers dedicated a significant part of the year to fortify accounts against SIM swapping. Two new credentials were introduced for account access and login purposes: passkeys and email.

    Proxy Server Configuration: As a response to the need for increased privacy in various scenarios, WhatsApp introduced a new setting allowing users to connect to the platform through a proxy server. This option is particularly useful for bypassing censorship and similar situations. Providing users with an additional layer of control over their connection settings.

WhatsApp Communities

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Status Enhancements:

WhatsApp statuses, although overshadowed by the invasion of channels, received significant updates, including the introduction of voice statusesā€”a new type of post.

  • Voice Statuses: The most noteworthy addition to this year’s statuses was the introduction of voice statuses. The concept is straightforward: users can save a voicemail and share it as a status update.
  • Reactions to Statuses: Throughout the year, new ways to react to the statuses shared by friends were introduced. Users can now express reactions using a selection of emojis or stickers generated from their avatars.
  • Share Statuses on Facebook: In an effort by Meta to integrate WhatsApp with other messaging apps under its umbrella, the application now facilitates the sharing of statuses on Facebook. This feature aims to create a seamless connection between WhatsApp and other platforms within the Meta ecosystem.


Avatars made their debut in 2022. But it wasn’t until 2023 that they were fully rolled out to all WhatsApp users. Notably, the creation process was simplified, allowing users to use a selfie to generate their avatars.

  • Avatars for Everyone: Although avatars started to become active in the previous year, it wasn’t until 2023 that they reached all users, along with other new features.
  • Create Your Avatar with a Selfie: Initially, crafting an avatar was a somewhat intricate process that involved choosing each element precisely. Fortunately, the process was later streamlined with the introduction of creating avatars directly from a selfie, alleviating the need to start from scratch.
  • Animated Stickers of Your Avatar: Once you create an avatar on WhatsApp, you can utilize it as both a profile picture and as a sticker pack. This sticker pack received an upgrade during the year. Introducing animated stickers similar to those found in Facebook or Instagram avatars.

Improvements to Chats and Video Calls:

As a messaging app, the majority of WhatsApp’s changes in the past year were centered around chat and messaging. With notable enhancements including message editing and video notes.

  • Edit Messages: The ability to edit messages is a significant and long-awaited feature in WhatsApp’s history. Users now have approximately 15 minutes to correct a typo or revise a message.
  • Self-Destructing Voice Memos: Following the concept of disappearing photos and videos, WhatsApp introduced ephemeral voice notes. After listening to them, these voice notes vanish from the chat without leaving a trace.
  • Preserve Messages: Introducing a somewhat intricate feature, WhatsApp now allows users to preserve specific messages in a chat with disappearing messages enabled. This option prevents selected messages from automatically disappearing after a set period.
  • Video Notes: Adopting a feature from Telegram, WhatsApp introduced video notes. These are akin to voice memos but involve recording a short video presented in the shape of a circle.
  • Pin Messages: While entire conversations could already be pinned, WhatsApp added the ability to pin individual messages within a conversation. However, the pinned status is not permanent and expires after a certain amount of time.
  • Send HD Photos and Videos: WhatsApp now provides the option to send photos and videos in HD quality. Allowing for higher resolution and reduced compression compared to the traditional practice of sending media with significant compression.
  • Share Screen (and Audio) on Video Calls: Video calls on WhatsApp received a pleasant surprise with the introduction of screen sharing. Subsequently, an additional enhancement allowed the sharing of audio during video calls. Expanding the possibilities to activities such as watching movies together on a video call. Another new feature was the ability to schedule video calls for later.

What’s New in Groups:

While channels took the spotlight for much of the year, groups also received several new features. Including approval requests where admins must manually approve who can join a group.

  • Icons of People in Groups: WhatsApp for Android borrowed another design change from its iOS version regarding groups. Android users can now see the profile pictures of all participants in WhatsApp groups.
  • Admins Choose Who Gets In: A notable change in group management is the introduction of group join requests. Admins must now manually approve individuals before they can join a group, even if they have the invite link.
  • Automatic Naming for Groups: Group names underwent two developments this year. Firstly, for those too lazy to choose a name, the app now creates one automatically from the participants’ names. Secondly, the maximum size for a group’s description and theme has been increased.

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What’s Coming to WhatsApp in 2024:

After a feature-packed year in 2023, WhatsApp will maintain a high pace of introducing new features in 2024. With several highly anticipated additions and surprises on the horizon. Here are some of the most significant upcoming features:

  • Usernames: The introduction of usernames will be a major highlight in 2024. This feature will allow users to chat with strangers without the need to share their phone numbers. Given that the feature appears to be well-prepared, it is highly likely to be rolled out in the coming year.
  • Chat with AI Bots: Initially tested in the United States, the ability to chat with AI bots might be expanded to other regions and languages in 2024. This feature, similar to Messenger, allows users to engage with AI bots that have multiple personalities. Providing a chatting option even when none of the user’s contacts are online.
  • AI-Generated Stickers: Currently undergoing testing in specific regions, AI-generated stickers are another exciting feature expected to be introduced globally. This feature enables users to describe what they want, and WhatsApp will generate a sticker for the occasion. This innovation is likely to bring a new dynamic to sticker usage, potentially making traditional sticker packs somewhat obsolete.
  • Compatibility with Third-Party Apps: In response to regulatory requirements in Europe, Meta is obligated to make WhatsApp interoperable with third-party applications, referred to as an access gatekeeper. The deadline for this fundamental version of interoperability will launch on March 6. Potentially reshaping the way WhatsApp functions in the region.
  • 3D Avatar in Video Calls: Currently in testing, the 3D avatar feature will launch more widely. Users will have the ability to answer video calls using a 3D avatar, reacting by imitating their movements. An ideal option for those moments when you’ve just gotten out of bed.
  • More Text Formatting: WhatsApp will expand its text formatting options in the coming year. Specifically, users can expect new formats for creating lists, citations, and blocks of code, providing more versatility in expressing themselves through text.
  • Modernization of Text States (Info): WhatsApp is gearing up for a transformation of text statuses, now referred to as “Info” in the app. Taking inspiration from Instagram’s notes, these statuses are expected to have a time-limited existence, expiring after a certain duration, adding a dynamic and ephemeral element to the way users share text updates on the platform.


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