WhatsApp has added a host of new features to its voice message feature. On both Android and iOS, you will now be able to pause and resume voice messages, draft voice message recordings before sending them, and even play them outside of the chat. You will also be able to play messages at 1.5 or 2 times the regular speed. The updates are slated to arrive over the coming weeks to all users, WhatsApp announced.

Among all the new features, the ability to play voice messages while reading and replying to other chats will particularly make things easier. There are times when some voice messages are long and the moment you switch back to the chat screen to, say, reply to your mom’s message, the audio stops playing. To listen to the voice message again, you have to start from the beginning. WhatsApp is doing away with the hassle for good with the out of chat playback. But keep in mind that the moment you close WhatsApp or switch to a different app, the voice messages will stop playing.

WhatsApp has also improved the voice recording experience with two new features. First, you can now pause and resume recording whenever you want, just so you do not leave gaps of silence when you are thinking of what to say. This is useful for people with a language barrier, too. Suppose you have to reply to someone in English and you are not very fluent in it. With pause and resume, you can take your time to translate what you want to say from your language to English conveniently. WhatsApp began testing the feature on iPhone in January and later rolled it out to beta versions of the Android and desktop apps.

Second, if you make any mistake or include something you did not want to while speaking, WhatsApp will let you preview your recording before you can send it. If you do not feel you recorded the right message, you can junk it and record a new one.

The next update changes how voice messages look on WhatsApp. Instead of a dot travelling along a single line, voice messages will now appear in a waveform of the message. That will help you figure out what part of the voice message has sounds and what does not. WhatsApp will also remember where you left the playback progress, so when you return, it will let you resume playing back from where you left. You will not have to listen to the voice message from the beginning.

WhatsApp has also added playback speeds to voice messages. Instead of listening to voice recordings at just one, single 1X speed, you can now make the message play faster at 1.5X and 2X speeds. That could be useful for people who just want to skip the silence in a voice message, skim through it, or have friends who speak way too slowly. WhatsApp began testing playback speeds for audio recordings back in November last year.

The improvements to voice messages are necessary because, according to Will Cathcart – Head of WhatsApp, 7 billion voice messages are sent on WhatsApp daily. Cathcart said that is because “a voice message is quick, easy, personal, and expressive. It’s so much nicer to wish someone ‘goodnight’ or ‘happy birthday’ over voice instead of text.”


India today