Following the controversy that surrounded WhatsApp’s latest privacy update, the Facebook-owned messaging application has decided to introduce a new feature to its platform in a bid to persuade users not to switch to a new messaging service.
WhatsApp has announced that users who make use of the desktop version of the application will now be able to make private and secure voice and video calls with their contacts.
The new feature is available in both portrait and landscape mode, but it is currently limited to just one-on-one calls. For those still worried about the safety of their personal data, WhatsApp has confirmed that voice and video calls on the mobile and desktop versions of the application are end-to-end encrypted, so the company can’t hear or see them, whether you call from your phone or your computer.
Desktop calling is supported on:
- Windows 10 64-bit version 1903 and newer
- macOS 10.13 and newer
To make or receive calls on WhatsApp Desktop, you’ll need:
- An audio output device and microphone for voice and video calls.
- A camera for video calls.
- An active internet connection on your computer and phone. The call won’t go through your phone, but it needs to be online to establish the call.
- To grant WhatsApp permission to access your computer’s microphone and camera. WhatsApp needs access to your computer’s microphone for calls and camera for video calls
WhatsApp is currently testing the feature with just one-to-one calls on the desktop app to ensure that users get a reliable and high-quality experience. The company will be expanding this feature to include group voice and video calls in the future, although an exact date as to when that will happen has yet to be announced.
The decision to add voice and video calls to its desktop app comes as more and more people are relying on virtual calls to keep in contact with their close friends and family. According to WhatsApp, the platform received an astonishing 1.4 billion voice and video calls last New Year’s Eve. As you would expect, this figure was so high because people were unable to see their loved ones in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With so many people still apart from their loved ones, and adjusting to new ways of working, we want conversations on WhatsApp to feel as close to in-person as possible, regardless of where you are in the world or the tech you’re using,” WhatsApp explained in a blog post.