Watch Together Anywhere: WhatsApp Adds Screen Sharing with Audio and Expands Video Calls to 32 Participants

What to know

  • WhatsApp calls can now include up to 32 participants.
  • Screen sharing on WhatsApp now allows audio sharing as well.
  • The speaker on video calls will be automatically highlighted and appear first on screen.
  • The three WhatsApp feature updates are available on all platforms.

WhatsApp is improving its video call feature with three important updates – a higher participant count, support for screen sharing with audio, and the ability to easily see who’s speaking among the participants. The Meta-owned company also recently received a new codec to improve the quality and reliability of calls. Here’s everything you need to know about the recent changes to WhatsApp video calling – and yes, they’re all available across platforms. 

WhatsApp adds 3 new features to video calls (across platforms)

WhatsApp’s video calling feature puts it in direct competition with other video conferencing apps like Zoom and Google Meet. And true to its ambitions, WhatsApp updates are geared toward larger virtual meetings and improving the video calling experience across platforms.

Up to 32 people can join a video call

WhatsApp now allows up to 32 people to join in on a single call. Previously, this was possible only on mobile devices, while Windows and macOS users could include up to 16 and 8 people to a call, respectively. The limit is now expanded to users across all platforms so regardless of where you’re starting the call from, you can now have significantly more people on a single call.  

Screen sharing with audio

The screen sharing feature on WhatsApp, which was only released last August, now gains the ability to share audio as well. This can come in handy in several scenarios, say, while watching videos with others, helping your parents troubleshoot issues on their device, or sharing content that isn’t always easy to share. 

Speaker spotlight

A higher participant count on a single call comes with its own set of challenges. Fortunately, the speaker spotlight feature will make it easier to identify who is it that’s speaking among the crowd. The speaker will also appear first on screen so it’s easier to see them. 

In its blog, WhatsApp also highlighted the recently launched the Meta Low Bitrate (MLow) codec that improves the quality and reliability of calls. Calls made on mobile devices now have better noise and echo cancellation, making it easier to call in noisy environments. Even if you have bad network connectivity, you’ll find the audio crisper and the video resolution better.   

With the new updates, WhatsApp is now firmly placed as an alternative to other bigger names of video conferencing. 

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