WhatsApp for Android gets a notable treat in the latest beta, finally adding GIF support and increasing the limit for media sharing.
Although it's been leading the charge for years in terms of third-party messaging apps, WhatsApp still has some long-overdue improvements and it's now trying to catch up. When it comes to GIFs, for instance, WhatsApp has had a frustratingly slow and gradual adoption.
At first, WhatsApp started by allowing users to convert camera roll files into GIFs. One step further, it started allowing users to share GIFs they had stored on their devices. The web client eventually added support for GIF search and insertion, and the latest Android beta finally brings the full GIF experience to Android smartphones.
WhatsApp Android Beta Brings GIF Search Keyboard
The new WhatsApp 2.17.16 Android beta goes full-on GIF, bringing a dedicated GIF button for easy search and insertion of adequate GIF files. This GIF button will surface at the bottom of the screen after users tap the emoji button in the compose field.
Tapping the dedicated GIF button now opens a slew of available GIFs right within the message window, without requiring a separate app or having GIFs stored locally. WhatsApp's new GIF feature is powered by both Giphy and Tenor. Some users will see Tenor GIFs, while others will get Giphy.
Users can either browse through popular GIFs and select one to insert in the conversation, or use a keyword to search for an appropriate GIF to express what they want to communicate. Searching for a GIF is quick and easy, right within the app. Once users have found the perfect GIF to send, they can also add a caption to go along with it.
WhatsApp Android Beta Raises Shared Media Limit
In addition to full GIF support, the latest WhatsApp beta for Android also increases the limit for shared media, allowing users to share more files at once. Up until now, WhatsApp allowed users to share a maximum of 10 files – be they photos or videos – in one go. This means that users had to pick 10 items, send, browse through the gallery again, pick the next 10, send the second batch, and so on.
With the new beta, the media sharing limit is now set at 30, so users can share three times as many items in one go. This lowers the risk of sending duplicates or forgetting to add some images thinking they were already added.
New WhatsApp Features Availability
For now, the full GIF support and the increased media sharing limit are available only for WhatsApp Android users who are in the beta program. The beta update is also available via APK mirror for those who want to download and install it. Beta versions, however, may have some bugs or glitches that could affect the experience, so keep that in mind.
That said, if all goes well with the beta and everything works as it should, we could soon see the new features exit the beta stage and reach the final, stable version of the app with the next update. If you've already gone the beta route, drop by our comments section below and tell us how the latest WhatsApp for Android beta fares.