WhatsApp: ‘Unsend’ message feature and new shortcuts arrive in beta

If feedback from the tests proves positive, it will introduce the extra functionality to all users in future updates

Aatif Sulleyman
Friday 14 April 2017 13:12 BST
The 'Unsend' option is believed to have been in the works for some time
The 'Unsend' option is believed to have been in the works for some time

WhatsApp is testing two major new features that could soon make their way to all users.

The messaging app has long been rumoured to be working on an “unsend” option for messages, which would allow users to delete messages they’ve already sent.

The company is testing the feature in a new beta release of WhatsApp Web, reports @WABetaInfo, which says it offers users a five-minute window to revoke sent messages.

Once those five minutes are up, the message is there to stay.

A new beta version of WhatsApp for Android, meanwhile, introduces new shortcuts for formatting text.

Currently, users have to remember a range of commands to format their messages.

To make text bold, they have to place it between two asterisks, like *this*. To italicise it, users need to sandwich it between two underscores, like _this_, and to strikethrough a message, they need to use tildes, like ~this~.

Instead of making users learn and type those commands, the test version of the app displays the full range of formatting options when a user selects an excerpt of text with a tap and hold.

If feedback from the tests proves positive, WhatsApp will roll the features out to all users in future updates.

The app came under heavy fire from Home Secretary Amber Rudd in the wake of the Westminster attacks last month, but unfairly so in most people’s eyes.

She attacked its use of end-to-end encryption, which protects the privacy of its millions of users, keeping them safe from cybercriminals. Encryption is also used by banks and government websites.

However, WhatsApp could soon start sharing users’ data with parent company Facebook again, with an agreement expected to be reached this summer.

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