WhatsApp is taking a more proactive approach to spam filtering, as it may soon begin automatically muting calls from unknown numbers.
The feature is aptly named Silence Unknown Callers, according to WABetaInfo (opens in new tab), allowing users to choose whether or not to receive calls from people outside their contacts. It finds its home in the settings menu where it can be turned on or off at any time. Once activated, WhatsApp will no longer alert users to calls from random numbers, but the caller ID can still be found in both the call list and notification center if you really want to know who it was.
As WABetaInfo points out, Silence Unknown Callers can also be at fault WhatsApp’s Community feature. The problem is that anyone in a group can get other people’s numbers quite easily by contacting the community creator or an admin and then spamming everyone. On the other hand, the full list of participants in a community and their numbers are visible to the creator so that even they can benefit from the situation. Reporting and blocking certainly works, but nothing stands in the way of the first wave of spam; at least for now.
You can try out Silence Unknown Callers for yourself by downloading the latest WhatsApp beta for Android, which you can do by joining the Google Play Store beta program (opens in new tab). It is currently unknown if the feature will make its way to iOS, nor do we know the official launch date.
In the making
In addition to Silence Unknown Callers, WhatsApp is currently testing (opens in new tab) a variety of other new features for Android. The big one is a new split view on tablets that allows the chat list to appear when opening a chat, status tabs, or placing a call. It is similar to the browser version of WhatsApp. In addition, the beta allows users to try out the redesigned Status tab that is now supported Newslettersthe platform’s other big upcoming feature.
There are a few changes for WhatsApp for iPhones, but they are much less impactful. Arguably the biggest change in the iOS beta is the redesigned chat attachments menu already present in the Android app. And a new one sticker making tool (opens in new tab) that turns images into stickers. Not much for iOS owners right now, but at least you recently got an exclusive picture-in-picture mode for video calls.
Be sure to check out BingoTingo’s recently updated list of the best antivirus apps for Android if you want to learn how to improve security.