Users will soon be able to use WhatsApp for more than just sending messages and pictures.
WhatsApp may have started as an online messaging system to rival SMS, but it’s evolved into much more than that.
The Facebook-owned chat app has introduced key features like voice and video calls as and the ability to pin certain chats to the top of your list.
Now it’s becoming an even more fully-featured communication tool by allowing users to send any kind of file they want to each other.
Whether it’s a PDF, Word document, spreadsheet or an APK file, WhatsApp’s 1.2 billion users will soon be able to send them across to each other or share them in a group.
Unfortunately, there are a few restrictions: Android users will be limited to files up to 128MB in size while iOS users will only be able to share files under 100MB. Desktop users who prefer WhatsApp’s web app are only afforded 64MB.
Although WhatsApp appears to be testing this feature out at the moment, there’s no telling when it could roll out to users.
Some commentators have expressed concerns about the new feature. The team at Digital Trends have pointed out that sharing files extensively could open the door to malicious files infecting phones.
What’s more, because of the option to share APK (Android Package Kit) files there’s the potential for users to pirate popular apps and share them.
“Still, despite the concerns the pros far outweigh the cons, and it helps position WhatsApp to start becoming more a platform than just a messaging service, like Facebook Messenger has done,” Digital Trends commented .
Until WhatsApp adds the feature itself, there are unofficial ways to send files using the messaging platform. Third-party app SendAnyFile claims to be able to send files over WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger – as long as you’re using an Android device.
Meanwhile, WhatsApp took a step into Instagram territory by changing how pictures are shared inside the app.
Version 2.17.30 of the iOS version of the app includes a new album feature, so when you receive multiple photos from the same sender in a row, they’ll be grouped together as an album.
WhatsApp also introduced a selection of filters, so you can adjust the colour and tone of your photos, videos and GIFs without leaving the app.
There’s currently a choice of five filters – Pop, B&W, Cool, Chrome and Film – and they can be accessed by swiping up on the photo you have chosen to share.
Evolving WhatsApp beyond simple messages is an important task for Facebook to keep adding to the 1.2 billion people that already use the app.