WhatsApp, the popular messaging app owned by Facebook, has been updated on Android and iOS with a major new feature: call waiting. The feature is common in traditional and mobile phone systems, but is rare for VoIP services as the kind offered by messaging software. The new feature lets you see and jump to a new call, but there is one big problem with the new capability.
Although not very popular in the US, WhatsApp remains the dominant form of messaging for many people around the world. In addition to supporting text-based chats, WhatsApp has a VoIP calling feature that allows users to call each other through the app. If you assumed that many of your contacts are communicating with you through the app, you will likely receive calls at times when you were already on a call.
As the latest WhatsApp update, users now have access to call waiting, a feature that shows them when they receive a call while already on a different call. The user shows the contact who is calling them and two options: reject the call or hang up the current call to respond to the new one.
This is a great feature for a VoIP app, but it’s a notable absence: you can’t put someone on hold. This means that you cannot, for example, ask the person you are calling to hold your minute as you enter the inbound phone and let the other person know that you will be calling them soon.
According to the grand scheme of things, that’s just a minor inconvenience, of course. In addition to the new waiting feature, the WhatsApp update update shows the addition of unlocked fingerprint for WhatsApp, new privacy settings linked to group chats and a bug fix for a problem that could cause rapid battery drain. The update is available from Google Play and the App Store now.