WhatsApp brings audio and video calls to its desktop app

WhatsApp brings audio and video calls to its desktop app

WhatsApp has announced it’s bringing end-to-end encrypted video and audio calls to its desktop app. The feature was previously spotted in a beta release back in December, but now WhatsApp has made it official. The update is rolling out today for WhatsApp Desktop on Mac and PC.

The feature will initially support one-to-one calls and will later be expanded to group calls. With people across the globe still confined to their homes due to the pandemic, WhatsApp said voice and video calls on desktop provide users with more ways to communicate.

“With so many people still apart from their loved ones, and adjusting to new ways to working, we want conversations on WhatsApp to feel as close to in-person as possible, regardless of where you are in the world or the tech you’re using,” WhatsApp said in a blog post.

Audio and video calls are end-to-end encrypted, so WhatsApp won’t be able to hear or see them. The update will give users the ability to change the screen orientation between portrait and landscape, as well as the option to turn video on or off and mute their microphone. It’s a similar experience to what’s available on mobile devices.

WhatsApp has introduced a lot of features over the past several months, including a feature that requires biometric authentication before users link a device. Before, users had to scan a QR code. While convenient, the feature left users vulnerable to potential privacy breaches.

Meanwhile, the company has been at the center of a controversy over its new terms of service and privacy policy. The updated policies were initially supposed to go into effect on February 8, but WhatsApp decided to delay the changes after user backlash. WhatsApp has allegedly lost a lot of users over the proposed changes, particularly over what information is shared with Facebook.

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Brandon Russell
Brandon Russell

Brandon's love of technology can be traced back to his childhood, when he would obsessively watch Back to the Future. Since then he's followed the industry and its many innovations, from handheld consoles to powerful smartphones. He's still waiting on a hoverboard.