WhatsApp has been pushing their messaging platform a lot with endless updates lately. Not long ago, it gained document support, desktop applications and additionally, video calling was also recently spotted in a beta release. Today, however, a bunch of iOS users have been getting native GIF support through the v2.16.7.1 beta update.

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Apart from the usual bug fixes and performance enhancements, GIF links will now play automatically in a chat window instead of redirecting to the browser. Sadly, you can’t directly upload files just yet but it might arrive in future. Moreover, these files can be saved to your phone’s local storage as a GIF or interestingly, as a regular image. Encryption along with the support for iPhone’s Peek and Pop 3D Touch feature is present too. It is although, unclear right now when this new addition will arrive for Android Beta users and for the general user. Unfortunately, as of now, there’s no sign of a full-fledged GIF database with search functionality which could ease the task but we’re sure it’s not far away now.

GIF usage has seen a sudden rise in the past couple of months with almost every major platform inhibiting native support for it. Facebook’s own Messenger is handling GIFs for quite some time now. Another feature that was leaked a few weeks back was video calling ability which is the core ingredient nowadays for messaging applications. This makes it evident that Facebook is constantly improving its services to compete with the ever-growing market by analysing and embedding the much-demanded features.

We do hope they focus on quality here as the voice calling ability WhatsApp comes with is still rough and unstable unless the connection is powerful enough. Nonetheless, it’s a good thing the app is getting updated regularly despite Facebook’s own Messenger. Given the beta status, it definitely won’t take much for this to arrive on your phone.


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Shubham is based out of Ahmedabad, India and is studying to be a Computer Engineer, while specializing in mobile applications. He loves covering what's new in the smartphone space and aims to make it his primary profession some day.