WhatsApp has updated its group calling feature with the ability to mute and message individual people. Earlier this year, WhatsApp rolled out a redesigned calling screen that arranges the names of the participants on the entire screen during group calls or the profile picture of the user during one-on-one calls. Since then, the platform hasn’t launched any features that really take advantage of the new interface.
The Meta-owned messaging app also recently released a new privacy setting called ‘My Contacts Except’ that allows users to hide their profile picture, last seen, and status updates from specific contacts. Once set up and in use, it can be a good way to increase control over who can and cannot view a WhatsApp profile.
In June, WhatsApp announced that it is adding new features to group calls including the ability to mute and message specific users. In the past, the ability for admins or users to control audio from other participants and/or send them private messages were primarily resigned to video collaboration platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams. With the latest change, however, WhatsApp users are now gaining similar capabilities making it possible to mute a call participant in a noisy environment or send messages to other participants without having to exit the group call interface.
Muting & Messaging WhatsApp Group Call Users
Will Cathcart, the head of WhatsApp at Meta shared a screenshot of the feature in action. The image shows the new WhatsApp group call interface including the names of participants in separate cards on the screen. During the call, an admin can tap and hold on a user’s name and select ‘Mute [name of participant].’ This mutes the selected user and provides a notification of the change. To unmute, the muted user must tap on the crossed-microphone icon at the bottom of the group calling interface. It’s worth noting that everyone in the group can mute others, as it is not limited to just the person who initiated the call. If a user want to send a message to someone during a group call, they can do so by tapping and holding their name and selecting the ‘Message [name of participant]’ option instead of the mute option.
For reference, there was also another change with the update. Now, if the entire screen is occupied with the names of participants and someone else joins the call, WhatsApp will provide a notification to account for the lack of an on-screen profile icon. These three features should not only help users to better manage WhatsApp group calls, but also encourage more use of the platform for professional purposes.