WhatsApp copies Discord's voice chat feature for large groups

WhatsApp logo on a phone screen
(Image credit: Jay Bonggolto / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • WhatsApp is rolling out a new feature that allows users to start audio rooms within group chats, and users can choose to join the audio chat if they want.
  • This feature is designed to be less disruptive than traditional group audio calls, as it does not ring every member of the group.
  • The feature is being rolled out globally to large groups with 33 or more participants.

WhatsApp is introducing a new feature to improve audio calls within group chats, allowing users to initiate an audio room that other members can easily join.

The new Discord-like voice chat feature is way less annoying than the old group call that rang everyone. Instead of disturbing everyone in the group, the new feature sends a gentle notification and lets people join at their own pace by tapping an in-chat bubble, according to a support page.

The new process mirrors Meta's audio room functionality, seamlessly integrating it into WhatsApp group chats. Earlier this year, the service was spotted testing an audio chat feature that would allow group members to join in or leave whenever they choose, so the latest release isn't surprising.

Whatsapp group voice chat screen

(Image credit: WABetaInfo)

Once the voice chat kicks off, you can control things from the top of the chat without messing up your texting experience. This eliminates the need to bounce between talking and messaging; you can unmute, hang up, or shoot a message to the group without ditching the voice chat.

However, voice chats wrap up on their own when everyone bails. Plus, if no one hops in with the first or last person in the chat for 60 minutes, it calls it a day too.

WhatsApp's voice chats work pretty much like the ones you find on the leading messaging apps, such as Discord, Telegram, and Slack. They're all about bringing together big groups for a chat, but just using your voice instead of typing.

With the new audio update, group members have the flexibility to choose whether to participate in the audio discussion initiated by a group member, reducing the potential for disruption in larger chat groups.

The new voice chat feature is coming to iOS and Android devices in the coming days, as per WABetaInfo. It will be available to groups with 33 to 128 participants. However, this isn't available on your connected device. And just like your personal WhatsApp messages, voice chats are end-to-end encrypted by default.

Jay Bonggolto
News Writer & Reviewer

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.