New WhatsApp beta points to better search, password-protected backups and new rules to save your data

Whatsapp welcome screen
Whatsapp welcome screen (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • The latest beta for WhatsApp contains work-in-progress code for a number of exciting new features.
  • It includes the UI for what Advanced Search and password protection for backups will look like.
  • There are also indications that the company is working on new rules that prevent frequently forwarded messages from being downloaded to your phone automatically.

WhatsApp is working on quite a few features right now. Having pushed out Dark Mode for the Android app already, the latest beta shows that the company is now working on improved search capabilities, password protection for chat backups, and new rules about auto-downloading messages to minimize your data usage.

The folks at WABetaInfo were able to use version 2.20.117 of the WhatsApp Beta app to show off some of the features under development. First off is the UI for Advanced Search on Android, a feature that lets you search your past messages by file types, such as images, audio, links, GIFs, videos, and documents.

While the feature isn't currently working, the images show that you'll be able to specify the type of content you're looking for in the search bar, and also input additional text (for example, the name of a document) to narrow down your search further.

Whatsapp Advanced Search

Source: WABetaInfo (Image credit: Source: WABetaInfo)

Similarly, tinkering with the app's code allowed the publication to also discover the UI for enabling password protection for chat backups on Google Drive, indicating that the feature is under active development. The UI, at the moment at least, consists of a simple prompt to enter a case-sensitive password that is at least eight characters long.

Lastly, it seems the company is working on reducing your data usage due to the myriad WhatsApp messages you are almost certainly going to be bombarded by in your family groups. Frequently forwarded messages, videos, and images can now be prevented from being downloaded automatically, a new rule that WABetaInfo says will be enabled by default when the feature is finally made available.

The company has also been working toward reducing the potential for spreading misinformation via forwarded messages in recent days, and this week implemented a new rule that allows a message to be forwarded to only one chat at a time. The measure is aimed at reducing misinformation about the COVID-19 outbreak, such as conspiracy theories purporting a link between the pandemic and 5G networks.

WhatsApp for Android: Everything you need to know

Muhammad Jarir Kanji