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WhatsApp beta bug messed up chat history, but it's fixed now

WhatsApp beta bug chat history
WhatsApp beta bug chat history (Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)

WhatsApp just rolled out two new features to its platform: multi-device beta that lets you stay logged in to four devices at once without requiring your phone, and View Once photos and videos that disappear after they've been opened once.

But with the update to WhatsApp beta 2.21.16.9, there is a peculiar bug that prevents you from seeing older chat messages. I noticed the bug over the weekend: in any given conversation, I can only view the last 25 messages, and then I get an infinite loading icon that doesn't do anything.

Having just switched over to a new device, I figured something went wrong with the import, so I deleted the app and did a fresh restore, but the problem persisted. Thankfully, it doesn't look like the chat history itself is affected; I was able to access older messages by using the search feature. But right now, there's no way to scroll up in a conversation to access messages older than a few days.

There are a few threads on Reddit with users facing the same issue, and all of them are also on WhatsApp beta. Some users noted that the bug was limited to their phones and that they were able to access older messages on WhatsApp Web, but that's not the case with me; even on the web client, I'm not able to view past the last 25 messages. I just updated to build 2.21.16.11, but the issue is still present.

So if you're a beta user and are facing this particular problem, know that it's a bug with the latest build and nothing to do with your Android phone — and reinstalling the service will not make a difference.

With build 2.21.16.17, WhatsApp has fixed this particular issue, and I'm now able to see older messages in chats. WhatsApp didn't say what was causing the bug, but if I had to guess, it would be something to do with the multi-device login.

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.