What you need to know
- WhatsApp is testing a new feature that reworks archived chats.
- It's renaming the feature to Read Later, and will let you mute conversations indefinitely.
- Currently, archived chats can still send notifications to your phone if one party sends a message.
WhatsApp is trialing a new feature known as Read Later (spotted via WABetainfo). It's an upgrade to the current archived chats feature and takes the concept a little further to match the execution on Facebook's other messaging apps. Currently, archived chats on WhatsApp Messenger work a little like email. They aren't deleted, and they're out of sight/out of mind until the other party involved chooses to message you again.
Read Later works the same way, but it will now automatically mute all notifications in an archived thread. In other words, the chats will be muted, and they'll no longer pop-up on your inbox. You'll be able to check the Read Later section to see if any updates have been made, but that would have to be a deliberate choice on your part. This is distinct from regular chat muting which already exists on the platform.
Read Later has been spotted on iOS betas first, but given that Facebook tends to hold back WhatsApp features till it can prepare a cross-platform launch, it's expected to launch on both platforms at the same time.
Facebook just recently added a vanishing message feature to WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger. Read Later may seem unrelated, but you've always been able to silence and ignore individual chats on Facebook's other apps similar to how Read Later works, and now WhatsApp is falling in line. Facebook may not be merging WhatsApp with Messenger just yet, but it's doing its bit to ensure feature parity in the meantime.