Custom notifications coming to WhatsApp for Windows Phone users with Update 3

One of the great new features for Windows Phone 8 Update 3 is actually for developers: adding custom tones to their app. While Windows Phone customers have had the ability to add custom notifications to their devices for a little while now, being able to assign them to different apps was a little trickier.

Late last night, WhatsApp beta version 368 began rolling out to testers in the private program. On board under the Settings is a new section called ‘notification tones’.

Diving deeper into 368, users are presented with two options:

  • Tone for individual chats
  • Tone for group chats

Users through the Windows Phone PC app can transfer their own notifications sounds to their phones. Once installed, they can select that tone through this menu system in WhatsApp, giving users the ability to have a dedicated alert message. The WhatsApp developers could also have their own tone as well, though as of the 368 build they do not have one available.

Having custom notification sounds is kind of a big deal, as it allows users to distinguish between incoming alerts on their phones. More specifically, if a user’s phone is out of sight, hearing the WhatsApp notification is a great way to know if the alert is a priority or not.

So far, only a handful of apps on Windows Phone have taken advantage of this new feature (Weather+ and 6tag are two examples). With Windows Phone 8.1, expected in late spring, a sophisticated notification center will also be available to help users better understand incoming alerts and notifications.

There’s no word on when this custom alert function will go out to the general public, though the team behind WhatsApp generally have a turnaround of only a few weeks for beta-features. Recently, we reported on a beta feature that allows users to control the downloading of media through WhatsApp.

Thanks, Madhan N (WPCentral forums) and anonymous, for the screenshots.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • Oh this is good to hear. I am glad whatsapp updates are coming faster than ever before
  • We want a new UI!!!!!!!!!
  • +1 at least add some color or a light theme or custom backgrounds or something
  • Yes! Posted via the WPC App for Android!
  • +1520
  • first u have to rectify some problems,that we have faced now... I didnt get notification from whatsapp, whenever i receiving message, please check.. I have checked settings...
  • I wish ms would just open it so that we can change the tone for ever app
  • It is open for everyone, thanx to MS! The app builders have to update their apps for custom sounds, not MS.
  • It is, any app can allow this now with GDR/Update 3
  • But i dont mean for apps. I wish i could got to my settings and pick a sound for my notification. Like it is for texting
  • and you dont want a cake and soda and 1000 dollars with your order, mr complainer?
    lol so funny people like you just know how to complain instead of wait for the damn feature and use it even if it only applies to Whatsapp and not global (which is the point of this feature, give apps different sounds the developer wants)
  • Im not complaining i can take what i can get.. But wouldnt it be smart to implement both of these features and give us an option. It so happens i like the sounds in 6tag. What happens if i dont like the sound what up makes me chose... Nothing wrong with options. Im just giving my opinion.
  • No, you're definitely just having a big moan and nothing is good enough for you
  • Apparently suggesting better features is moaning.. Let windows phone be the way it is then... Screw change thats for iheads
  • Lol don't listen to these apologists. Suggesting and requesting more feature is nothing to be ashamed at. I have wanted what you've been asking for since dell venue pro years ago. Hope they implement it but giving the devs the ability to have their own is golden and I hope more devs take advantage other than just the whatsup team and rudy
  • Thanks someone who understands
  • And yes.. Cake and soda will be nice along with 1000 bucks
  • 6tag and 6snap both have custom notifications.
  • Yea but rudy picks the sounds not me.
  • Yup, so true. I wish to choose my own.
  • And custom background in the conversations is coming also, isn't it?
  • Custom background is not a big deal foe me though.
  • Bing backgrounds in the conversations. It will look beautiful.
  • YESSS! +++++
  • Sorry I mean for me
  • Where did you know that from?
  • I'm also waiting for that .
  • @ Ricardo, it's safe to say if it's in Android/iOS versions, it's on the table to be ported over to Windows Phone. But *until* we see it in a beta, we won't report on speculation if it's coming or not.
  • Won't that go against metro ? I mean dark or light themes?
  • Line already has custom backgrounds, I believe. Having background images is not 'against Metro', which are guidelines for developers, not dogma ;)
  • yeah Line has nice background images, and it looks nice... not even Win8 version has that yet, or desktop version.
    but anyway, to me its stupid all that "against metro" crap thing... look at win8 start screen, you can have any image as a background and it looks fine. and it sounds like people want to limit designers/developers work with that excuse of "metro whatever", and then they complain how "boring and plain" WP8 apps look compared to android and iOS
  • The Microsoft design language (aka Metro) does NOT require the developers to create "boring and plain" apps. Much in the contrary. If you look at early Windows Phone apps such as IMDB you will see that we were already using image backgrounds. This is done in many WinPhone apps and is very much in line with the design guidelines (see also my comment below)
  • Actually "metro" is inspired from design movements such as the magnificent work of Saul Bass who often places pictures (well video, but you get my drift) behind text such as in the opening credit of North by Northwest. So having a custom background is very much in line with the spirit of the Microsoft design language. Just take care to make the background dark (or light, in the light theme) enough so that the text remains well readable. We usually do that by applying some transparency to the background image. Cheers
  • Password protection would be a good suggestion.since u r in the private beta.
  • That's excellent news. Good to see the WhatsApp team working hard to bring in new features and bux fixes from time to time.
  • This is really nice feature. Makes an already great messenger better for use.
  • Can't wait for the next WP update, it will finally be at feature parity for core functionality as other phones. Now I just want a 5" device with 3 rows.
  • Yeah I agree with you on getting a 5" or above device. Its awesome to use and I currently use a 1520
  • I want it so badly! Then i don't hv to scroll too long down there. Haha
  • Wow this is one great feature. There should also be an option to change notification tones in windows phone.
  • This^^
  • There is with GDR3 and you would need that before it works on whatsapp after the update. Come now please read before dumb comments
  • Can I change tone for all other notifications?
  • Email sms and for a contact if you have gdr3
  • Yup exactly. But option for changing tone for other notifications will be a handy option.
  • Perhaps you should practice better reading comprehension before jumping down someone's throat. He's asking if you can have custom noties for other apps. Not just what they've allowed in gdr3
  • Yes sir
  • I want notification sounds when the chat is already open too, im forever missing messages because it makes no sound if chat is open
  • It vibrates the hell outta my phone!
  • +920
  • Now that's the news I like to hear on a Tuesday afternoon!!!!
  • When the hell will they remove that annoying vibration that messes my battery up? AND get rid of audio API COMPLETELY? :'(
  • Seriously
  • Even the loading resuming thing. And while viewing previous msgs
  • Audio API is needed for 7.x devices, if I'm not mistaken.
  • That is true, but there has to be a way to stop 7.x app at a point and then make 8.0 app a month later even if that means halting these tiny additions they make. How could any of these features be important to anyone more than their phone battery life!?
  • Audio API is removed from WP8 version of whatsapp, only 7.x version uses Audio API.
  • Yip
  • +1 they gotta cut the audio API completely, that as a priority should easily trump custom sounds or wallpapers or UI redesign
  • Pretty sure moaning incessantly about stuff you wish you had that's unrelated takes place in the forums
  • ....says who?
  • how is this unrelated?  or you're going to post this on every comment here that is suggesting features?    
  • Just chat background n music file transfer is required.
  • I definitely agree with the file transfer feature. Today morning I wanted to send a .pdf document across to a friend only realizing that its not supported by Whatsapp. Hope they take into account tansfer of documents.
  • Absolutely needed.
  • And the ability to remove the time stamp.
  • +1, how hard can it be right?
  • واو
  • We need wallpapers and password protection next
  • +820
  • Sooo agree!
  • Is password protection available for iOS and Android?
  • yes it is available on android..There are couple of whatsapp lock apps.Dont know about IOS
  • Whatsapp lock apps is NOT same as having it as whatsapp feature. Android APIs are used make a third party app to lock a third-party IM app. Cant get any more ridiculous.
  • Great stuff from WA. 
  • I need Lumia black for my 720
  • Does this version fixes that thing about not having access to the Skydrive/OneDrive photo albums? At least for me that's more important than any new feature.
  • I agree. I still don't know why they removed it
  • Hellll yeaahh finally!!!
  • This looks like it can choose from all the pre loaded tones 'Alert 5' but i could be wrong. If so, why hasn't 6tag/snap got that privilege?
  • Nice, my 920 is always on vibrate though
  • Lol, mine is always NOT on vibrate ^_^
  • Niice, finally no more identical tones for group chats and individual chats. By the way you can also add custom tones via drag and drop into the ringtone folder if you have your phone plugged in via usb cable (not sure about bluetooth :P). I personally find it soo much quicker and easier. Then again I'm still using windows 7, looking back - i had been using desktop mode for like 95% of the time when i had win8 installed via vmware.... Lol.
  • I have a Lumia 900 and it has Windows 7 in it. The problem is that it is not allowing me to change the tones for my WhatsApp message because there IS no setting to change those tones.   Is there any way to bypass that problem?
  • That's so cool! Hopefully we get the ability to save files,get backgrounds and get a WhatsApp lock. I know im asking for too much :P But hope this happens. Way to go WhatsApp. :D
  • U are not asking for too much,these are already available in android and ios
  • this is +1 of my most requested feature ever for WhatsApp!!
  • Password protection needed!!
  • WhatsApp lock is required...there is no privacy in dis windows privacy in any app..
  • Developers have to implement it. They can add a Lock feature.
    Its nothing to do with WP at all.
  • Great, but I think now is time to rearrange this Settings Menu.
  • Nice one! I always wanted to change that 'windows phone default notification sound' but no way it could be done now. Well, at least this is closer to what i wish! Can't wait!
  • God job WhatsApp team. Now this for Skype? Summer 2015?
  • Yessss! I have been fussing about this since the star. I can't wait for this to be rolled out. Well done team!
  • Another app that taking advantage of GDR3 custom notification tone: My Talking Tomcat. *buuzzz buzz buzz* meow
  • No no, it is the cat.  
  • Good. This is going to be very useful.
  • my talking tom, don't forget my talking tom the notification says " miau"
  • Finally!!!! One of my biggest gripes is about to be resolved :)  Good work and keep it up!  
  • That's on GDR3 only right? I dont have it. Don't want dev. 'version')
  • Awesome. Has the image aspect ratio problem been sorted out, ie the bug that makes pictures taken with the app look stretched?
  • How to get WhatsApp BETA? :)
  • How to??????????????
  • Yes! :D
  • M glad to see these features.but can WhatsApp first work to give us a more responsive app?? Opening lag is horrifying.get that done with please.please :-\
  • They need a way to make it speak messages the same way the message app does over bluetooth. I dont care too much about replying, but it's nice to be able to hear what's incoming while I am driving    
  • Off topic but....the windows phone central app on android is amazing:D Posted via the WPC App for Android!
  • I don't care about that!
  • I'd really like a way to turn off notifications during certain times. Some friends have the habit of replying to messages at 1am or sometimes the notifications are delayed. It's awful being woken up just to see it was a "lol" or something completely unimportant. I've started turning off all data at night just so they don't come through, but I don't have to silence my phone & miss out on important notifications
  • and that's the reason why neither Facebook chat or Hangouts will be ever the winners. whatsapp support all platforms with full support not just an app that they forgot! 
  • I'm going to use the iPhone notification sounds (if available) xp
  • Who cares about the tone... I want to send videos from my library, something thats long available on other os and on wp people get horny with tones. Everytime i want to send an hd video, i first have to convert it on my android or pc.
  • I do. Because the default tone is freaking soft! I need to push the volume up to 24/30 in order to hear it.
  • Well. I don't care, my phone is always silenced
  • anyone can tell me about whatsapp beta qr code?? thanks..
  • I use no sound at all in whatsapp, so for me it doesn't change anything. But I would love that whatsapp compresses videos before sending it, as it does in Android and iOS. Usually I can't send a video that I made because it has more than 19mb.
  • i hope they have re-included the 'text size' adjustment rather than simply directing users to the system settings. text size is fine elsewhere in the phone but i need adjustability in whatsapp itself
  • Transfer Audio files, Chat background, hide last seen.
    All of this is needed.
    If this comes.
    WhatsApp is complete for me.
  • Finally, i was kind of tired with the "regular" sound i want Kelly Chamber(ME2) to tell me when i get a new message
  • This is awesome, if custom background is also added then its a perfect
  • I alredy cahnged my notification sound .. In every app.. For those who have custom rom can change from wproottools controlpanel/
  • Ugh, this is really frustrating.  Just give me a way to drop the toast notifications and keep the live tile.  That would make me so so so so happy.
  • I want to see online /last seen notification on pinned contact. I have one contact pinned (big tile) on start screen that I chat with every single day, and would love it to show online /last seen thing on that tile. Whatsapp team please make me happy))
  • Cool! We are really getting there now....
  • Nice. The stock one is annoying Posted via the WPC App for Android!
  • Complete overall of the UI! Bring some customization to what's app including background and other unique stuff that make the windows phone version better then android and IOS
  • Having different notification sound for individual & group message is the biggest thing I miss from Symbian days. Just waiting for this update 
  • Still wish there was a proper messaging hub API that everything hooked into, and you link contacts from WeChat, WhatsApp, BBM, Line, Gchat, etc etc in contacts hub and it maintained a history of all interactions, then you just pick interaction method the way you do with SMS/Facebook, and the app developers just have API hooks (e.g. Snapchat would delete a video after viewing).
  • Wow, finally. Took the Whatsapp devs some time since the GDR3 release. I gave up on waiting and used WPH tweaks to change the tone of the "notificationtoast" to something else on my Ativ S. Nice to see the hacking community at XDA-Devs works faster dan app developers. Apparantly, Whatsapp used the "NotificationToast" sound this for their app aswell. Probably stopped using the "notificationtoasts" default now, and created two seperate sound entries in Windows Phone using the new API. 
  • Awesome! I have waited for this to happen ever since GDR3+Lumia Black arrived. Now for WeChat and Line to jump on the custom ringtone bandwagon...
  • Viber uses background pictures and it looks good. Looking forward to the update.
  • I agree that having password/pin feature to lock the app is a must.
  • Fix the problems with pictures in subfolders too please......
  • How can i attach audio it possible with lumia 720..kindly Help me
  • When they r releasing these updates for official app.
  • I can't wait for this. Last updated on 10 Jan? We need this update!
  • Facebook could turn 'WhatsApp' into their well known Blue colored theme. I have found this on google play store.
  • i was formate my mobile lumia 720  after  when i try to make install whatupp  can not . now my feel bad . i dont know how to fix problem since i find in store but can not found pls i need fix this problem