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Latest WhatsApp beta brings more backgrounds, refined fonts and fixed Broadcast

WhatsApp is in many ways the go-to messaging app for many these days. Even more so after its momentous purchase by Facebook, who released their own highly-acclaimed messaging app this week.  

We’ve been covering the beta recently, showing you what’s in store for the upcoming public release. Since our last coverage, there have been a few updates, including one just this morning bringing it to build 390.

No new features have been included in this update, though Broadcasts returns after being pulled in an earlier release. It now has a more detailed instructions screen. Here are some other changes:

  • More background chat images – previously there were 6, now there are 41 HQ images
  • Contact font reduced – In chats, the name of the contact you are conversing with is much smaller now, taking up less screen space and giving more room to the chat

That’s on top of the already completed Media AutodownloadCustom notification sounds, new Privacy settings, background image support, and a redesigned Settings page.

From that perspective, it looks like the WhatsApp team is tidying up things before the big public release. There’s no indication of when that will happen, but we can’t imagine it’s too far off as the last update was way back in January when build 356 was published. Having said that, there’s no sign of inbound VOIP abilities or the ability to attach pre-recorded MP3s from one’s music library.

What do you think of the new WhatsApp features that are coming? Will it solidify their ranking as a top messaging app for Windows Phone?

Note: WhatsApp beta is a private beta, so we are not sharing the link as it would not work for any non-listed members. There currently is no public way to sign up for the beta, so please don't ask.

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

162 Comments
  • Any body check tell me please it seems faster or not lol.
  • O snap. Wasn't fast enough.
  • It is faster. And seems more stable. My stocks also went up.
  • I hope the crashing problem in devices having 512MB RAM is fixed. Can u confirm?
  • It happens in 1GB RAM phones too
  • WOW, i tough this was just a problem in 512mb devices. This means Whatsapp crashes like a drunk driver on brand new Lumias like 1520 and Icon? Dang!
  • I hope Messenger gets fixed (with random can't connect) in 8.1, so I can ditch whatsapp once and for all. I don't like facebook in my messaging.
  • Yeah dude I have been saying that since a long time.Even if they dont add these new features but make the browsing of messages like the Andoid or Ios I am happy with that.Please Devs fix the crash prob first then upgrade the app.
  • Fixed
    not completely though :/
    crashes after background is changed
    but won't change ash when loading old messages :)
  • Three times a day and some times more :|
  • But will it blend?
  • that is the question :D \\ why isn't he posting any new videos
  • Have they removed that awful vibration at all? I am tired of emailing them! Can someone on beta email them? It is just two lines of code! Facebook messenger has a toggle switch!
  • Oh, toggle for vibration in incoming message? Yeah, not sure why more fine grained controls aren't part of it yet. Maybe they'll add that. I need to see what iOS/Android has.
  • Yeah, you know when you are in app and someone messages you? Drains the battery more than white background on AMOLED. I have written at least 18 emails by now and each time they say "developers will be notified of my valuable feedback."
  • Beta members are not supposed to ask for feature changes
    we are supposed to give feedback only for the features that are already present
  • But you could always tell them how a feature they have aka vibration in app is ruining user experience?
  • Yes
  • Yeah really, can you suggest them to allow backing up of chats online somewhere ? maybe onedrive... It would be really nice, there should be an option to suggest features in beta :-P
  • No
  • It's there, on which phone are you testing the beta?
  • Lumia 520
  • Dude, tell them to put a backup feature with onedrive
  • Danny, when will it be released for main public?
  • Seems faster.
  • Facebook bought it so you know what that means...
  • Say goodbye to your privacy lol
  • LOL, i spit water on my computer screen, THANK YOU VERY MUCH sir
  • What do I think.....I think release it already!!
  • Enough with this beta stuff already. What's the point in updating beta all the point keeping the rest of us standing with our tongues out?????
  • I was hesitant to even post this, tbh. But everyone likes to know what's coming and have a sneak peek. I mean, look at the engagement each time we post this. You guys like talking about it, so, here you are, lol.
  • It is nice , give me the link now! Just kidding
  • Come on, the beta has been adding features time and again. While the stable build still has a lot of issues to be fixed. Maybe they should fix those first instead of tinkering with beta?
  • Beta is for testing.... Until fixes are confirmed they wont release public app or people starts cramming over crashes
  • +1
    a lot of things have not been fixed yet
  • right dude..
  • True....keeping the users waiting is really bad!
  • I agree. I would prefer not to hear anything about these beta updates because it pisses me of more than not knowing.
  • +920
  • best app! ppl shift to oder apps but soons come back here only.. ppl felt wechat will fuck whatsapp.. n whatspp silently released d walkie talkie feature and killed wechat in seconds ! whatsapp rocks! waiting for update! n pre-recorded mp3 attachment had already come in d previous beta update na?
  • People migrated to Facebook messenger for stickers and in built Skype powered calls.
  • and they will come back on whatsapp once the VoIP feature of whatsapp goes live..
  • +390
  • Muahahahha !
    WP maybe will get it by the end of 2015
  • No
    mp3 sharing is still missing
    lets hope that we get it in the coming updates
  • omg, cant wait :D
  • When will itcome....
  • It s incredibile how a simple app like this takes so much time to improve..
  • Screenshots seem faster :P
  • What's the delay typically between a beta release and a public release?  When can we expect these features?
  • Still a lot of things are to be rectified
  • Luckily we get it for summer
  • Where can I download beta version or sing up testing?
  • Get yourself registered first
    send an e mail to contact support
  • ^Do that or American Idol
  • 50 developers to maintain this app ?? Call Rudy ;)
  • ^^ lol IIRC 50 is the total number of employees.
  • Too much indeed...They are not Skype, c mon is a simple chat, no voice, no PC version, no videoconference, simple basic features.
    Maybe ios/android developing is more complicated, but coding an app exactly identical with WP sdk and SignalR on Azure will take no more that some weeks with two or three devs (even less..).
  • Ask rudy to develop 3rd party what's app
  • WhatsApp doesn't have a public API so 3rd party aren't allowed at all.
  • True that.
  • cant we use own background images?
  • U can
  • Yes. Or use the built in search. See our previous coverage.
  • I want mp3 file attachment feature....
  • Those images look ugly. Facebook messenger looks a whole lot nicer
  • 41 HQ background images , and more , can't wait anymore for this update
  • +1
  • Add ability to attach pre-recorded mp3 and it will be awesome with all these new updates... :)
  • Wait, so Whatsapp is not implementing backgrounds a la Skinnery? I looks horrible this way. Oh noes!! /s
  • How can I get Whatsapp beta?
  • "Note: WhatsApp beta is a private beta, so we are not sharing the link as it would not work for any non-listed members. There currently is no public way to sign up for the beta, so please don't ask." Reading is good for you :)
  • Sorry, didn't see that :P
  • Seriously, they should call Rudy NOW
  • 6sapp
  • Yes, call rudy for him full of ad and charge for each function that you want to use the app, as it does in the 6tag, it pays to take the ad, it pays to send videos and bla bla bla
  • Whatsapp is dieing. Telegram is slowly taking over. Just take this as primary point why whatsapp is losing: messaging across devices with the same account.
  • Anything to back that up other than Telegram saw a spike in downloads when Whatsapp was down? And you sound really happy about that when there isn't even an official app on WP to begin with, just lots of 3rd party ones in pre-alpha.
  • Does it let us view previous chats? Current WhatsApp app crashes if I try to view older chats and media files. This needs to be fixed first and foremost .Also it needs to have some better chat backup options apart from emailing the history, because emailing has size restrictions , so it is not possible to backup the chat history beyond some size of chat history. This needs to be fixed urgently.
    These areas have been left untouched since first version of this app.
  • Yes
    its fixed
    you can view previous chats
  • Who says its fixed?
    I just now successfully finished crashing WhatsApp , trying to view previous chats . Either you have very short chat history or it might be working disparately on your phone.
  • I'm talking about the beta -_-
  • Oh man, are you sure? I need this fixed so much.
  • wow... you are asking something about the BETA (because this article is about beta, the next update for whatsapp) and someone responds you and you dont take the damn answer? I just wonder, why people like you ask something if you will be "who says its fixed" its obvious we are talking about BETA, the previous chat problem and many others will be fixed after beta, thats why its beta in first place, to test the fixes.... and darkloard12 "apparently" used it himself to provide an answer, but you act like you are the one who knows everything? I mean, why ask if you wont even try to take the answer you are asking?
    I feel bad for darkloard12 to waste his time with people like you...
  • Its alright ;)
    (i am using the beta myslef)
  • Yup. Its more stable now. Won't crash so fast. Although it has crashed sometimes, the number is reduced now.
  • +390
  • But why crash? migram beta (client telegram) and line never crash and please migram is a beta!! and line have more things (calls and more) and never crash, the developers of whatsapp are special o what? :/
  • Please stop giving alternative messenger apps, its not about you and me to switch , its about people who you want to talk with . Don't say that i must ask all my peers and contacts to switch to some other messenger just because WhatsApp doesn't fare good for me or Windows Phone.
    I don't know why others haven't experienced this crashing problem .
    Maybe no one cares about the chat history or they'll start digging the well when they feel thirsty.
    Just because people don't care , developers don't bother to fix it .
  • Well if its fixed in beta , then i am ready to take my words back .
  • Oh thank god they've finally considered that . I had been shouting for that since last two months. I am so happy :)
  • competitors are far better... in windows phone clients I m saying.
  • Ok now how to get enrolled as a beta tester?
  • Send the support team a email and get yourself enrolled.
  • I hope they have fixed bugs what we deal daily with its s shame to them not updating it properly and it impacts wps impression
  • Well ... Good 'bout that, But when it comes to official app ???  
  • When I tried to send 10 photos together...it crashed..sometimes even on 5 pics also...plz fix that...btw on Lumia 520
  • That bug is fixed now I guess. I used the beta on my L520 and it works perfectly fine when sharing images up to 10.
  • Hey Rubino, please confirm about forwarding multiple msg can be done or not!
  • I'm in beta too and it isn't possible
  • Aww..
    Hey Nik, thnx...also is it faster as it is in Android?? Coz as i use both SGN 3 and NL 1520....i still feel there is a scope of improvement for the later!
  • The only thing i care about is a different notificationtone. WA works fine for me now.
  • I'm almost not using this app now, about a month I think. But I'll come back when privacy settings will be available finally. Also with the privacy I want
    -fix the notification under lock screen When app is opened
    -mp3 file send and save
    -status notification on one persons pinned tile (online/last seen)
    -disable auto photo saving
    -fix vertical image shrinking (when you take in the app)
    -and yes, will ya finally fix app crash when scrolling to older chat
    --had more, can't remember now
  • When is this coming!? -_-
  • Don't get me wrong, I want that MP3 upload/attach as much as the next guy but c'mon, people! Email the darn thing. Send it by a bonded carrier. Use an owl and sheet music! Besides, half of the world is happy to have 3G with a very limited data plan, do you seriously think anyone would upload several MB of music just like that? :)
  • I just want this bloody update already! No more beta please..
  • Maybe they will introduce the beta on windows 8.1. There's no point in working on windows phone 8.
  • Beta Tester here for FAQ
  • Just release that update... -_- Instead of update the beta thousand times..
  • They release the beta for testing purposes. If the beta is stable with no bugs then it can be released to the Public version. So expect them to release the Public version soon.
  • They bring a lot features to the beta, instead push them also in pieces to the public. And how buggy can it be after ~3 months (since the first new feature).
  • "Since Facebook have now bought Whatsapp, they are planning to make a "Whatsapp Lookback" video. All your personal conversations, images and videos have been automatically selected for this 1 minute 19 seconds of lookback video. It will be automatically shared on Facebook with the privacy settings set to public." :D :D Guess what happens if this turns out to be true :D :D
  • I wonder if you are able to change each individual and group chats'  own background or is it the same background for every single chat?
  • Its the same background for all the chats.
  • Windows phone has taught me patience. I am sure it has taught the same to a lot of owners.
  • I haven't seen an update to this app in weeks.
  • Looks nice!
  • Did they fix WhatsApp crashing while loading the messages or sending 10 pics at a time back to back?? Please tht be fixed
  • We all want a release date! Come on. All our windows phone notifications sounds the same. Custom tones will help us differenciating them. It's 2014!!!
  • Looking forward to have background chat images and custom notification sounds :)
  • there is a big bug when taking photos inside this app. hoping for fix!
  • whatsapp the worst chat app on windowsphone 
  • Current version of WhatsApp have bugs. As i am experiencing, when you listening to music via nokia mixradio while chatting on WhatsApp and if you record a audio while listening to music and when you leave the record button, WhatsApp gets crashed. It gets closed. Report this issue please. And yes there is a bug while taking photos on WhatsApp, your photos will be stretched.
  • I think we can all agree that WP apps are truly beautiful. WhatsApp (with this update), Facebook Messenger, Advanced English Dictionary, Readit, My(Metro)Tube, Disqus, Fhotoroom and few others are exceptional. I just wished that SoundCloud would release their own app. Not saying that AudioCloud isn't great, but the UI could be tuned.
  • Rudy Huyn is working on 6Cloud, a SoundCloud Client ;)
  • Isn't 6Cloud, DropBox client? And anyways, I am really looking forward to downloading original apps, despite the fact that I enjoy third-party ones. I think Rudy should update his TV Show app. The design needs to be refined because there is WAY TOO MUCH Text, It is slow from time to time, sometimes it would open the app and crash after 1 second. I would definitely purchase it if he'd update this app...
  • I hope the problem with the media is fixed. It crashes all the time for me when i try to open media from a group. 
  • I'd give anything to be part of this private beta.... I hate half baked stuff and I hate reading about the features in the private beta
  • Is there any change in viewing previous messages? On Android (and I can assume iOS), scrolling is super smooth and easy but on WP, you can only preview your last 10 messages so when you scroll up, you get a bump animation as it loads the previous 10 and so on. It's so clunky and horrible and it's been this way since it first came to WP and I really hoped it would change with the release of WP8 but no such luck.
  • Waiting............. Asusual..........
  • Would like to have the ability to attach the whole video file, like on other platforms, than just 16 mb.
  • Can they re-enable the Skydrive albums? They eliminated that after the big update they did a few weeks ago.   PLEASE BRING THAT BACK!
  • They had the choice between video uploads or SkyDrive albums and no video uploads
  • Launch the update, which is good...
  • Glad to see they are working hard on it. Its a fairly decent app at present. I'm a viber man but had to leave it cause of how rubbish it is on wp
  • The search in WhatsApp on wp8 is also very poor. The string search wont land u up onto the message rather just the thread with the person opens up...
  • I really hope they introduce the ability to disable timestamps
  • How about they fix the crashes and notifications??????? Srly, it's a pain in the ass
  • I always love reading these articles. Looking forward to the final release. Thanks for the update on the beta.
  • Is it faster? Hahahaha!
  • Is there SEARCH option? So user can search a word within a conversation??
    just like android
  • Still no different chat bubbles colors for different recipents in a group chat? Release date?
  • Is it finally possible to scroll back up through previously written text? I cant believe they still haven't fixed that issue. It means I have to use copy and paste gestures just to check what I have written before sending...
  • Anybody know when public version? waiting....
  • Is there a way to disable auto-download images? I remember there used to be an option to disable that feature before I updated my whatsapp.
  • Stop teasing and give us the update already
  • Good to hear that crashing has been fixed and a ton of new features added. Hope it gets better than Android and iOS. Cant wait. :)
  • Why no picture thumbnail of the people against their names? 
  • This is nice , waiting to see the finial ,    Nokia 920 user 
  • Any update to disable pics auto-saving?
  • And forgot to say abt Facebook messenger.It doesnt have voice calling.Fucking useless app.C'mon give Windows Phones some just justice.I use We chat for voice and video calls but that also has some problems while calling my brother.
  • How do I download the beta app?
  • Rubbing it. Rubbing it. Don't ask. We won't share.