WhatsApp for Windows Phone gets major new update, loads of new features

Now that Kik is on the sidelines for Windows Phone, WhatsApp has become our default international messaging app on Windows Phone. Luckily for us the WhatsApp team is busy updating and adding new functions to the app, evidently back on their 30-day schedule.

Version 2.9.2 is now live in the Store and it’s the one update you’ve been waiting for, as it really brings this app into its own.

New features include:

  • Lock screen notification support
  • New Tile design (less cartoony, more Metro)
  • Backup function
  • Hit “enter” as send
  • Mass message
  • New Attachment screen, including Audio, Video, Location, Picture, Camera and Contact
  • Some new UI layout changes

Overall, it’s an impressive update. The lock screen notifications go a long way to improving the app’s usability on Windows Phone 8 and the message backup feature and new layout should also please long time users looking for a more robust experience.

Notifications have been more consistent for us than on Kik and hopefully that will continue with this app update.

Did we miss any new features? Let us know in comments. You can download WhatsApp for free here in the Store. All Windows Phones supported. Thanks, Dennis and others for the tip!

Daniel Rubino
Editor-in-chief

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

266 Comments
  • At last! Seriously, this update was needed very badly. Especially the lockscreen notifications.
  • It has become much faster and they updated my subscription for one more year of free usage too.
  • Free usage???
    Its ALWAYS going to be free....
     
    They pretty much all say your 'paid' account ends in 2110...
  • ..Mine ends in March actually. They kept extending it unnecessarily for a friend of mine. But I'm yet to get a single extention.
  • Always niice to see a major update for a windows phone app.
  • Seems to be up for 7.x as well. Edit: that's probably what you meant by "supports all Windows Phones"...
  • I'm just hoping it doesn't reportedly kill the battery anymore!
  • Hope!
  • don't hold your breath, it eats battery exactly as before.
  • Whew. Thank you Jesus.
  • Is funny how Daniel used to say that whatsapp was irrelevant and recommend everybody else to use KIK instead. 
  • I only use apps that are good. Kik used to be better than WhatsApp. Now that Kik has withered and WhatsApp has finally improved, I can finally support it (likewise, the amount of customer complaints for WhatsApp have dropped off). It's not funny, just logical.
  • yeah that's not how IM clients work. you don't switch them like clothes. you go where your contacts are.
  • This is why proprietary chat apps are annoying.  The apps should aggregate contacts from multiple platforms. The Messaging app in Windows Phone should have framework hooks that allow other apps to "tap" into it.  No matter the chat platform you use, if the app integrates into the Messaging app, your contacts will have threads that are a grouping of all the applications they are associated with.  This is the ideal way to go and as a developer, I cannot understand why Microsoft hasn't allowed this yet.
  • Because it would create a whole mess of crap in the messaging hub. I want all apps separate so I can easily have settings specified for each and can easily keep track of conversations.
    My response to a Facebook notification is different, it's different to whatapp and its different to Skype. With these integrated in the messaging hub I'll get the same notification and it will be impossible to tell whether my phone just beeped for an SMS or for a Skype notifications. So it's best to have separate apps.
  • I fail to see how that is a problem?  You can always open the app itself.  Just like facebook, it has Message hub integration AND you can use messaging in the app itself.  The message hub also shows you which chat channel the message originated from and defaults you to the last one you or your contact used, whichever is the latest.
  • Ya I miss my N9 for that, messaging hub, though whatsapp was not integrated there, it was homebrew too not official whatsapp client.  But other accounts were able to be set up and used with the messaging hub in meego.  WP8 seems poised to be able to do this too once developers figure it all out.  Or at least I hope.
  • Nice update, but...............
    1- Alert is a shame i.e why should the phone vibrate when my sound profile is on silent and vibrate is set to off?
    2-Inability to view a contact's profile picture when I click on it. Same for twitter.
    3-Having to close the app sometimes in order for new messages to come in.
    I used it on the Nokia E7 and blackberry and it was cool, not cool at all on my L920 though.
  • My experince of the update is that its not very stabel at all.  Evertime I try and attactch a photo, be it to a message or to my profile pic, the app crashes.  Anybody else have this. HTC 8X.  The photos are on my albums in the cloud not local to the phone does that matter?
  • There was a time when blackberry was awesome and android blew chunks. Shit changes and unbiased opinions usually follow
  • Been checking for this update for a long long time. Happy it has finally arrived.
     
  • Ditto on that one
  • Wow. This is really good news.
  • Woohoo
  • Finally!!!
  • Hope it doesn't use the audio APIs to stay alive in the background. Downloading now.
  • It does and I don't expect that to change anytime soon.
  • Yes, just verified that myself. I'm guessing that means it is still going to be a battery hogger. smh
  • Is there a reason for them using it? why don't you expect them to change this? its a very annoying feature
  • The only way they'll stop,using it is if they develop a different app for WP8 & WP7, since WP7 doesn't have the wifi always on feature...
  • Your assuming that people only use it on wifi, why can't the app just use the data connection available to it, if a WP8 phone is on sleep then use data, unless the user has specified to keep wifi on then it would use wifi as default.
    WP7 users and other smartphone users of similar apps i hope realise that chat apps use their data allowance when they use it.
  • I'm not asuming anyting, that's the reason for which whatsapp started using this method, because people wanted it to work even if the don't have a cellular connection. I don't know how long you've been on WP Central, but the wifi not staying on when the screen is locked was one of the MAJOR issues for users in WP7.
  • Could someone explain this audio ALI please
  • Why not? The Facebook app manages to give notifications without using the audio API. Not consistently, but still. 
  • This is starting to get surprisingly annoying. It interferes with my bluetooth streaming. If I get out of my car and use WhatsApp, when I get back in my car, typically it tries to continue playing from where it stopped, but of course WhatsApp shows up as the last track played, and everything gets fucked up.
  • EXACTLY.
  • Same issues as others with the Music API, just so frustrating that they haven't changed the "keep alive" method.
  • %$^^&*$^&#& DAMMIT. That's the ONLY gripe i have with Whatsapp....
  • I just uninstalled it because of this.
    I like apps to use the most power friendly method of doing something.
    Now the app store can have the same app with 2 releases I'd expect 2 versions... until they are serious about the platform I'll not use the app.
  • I emailed devs and they said they know the battery hog and audio api issue and are working on solution. No eta.
  • I noticed something...not sure if others have...but whatsapp stays alive even when battery saver is activated...its supposed to get cut off but since its using the audio API it stays alive and works throughout..i guess they want it to working as much as possible... Like normal txt msges at all times...old news...?
  • Installing now, this is a really nice update it looks like. Finally lockscreen notifcations.
  • Is there a way of saving video sent in chats to the phone/sd card? Photos save but I can't work out how to save other media. Just get an option to delete or forward.
  • Their video system appears to be proprietary (optimized for bandwidth) so it looks like a 'no' on that, same reason you can't send a pre-recorded video.
  • Seems a shame. I download the video over wifi to the phone via the app to watch it. Means the video sent from family abroad can't be backed up or shared with others not using the app. Certainly seems like a feature people would want.
  • That may be true, but you can send pre recorded videos on their iOS and Android apps.
  • Daniel, from what I've heard from an MS employee it is due to the video library not being accesable for apps. I don't know for sure about this, but I trust the MS (a WP guy as well) had his facts straight.
     
    [EDIT] This was based on WP7, however I haven't heard that it changed with WP8 though.
  • Ios app allows pre recorded video attachments, i would think tthey could do the same for wp8. 
  • This is the only thing now missing from WhatsApp. The saving video features makes no sense as Android and LOS can do this and they can also send pre-recorded message, we can even forward videos...all other updates are fantastic.
  • YEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • The load time is still as bad :/ 
    Still no screen roatation animations.
    Still have to use wp native emoticons. 
  • HOORAY!!! ^_^
  • Crashes everytime I try to add a profile photo.
  • Same here.
  • Same here. I'm about to try uninstalling
  • Reinstalled twice, still crashes. I get the feeling WP is a pain in the ass to develop for.
  • Yup. Reinstalled. Same thing. They didn't test this before pushing out?
  • If that was the case then all apps would be rubbish. It's pretty obvious the guys over at Whatsapp are a bunch of douches.
  • I was getting this but rebooted my phone and seemed to fix it.
  • meh. Pretty much every WP app that has an Android or iOS counterpart, is pretty dysfunctional by comparison. Even MS-developed solutions like GroupMe, Skype and Lync lack features, or perform poorly next to their bretheren on competing OS'. I'm not happy about it, just stating the obvious.
  • Same here......crap!
  • someone please look at Sam :D
  • Still no support for sending video files you already have on ur phone, maybe limitation of the app, nice update tho, Lumia 710
  • Had to do a soft reset , 920 died for the first time ever.
    After 3 hours of updating whatsapp :(
  • Yayyy :D
  • Crashes everytime I try to upload a photo. Pffft. 
  • Same here....
  • "Now that kik is on the sidelines" why exactly do you say this?? Because they haven't updated the app? Or is there other reasons as well?
  • Kik said they dont have any plans as of now to properly support wp8..it was reported here sometime back...
  • Doesn't whatsupp cost $0.99/year??
  • yes. is that too much?
  • yes, it is too much. The application is useless on WP7 durring this first free year. If they fix it and then give us a full 1 year free, I will pay the next 0.99, ok?
  • waiting for it to hit my store! (i know i can hunt it down via the QR code buuuuut..)
  • Just go to the Whatsapp page on the Store and you should see an update button.
  • I was just clicking on whatsapp in the marketplace and i saw that i could install the update so i tipped wpcentral. I was glad i could help you tip this :)
    But it is a shame it still uses the music stream api. I frikkin' hate it!
  • +10000000 why would they use the media API. It annoying that what's app shows.up as my last played song.
  • Pardon me.
    Finally. Its about fucking time!
  • Is there a way to turn on lock screen notifications from within the app? I couldn't find such a setting . I had to go to settings -> lock screen and add whatsapp there.
  • No, or you will be redirected to the lock screen settings
  • OMG this is a relief and joyous moment or what? :D
  • Finally, a non-pixelated tile. It bothered me for a long time.
  • *claps hands*
  • I've been using Whatsapp for free since December.
    Nice update!
  • Okay, so I updated. Opened whatsapp - the device froze - and bamn there comes the much awaited and much loved reboot!
  • One more item in the changelog: Improved WP8 performance
  • interested to read of this is a battery killer like the old version, once i started using whatsapp, my battery drain would never stop.  I eventually had to remove, but hopefully they fixed that. 
  • Couple questions, why does turning the volume up or down, clicking the media, open what's app? and why is the last played song in the Xbox music show up as what's app?
  • Yes, one important detail is forgotten. Is this update only for windows 8 or also for windows phone 7 mango and 7.8. Windows phone 7 mango and 7.8 users are also reading these blogs.
  • Quoting Daniel's article directly: "You can download WhatsApp for free here in the Store. All Windows Phones supported." All Windows Phones supported, we provide information for users of WP7 and WP8 and are very aware that a large number of our users are using 7.5/8 :)
  • After update, my account expiraton date extended from 2021 to 2110, yeah!!! I can give my account to my grandson! 
  • That's happened to me before the update & its still there!
  • Finally a metro style icon! That's the only thing I'm happy about :D
  • Not for WP 7.x users - or at least not for me?
  • You have to repin the tile
  • Nope, still the old one for me on 7.8. :(
  • Nope,old icon here and also can't get the wide tile. I still old icon.
  • Nope, that doesn't work as the primary tile only supports the fliptiletemplate. WhatsApp should provide the ability to add a secondary tile which then could use the iconictiletemplate like on WP8.
  • Ignorant statement.
  • Was this fixed in this update??
     
    Am I the only one? I leave the phone (Lumia 920) come back, go to xBox/music, see the song I was paused on, press "paused" and woop... the phone takes me to "whatsApp", I press back and its like I just opened a new music player, the memory of the player is gone and I need to re-find my last song.
     
  • No, sorry. Still uses media API. 
  • Crap :/
    Oki doke....
  • They need to stop using the audio API if they want me to use it.
  • Yes !
  • When will they allow us to save and attach downloaded audio or video? That's what I need. Don't see anything interesting with this update. SMH.
  • Is there a way to get the backup file in 7.8?
  • Hey,Daniel. Any work in progress for updating your app for tile resizing to full rectangle? Thanks
  • Downloaded it and it has crashed on me 3 times so far. Can't get past choosing a picture.
  • Lock screen notification support - am I being stupid as I cant see where to set this up via settings on WP or in WhatsApp
  • i can't either find it. does anyone know? i have WP 7.8
  • 7.8 doesn't support lockscreen...only Bing can make use of lockscreen
  • In setting and then lockscreen. But i don't know if w7.8 supports lock screen notifications of marketplace apps.
  • Im on WP8, lumia 920 and I have looked in the settings for both WhatsApp and the lock screen (WhatsApp doesnt appear), where have others on WP8 set it?
  • Its in lockscreen settings in the system menu not the app
  • not on my lumia 920 or my HTC 8S
  • Works on my HTC 8S.
  • Daniel did say and i quote
    "Did we miss any new features? Let us know in comments. You can download WhatsApp for free here in the Store. All Windows Phones supported. Thanks, Dennis and others for the tip! "
    Great improvement!!!
    load times, faster  
    nice layout and animations( font got smaller, more chats can be seen, list comes from the bottom now)
    nice broadcast feature (mass messaging)
    all i need now is the ability to send mp3 files...
    come on Microsoft!!! make it happen!!! and whatsapp will update to suit
    Ps. different colour chat bubbles for group messages, changing backgound wallpaper or even making background a solid colour, like the accent colour or black/white(but i think that works already).... *whisper* work on it plzzzzzzzz :
    Smasung Focus Rocking WP7.8  :) Gotta love it
  • no large tile support for wp7.8
  • There doesn't seem to be wide tile support for WP 7.8 :(
  • Horrible update.
    - No "fast resume"
    - LONGER load times. The first load is quick. The subsequent load times are insanely long.
    - Can't access "Media" section in "Info" of any chats. Just shows up with a blank scroll list. Old media is lost. 
  • In wp 7.8 the Live Tile NO IS BIGGER rectangle, only medium! 
  • another minor change i think...now if a group is on mute you can see a tiny mute icon next to the groups name on the chats screen:P....dont think this was there before...or never noticed it:P
  • crashes when resuming
    crashes when updating profile pic
    can't send a pre-recorded video
    Long load time
    still can't click on a contacts profile pic to see a larger picture.  just a small thumbnail.
     
    not a great update for the whatsapp team
  • Well im not getting no rectangular tile / no metro style icon? anybody else (WP 7.8 here) / Also wish they made screen lock notifications for wp7.8, other standard apps use it (like messaging, email, phone).
  • +1
  • same here:/
  • I don't see the point of the large tile, they don't even show the message content in the tile, just the notification indicator. What a waste of space.
  • Yup, not getting most of the features. The only thing I can see different is the newly designed "share" window with Modern UI style icons. Other than that - same old same old. WP7.8 on Lumia 800.
  • Rectangular tile, metro tile and lockscreen are just for WP8...7.8 shares the same in-app upgrades, layout broadcasts etc.
  • Try remove and 're-pin tile
  • screenshots can be attacheeeeeeeeed!!! :D
  • Yeah man..this was something that I was looking forward..glad it happened..
  • +1
  • Finally. The workaround can get complicated. I've been opening the screenshots and re-saving them using creative studio just to share them on whatsapp
  • Grml. Igores the fact, that DVP has a QWERTY keyboard and displays a large blank black space where the software keyboard should be. No workaround so far.
  • still showing as streaming, meaning battery drainage still happening... Not good...
  • thanks wpcentral :D
  • It seems to startup longer sometimes on my 920. At times it can be really quick taking 2 seconds, and the next time it may take around 8 seconds. Wish more people would use Line or Wechat as they are technically and visually much better apps.
  • Yea same here. I prefer the older build's consistently medium start. Sometimes it even hangs completely now.
  • Just downloaded LINE. Will give u feedback later. Need to tell people about this. Looks better
    UPDATE: Managed to invite 2 contatcts and its looking good and better than whatsapp so far
  • Isnt message for me, v2.9.2 extremely slow start on my Lumia 920! 
  • 1. No Support For Messages Longer that 10 parts i.e 1600+ chars
    2. No Large Tile Support For 7.8
    3. The Tile is still the same "Cartoony" on 7.8
    4. No new Emoticons.
    5. The Music Player Bug Still Exists (Seriously It's High Time They did Something about It!!!).
  • - Still no ability to send MP3s
    - Still no ability to send videos located on the device
    - Still a battery hog.
    - App crashes when changing display picture
    - Have to unpin and repin the tile for it to show up properly.
    I was looking forward to this update, thought this would support mp3 and video sending support, very disapointed. Still loads of work to do! Thanks for the update anyway Whatsapp Team!
  • how the fuck do you restore your backup on whatsapp???
  • I think of you remove whatsapp and reinstall it, the messages automaticly download? I could be wrong, but just a guess. Anyone else know?
  • I made a backup then reinstall whatsapp. It automatly show a message to restore backup.
  • the backup file is link the the phone's storage or the phone no. account?
  • now that fucking thing crashes
  • Crash city!
  • There is a backup option, but where is the restore option ?
  • The only change, functionality wise