WhatsApp has resumed testing a feature that improves group chats on Android, as part of the latest beta release. The popular messaging app recently began beta testing the ability to show profile icons next to messages on group chats, but it was disabled on subsequent beta releases. Meanwhile, the Meta-owned app has also started rolling out the first version of its Updates tab for beta testers on iOS. WhatsApp is also working on visual improvements on Android, from a redesigned emoji keyboard to new Material You-style toggles in the app’s settings.
The appearance of the profile icons in groups was spotted by feature tracker WABetaInfo on version 18.104.22.168 of WhatsApp beta for Android. Beta testers who have updated to this version should be able to see profile icons for all group participants and default “generic” profile icons for users who have not set a profile picture. Gadgets 360 was able to confirm that the feature was enabled on the latest beta version of the app for Android smartphones.
The group profile icon feature was seen in development last year, and was later rolled out to beta testers briefly before it was disabled. Users who update to the latest beta version of WhatsApp for Android should see the icons for profile photos of group participants, making it easy to identify messages from different senders.
The messaging app was also recently spotted working on Material You-themed toggles for various settings on version 22.214.171.124 of WhatsApp beta for Android. The slim toggles found in the setting section have been replaced with thicker switches with a green accent — in line with Google’s Material Design 3 guidelines for designers — to indicate when a setting is enabled.
Meanwhile, WABetaInfo also spotted a new Updates tab on version 126.96.36.199 of WhatsApp beta for iOS. The feature is still in development and is expected to arrive as a redesigned Status tab, showing users both Channels and Status. The Meta-owned messaging service is reportedly working on a broadcast-like feature allowing one-way communication with Channel subscribers.
WhatsApp is also working on additional improvements for a redesigned emoji keyboard that is currently under development. The three buttons that allow a user to switch among GIF, sticker, and the emoji keyboard have been moved to the top of the same section, according to WABetaInfo.