WhatsApp upgrade matches FaceTime's video chat limit, doubles group chat size, and more

The WhatsApp bootscreen
(Image credit: WhatsApp)

The popular messaging app WhatsApp has rolled out a slew of new and improved features that touch both its video and text-based chat features.

At the top of the list of changes is one that sees WhatsApp gain support for video calls that have up to 32 people in them, matching the current video calling limit that Apple has on FaceTime.

All the changes

WhatsApp didn't stop at video chats, though. With its latest changes WhatsApp has now also opened up group chats to a maximum of 1024 people, doubling the previous 512-person limit that was in place.

Alongside those improvements, WhatsApp has now also made the Communities feature available globally. An announcement blog post says that the future will be available to everyone over the next few months, although it didn't give anything firmer than that.

Communities "connect multiple groups together under one umbrella to organize group conversations on WhatsApp," the Meta-owned messaging service says. Once a community has been created people can "easily switch between available groups to get the information you need, when you need it, and admins can send important updates to everyone in the Community."

The idea is that people will be able to create Communities and then have individual group chats within them. Imagine a community being a workplace and then group chats being for departments, for example. It'll work in a similar way to Slack, although it isn't clear whether that's by design or if WhatsApp may have accidentally found itself in competition with the workplace messaging app.

WhatsApp says that it plans to add more features "over the coming months," but hasn't so far confirmed what they might be.

WhatsApp has long been one of the best iPhone apps for people who need to communicate with others, especially across platforms. It's constantly improving as well, as this new round of additions shows.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.