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WhatsApp emoji message reactions could be about to get much cooler

WhatsApp message thread on iPhone X
WhatsApp message thread on iPhone X (Image credit: Luke Filipowicz/iMore)

What you need to know

  • WhatsApp is set to allow people to react to messages using any emoji.
  • People only have a handful of emojis to choose from when reacting to messages right now.
  • The new feature isn't ready for beta testing yet, let alone prime time.

While WhatsApp recently added the ability to react to messages using emoji, it only offers a handful of options for people to choose from. That could all change soon enough, with a new report showing ongoing work to unlock the full library of emoji for people to use.

Reacting to a WhatsApp message is pretty great right now, giving people the chance to respond to a message without typing out text. That's great if you want to give a message a thumbs up, but what if there needs to be a little more nuance. That could soon be possible with WABetaInfo reporting that WhatsApp is ready to test allowing people to react using any emoji whatsoever.

While the feature isn't yet ready for beta testers, let alone the version of WhatsApp that's in the App Store, it's clear it's something WhatsApp is working on and it'll give us all more ways to react to messages than ever before.

Screenshot showing WhatsApp message reactions

Screenshot showing WhatsApp message reactions (Image credit: WABetaInfo)

As you can see in this screenshot, WhatsApp is also working on bringing the same feature to the iOS app. In this case, WhatsApp has developed a draggable section where you can easily select and search for any emoji you want to use for reacting to the message! In addition, we can also find a row dedicated to our recently chosen reactions in the same section.

The new system appears to give people the option to quickly select one of six emojis, just like we have now. But an additional button will unlock the full iOS 15 emoji picker, including a list of the most recently used ones.

There's no telling when this feature will be live, but it's definitely an addition that will help cement WhatsApp's position as one of the best iPhone instant messaging apps around once it arrives.

Oliver Haslam
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.