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WhatsApp is finally getting two important features it’s been missing since day one

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The latest beta version of WhatsApp gives us an intriguing look into the future, with three new features to look forward to. So, what’s in store? Advanced search, password-protected backups are the two key features on the way, plus automatic download rules.

For now, there’s only evidence that these features are in the pipeline for Android users, while in iOS Advanced Search is already available in WhatsApp beta for iOS 2.20.30.25. For anyone who has a huge archive of messages, you’ll know how hard it can be to track down files and links that have been sent to you. Thankfully, things are about to get a whole lot easier.

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As WABetaInfo reports, Advanced Search makes it incredibly simple to home in on different types of content. The feature lets you perform text-based search for photos, audio, links, GIFs, video and documents. It’s not clear quite when this feature will make it way to everyone, but it is something that will be welcomed when it finally arrives.

Another new option unearthed in the latest beta version of the Android app are new automatic download rules. The feature is currently undergoing development, and when it is finished it will help to save you data. WABetaInfo explains that when enabled “frequently forwarded images, videos, documents and voice messages will be never automatically downloaded from WhatsApp”. This option is going to be enabled by default when it rolls out.

Safe and sound

It is already possible to backup your WhatsApp messages to Google Drive, but in future you will be able to secure them with a password to prevent unauthorised access. Future verions of the chat app will given you the option of encrypting backups and protecting them with a password of at least eight characters.

The password you choose is not synchronized with either Facebook or WhatsApp, which is something of a double-edged sword. On one hand, this greatly reduces the risk of it being intercepted or hacked, but on the other, it means that if you forget your password, you lose access to your backup.

These features are not yet functional, but it will be users of the beta version of the app that will be given the chance to try it out first. If you’re not yet signed up as a WhatsApp beta tester, you can do so here.

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CORONAVIRUS CASES

Live Updates COVID-19 CASES
  • World 20,542,758
    World
    Confirmed: 20,542,758
    Active: 6,335,778
    Recovered: 13,460,643
    Death: 746,337
  • USA 5,305,957
    USA
    Confirmed: 5,305,957
    Active: 2,382,600
    Recovered: 2,755,608
    Death: 167,749
  • South Africa 566,109
    South Africa
    Confirmed: 566,109
    Active: 129,233
    Recovered: 426,125
    Death: 10,751
  • Nigeria 47,290
    Nigeria
    Confirmed: 47,290
    Active: 12,725
    Recovered: 33,609
    Death: 956
  • Kenya 27,425
    Kenya
    Confirmed: 27,425
    Active: 13,120
    Recovered: 13,867
    Death: 438
  • Australia 22,127
    Australia
    Confirmed: 22,127
    Active: 9,382
    Recovered: 12,393
    Death: 352
  • South Sudan 2,472
    South Sudan
    Confirmed: 2,472
    Active: 1,250
    Recovered: 1,175
    Death: 47
  • Uganda 1,313
    Uganda
    Confirmed: 1,313
    Active: 166
    Recovered: 1,138
    Death: 9
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