Last week, WhatsApp rolled out a beta update with support for up to eight participants in a group conversation. Today, the service officially announced that the new capability is finally rolling out to everyone using iOS or Android phones.
The latest change doubles the maximum number of people who can join a video call or voice chat at a time when WhatsApp sees a spike in the use of its service. The Facebook-owned company noted that, over the past month, "people on average are spending over 15 billion minutes talking each day on WhatsApp calls, well above a typical day before the (COVID-19) pandemic." The increased number of participants comes due to the coronavirus outspread that forced many to stay home in isolation to help curb the spread of the virus.
WhatsApp's video and voice calls are encrypted end to end for increased security. The company also says it built the service with lower-end devices and poor network conditions in mind to make it available to as many people as possible. In addition, the service is available on Portal, Facebook's home device equipped with a camera and a microphone for video calling. Users must update to the latest version of WhatsApp, available for download from the Play Store and the App Store, to check out the new participant limit.