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WhatsApp spotted testing a new offline file transfer feature called People Nearby

A graphical representation of WhatsApp logo

WhatsApp is reportedly testing a new feature that will allow users to transfer and share files offline. This means users will be able to share documents, media, and other files with their contacts without an internet connection.

The new WhatsApp offline file-sharing feature was spotted by WABetaInfo and is dubbed People Nearby. The feature works like the popular Android option Nearby Share and Apple's AirDrop. The WhatsApp People Nearby feature was spotted in the WhatsApp beta app v2.24.9.22 for Android.

As per the report, WhatsApp People Nearby uses Bluetooth to transfer files between devices, hence it does not require the internet. According to the shared screenshots, there will be a dedicated People Nearby section within the WhatsApp app.

WhatsApp People Nearby option

WhatsApp users would need to grant all necessary permissions for the People Nearby function to work properly. These permissions include media access, Bluetooth to find and connect to devices on the local network, and location access. The People Nearby option can be found under Settings > People Nearby.

After the necessary permissions are granted, the People Nearby will look for nearby devices. However, to be discoverable, the feature should be turned on both devices. So, you cannot start sending files to anyone by just turning the feature on for your device.

WABetaInfo notes that the WhatsApp People Nearby feature is end-to-end encrypted. Your phone number will also be hidden throughout the discovery and transfer process. The People Nearby feature is currently under development and was spotted in the latest Android beta. It is unclear if it will arrive for iOS users or when WhatsApp plans to bring the feature to all users.

Recently, in WhatsApp Android beta v, a new option was also spotted under testing that will help community group members create events for various occasions, such as online meetings.

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