WhatsApp is working on new features to improve chats and notifications, and these features are now starting to roll out to users.
It may introduce a feature that will indefinitely hide muted chats for users who want time away from specific groups, without resorting to ignoring or deleting the app completely.
According to WABetaInfo, the new silent mode feature is already active for Android users and is enabled by default.
Currently, archived chat(s) will unarchive and reappear on top of the list of chats whenever a new message is received. This happens even for muted chats.
This feature will have an on/off option in Settings, so once users are ready to see the muted archived chats reappear, they just need to turn off Vacation Mode and wait for a new message to be received.
WABetaInfo says the feature is under development and is based on a new feature just rolled out for Android WhatsApp users called Silent Mode.
Silent Mode works with the Android feature called App Badge, that shows a number on an app’s icon indicating the number of new notifications received – for example for Facebook, Twitter, and mobile games.
Thus Silent Mode is effectively an upgrade to the Mute function, as muted chats will now no longer add to the number displayed by the App Badge.
The net effect of these changes seems to suggest that WhatsApp wants to make muting more effective so users receive alerts from important contacts instead of being constantly harassed by noise.
A third potential feature is WhatsApp is believed to be working on is an option to link a user’s WhatsApp account to external services like Instagram.
“The feature appears mainly developed for WhatsApp Business, but some references were found in the normal WhatsApp app too. It’s not available yet for both apps,” says WABetaInfo.
It adds that the purpose of the linking is unknown, but theorises that the Linked Accounts feature will help the user to recover their password or automatically share status updates in Instagram.