WhatsApp has started rolling out emoji reactions to all of its users – a move to counter Telegram, Apple’s iMessage and Slack, and similar to WhatsApp’s sister platform Instagram. The ability to react to individual and group chats on the app using emojis was announced last month and has been in testing for some time. Along with the reactions, WhatsApp is increasing the file share size limit up to 2GB from the existing 100MB allotment. The Meta-owned instant messaging app is also gradually expanding the group size limit to 512 members, against 256 previously.
Emoji reactions are available on the latest version of WhatsApp, the messaging app said in a blog post. On Thursday, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg teased the reactions rollout via an Instagram Story.
The purpose of reactions is to help people quickly express their feelings and emotions about particular messages they receive from individuals and in group chats, without requiring them to send text responses.
WhatsApp announced the arrival of reactions – alongside other important features, including Communities – last month. The feature has been in testing for a few months.
Using reactions, WhatsApp users will be able to express their emotions such as love, love, laughter, surprise, sadness, and thanks to their chats. Eventually, users may be able to choose from a selection of emojis for their reactions, as seen in a reference that appeared in a recent test build.
To add a reaction, you need to long press on a message you want to react to, then press to select the displayed emoji. The sender of the message you are reacting to will receive a notification once you react to their message.
According to the details available on an FAQ page, you can only add one reaction per message. This means that you cannot use multiple reactions on a particular post. However, you can change your reaction by long-pressing on a message you reacted to, then tapping on another emoji.
You can also remove the reaction from your post. To do this, you need to long-press the message you reacted to, then press the emoji you reacted with to delete it. The message sender will not receive a notification if you delete a reaction.
All of this is similar to how we can add emojis to the messages we receive on Telegram, iMessage, Slack and even Instagram from Meta.
WhatsApp confirmed to Gadgets 360 that reactions will be available to everyone in “about a week”.
In addition to reactions, WhatsApp is also rolling out the extension of its file size limit for sharing files, including PDFs, to 2 GB. This will notably be limited to documents and not media files such as photos, videos and voice messages. The limit for these files will still be 16MB. The increased file size limit – similar to reactions – will apply to individual chats and groups.
WhatsApp separately announced that it was extending the default maximum group size on its platform to 512 members. This means that some of your groups may have more members in the near future.
The expanded group limit is rolling out “slowly” for users, as WhatsApp mentioned in its blog post. This may set the ground for the Communities feature which aims to improve the group chat experience by allowing users to bring together multiple groups under one roof.