WhatsApp is no longer just an instant messaging service. In a new update now rolling out to users on iOS, the company is introducing new voice calling capabilities that allow you to phone family and friends anywhere and at no extra cost.
The update also brings an iOS 8 share extension and other new features and improvements.
First introduced on Android almost a month ago, voice calling gives WhatsApp the opportunity to compete with Skype, Viber, and other VoIP services by allowing its 800 million active users to connect with each other in a more intimate way.
Voice calling uses your handset’s Internet connection — Wi-Fi or 3G/4G — rather than your voice minutes, and it’s free, even if you call someone in another country.
Calling will roll out “slowly over the next several weeks,” WhatsApp says — as it did on Android — so if you don’t see it immediately after updating to the latest version of the app, don’t worry; it’s on its way, and you should be getting it very soon.
Features you can use right away include WhatsApp’s new iOS 8 share extension, which finally lets you share photos, videos, and links directly from other apps. There’s also a new quick camera button in the chat interface, and the ability to edit your contacts from within WhatsApp.
Finally, the update allows you to send multiple videos at once, and crop and rotate videos before sending them. You can download the latest version of WhatsApp now from the App Store.