WhatsApp video calling looks close to making its debut

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WhatsApp
WhatsApp video calling is coming, but when?
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

We’ve been waiting for WhatsApp to deliver video calling since December, when the feature was first spotted inside a beta release on iOS. Now it has appeared again in various places, which suggests its launch is finally getting close.

Despite being the most popular messaging platform on the planet, with over 1 billion active users, WhatsApp has been slow to adopt many features found inside rival apps. It didn’t get voice calling until just last April, five years after WhatsApp made its debut.

Now users are waiting for video calling, and although we know it’s coming, we have no idea when. WhatsApp has remained quiet about the feature’s development, even though it continues to popup inside beta releases on both Android and iOS.

References to video calling have also been confirmed by the team of people who translate WhatsApp into other languages. Screenshots published by Android Police show new strings that read “video call,” and “video calling is unavailable at this time.”

These are the notices WhatsApp is translating.
These are the notices WhatsApp is translating.
Screenshot: Android Police

Other screenshots taken from WhatsApp for Android show a “video calling is unavailable at this time” warning, and a new video calling icon alongside contacts in the calls log.

WhatsApp video calling in an Android beta.
WhatsApp video calling in an Android beta.
Screenshots: Android Police

WhatsApp’s beta release also hints at the ability to join groups using NFC tags (which obviously wouldn’t work on iPhone) and QR codes, support for sharing ZIP files, plus an option to leave voicemails when calling a contact who doesn’t pick up.