WhatsApp is going to allow iPhone owners to test news features ahead of everyone else, and access is going to be open to all.
If you’re an Android user then you can also get early access to the new features in WhatsApp ahead of your friends.
When you’re on the beta you’ll have access to some of the features we’ve mentioned recently, including the ability to mute group chats and stop them reappearing in your message window as "unread".
You’ll also get access to WhatsApp stickers, if you don’t already have them.
Below is a guide to getting on the beta for each type of mobile phone. Android and Windows Phone have both allowed users to do this for some time, but the addition of Apple’s iPhone is brand new.
How to get the beta on iPhone
You need to use Apple’s official testing service called Testflight. Get it from the App Store first.
You can then click this link on your phone to be taken to the official testing page. This will allow you to add the app, as long as there are still slots left on the beta.
How do I get the beta on Android
Like Apple, Google allows groups of users to test apps ahead of their official release. WhatsApp has a beta program you can join – as long as there are slots left.
How do I get the beta on Windows Phone
There’s a separate link to use if you’re on a Windows Phone. This will take you to the Windows Store which will allow you to add the WhatsApp beta to your phone.
What if I get a message saying "The beta is full"
Only a certain number of people are allowed to use the beta test at any time. The amount is set by WhatsApp, so even if you get the message it may be that the company increases the slots available.
It’s worth checking daily to see if more slots have opened up.
The beta could cause problems. It’s designed for people to test new, non-public, versions of the app so it requires caution.
Make sure your chat history is backed up, if you don’t want to lose it. On Android you can keep a copy in Google Cloud, on iOS backups can be stored in iCloud.
If you have messages you really need to keep, it’s also worth exporting them before using a beta test.
Get around limits on Android
If the Android beta is full then there is a way to get the WhatsApp APK. This is the program itself, but hosted separate from the official Google Play Store.
This isn’t ideal though as installing apps from places like APKMirror isn’t as safe as using the Google Play store. While unlikely, these apps could have been modified from the official release.
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