WhatsApp to introduce screen sharing and usernames

A picture taken on March 23, 2022, in Moscow shows the US instant messaging software WhatsApp logo on a smartphone screen. Picture: AFP

A picture taken on March 23, 2022, in Moscow shows the US instant messaging software WhatsApp logo on a smartphone screen. Picture: AFP

Published May 29, 2023


More big changes are coming to instant messaging app WhatsApp, as the platform is set to introduce two new key features soon.

In an effort to increase productivity and security on the Meta-owned platform, WhatsApp is expected to soon roll out the ability for users to select a unique username, alongside functionality to support screen sharing during video calls.

According to independent WhatsApp reporting blog, WABetaInfo, the instant messenger is working to improve its voice and video calling for its users on the Android app.

The newest update will offer a new feature that allows users to easily share their screen during a video call, allowing users to quickly show and share what they see on their device during a call.

“When you decide to share your screen, everything displayed on your screen will be recorded and shared with the recipient,” WABetaInfo said in an update around the new feature.

“Note that this feature may be unavailable on old versions of Android, screen sharing may not work in large group calls, and the recipient may be unable to get the content of your screen in case they are using an outdated version of WhatsApp.”

The feature is expected to extend beyond just WhatsApp, offering a view of any screen content. However, despite the continuous transmission of screen content during a video call, users can stop the process at any time.

Additionally, the feature is only enabled if consent is given to share the content of a screen.

“The ability to share the content of your screen, along with the new placement for tabs within the bottom navigation bar, is available to some beta testers after installing the latest WhatsApp beta for Android update from the Google Play Store, and it is rolling out to more users over the coming weeks,” the blog stated further.

WhatsApp Usernames

Meanwhile, WhatsApp users can also expect to assign themselves a new username for the platform instead of relying on logging in via cellphone number only.

“With the ability to choose a username, WhatsApp users will have the opportunity to add another layer of privacy to their accounts,” WABetaInfo said.

“This means that instead of relying solely on phone numbers to identify contacts, users will be able to opt for a unique and memorable username: by allowing users to choose usernames, WhatsApp may offer users the ability to reach other people by entering a username within the app, without knowing their phone numbers.”

It is still unclear how usernames will work on the platform, with the feature only discovered by some app beta testers.

Despite this, the potential of usernames on WhatsApp may allow users to communicate with businesses privately, thus safeguarding their phone numbers and ensuring that conversations remain secure.

Moreover, usernames could even be used to facilitate private communication between any two users, allowing conversations to take place without ever needing to share phone numbers with another party. Usernames are also expected to be protected by end-to-end encryption, ensuring that all communications remain secure.

*If any of the new features mentioned above are yet to be available for you, it probably has yet to be rolled out for your device. It should be visible to all users within the coming weeks after the latest update.

IOL Tech