WhatsApp's updates come as the service announces 7 billion voice messages are sent on average every day.
WhatsApp is updating voice messages for all those times when sending short audio recordings is more convenient -- or expressive -- than typing out your texts. The voice message feature is apparently quite popular, with WhatsApp announcing that 7 billion of these are sent on average per day.
The new voice features should make it more flexible to listen to messages and to reply back. Out-of-chat playback will let you hit play on a message and keep it playing while you multitask or text other people.
A pause and resume recording feature will let you take breaks while recording, just in case there's an interruption, without having to stop and start over. A draft preview feature will also let you listen to your recording before you send it to someone -- which could prove invaluable to avoid mistakingly sending a message to the wrong person.
Other features, which appear to borrow from podcast apps, could help with listening to longer voice messages. Fast playback will let you listen at 1.5x and 2x speeds. Remember that playback will let you pick up from where you left off if you need to pause. A waveform visualization representing the voice message will also display as the message plays.
The voice messages update comes as WhatsApp plans to bring multidevice capability to public release, which is currently in beta. When rolled out widely, it will let people use WhatsApp's web version without needing to directly connect with a phone first. The update also comes after other services from WhatsApp's parent company Meta, such as Facebook and Instagram, were banned in Russia amid the ongoing invasion of Ukraine. The court's decision in that country has left WhatsApp as the only Meta service running in Russia.