The latest WhatsApp update from the beta channel has a few nifty things up its sleeve, the most notable of which is the addition of a Quick Reply feature for the notifications area. Other changes include multiple selection capabilities for contacts and chats and new solid color background options.
Quick Reply in WhatsApp v2.12.260 doesn’t seems to be a precursor to Android N’s Quick Reply functionality though, so it sadly it doesn’t work like the new Hangouts Quick Reply feature. When you tap the Reply button in a WhatsApp notification, instead of launching the full app or an in-line reply box, you’ll get something in between: a mini pop-up window kind of like Facebook Messenger’s Chat Heads.
You’ve got a voice reply button (which changes to a send arrow if you enter text), emoji shortcut, Close and View buttons. View opens up WhatsApp proper where you can attach photos and files and so on because these are not supported in the Quick Reply window.
As for multiple selections in the app itself, it’s all pretty standard fare: simply tap a profile icon or chat group icon to select it and tap more to add them to your selection, just like in Gmail. Depending on the type of chats you select – individual, group or a mix of both – the available options will change. These options are now shown at the top of the app alongside a selection counter.
You’ll now find popular options listed at the top of the app with others relegated to the overflow menu. If you mix and match your selections (for example, you select individual chats and group chats), the available options will only be those actions that relate to all selected chat types, like archive and mute. Here’s what you get, with overflow items in parentheses:
- One individual chat: archive, delete, mute (add chat shortcut, view contact, mark as unread)
- More than one individual chat: archive, delete, mute (mark as unread)
- One group chat: archive, leave group, mute (add chat shortcut, group info, mark as unread)
- More than one group chat: archive, leave group, mute (mark as unread)
- Mixed individual and group chats: archive, mute (mark as unread)
Finally, if you’d prefer more demure wallpaper choices for chats, you can now choose to use a solid color background. Simply head to WhatsApp settings > Chats > Wallpaper > Solid color to set a universal background, or go to a chat and head to WhatsApp settings > Wallpaper > Solid color.
To get these new features, simply join the WhatsApp beta group, hunt down the APK for WhatsApp v2.12.260 or wait a little longer for it to hit Google Play.
Up next: WhatsApp testing text formatting