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WhatsApp adds GIF support and video streaming

WhatsApp has officially added GIF support and a video streaming feature which allows you to watch video messages immediately before they finish downloading.

Published onDecember 6, 2016

Update, December 6: Video streaming has now been officially added to WhatsApp, meaning as soon as you receive a video message from someone, you can start watching it immediately, without having to wait for it to download first (see below for details). GIF support has also been added in the latest WhatsApp update available now in Google Play, although GIFs still need to be downloaded before playing.

Original post, November 23: Signing up for the beta version of WhatsApp means you get access to new features before everyone else. While the official version of WhatsApp has only just added video calling (which was available in beta form for weeks), the beta version has just added another upcoming WhatsApp feature: video streaming.

Latest WhatsApp beta adds two-step verification features

Before you get too excited though, this isn’t like Facebook Live or Instagram Live Stories, just the ability to stream video immediately without having to download them first.

WhatsApp is, first and foremost, a friend-to-friend messaging app, so the streaming video feature is more about allowing you to view a video message as quickly as possible than it is about broadcasting your breakfast to the world at large.


The way the new streaming function works is twofold. If you have media auto-downloading enabled, as soon as the message arrives it’ll start downloading, as you can see by the progress meter in the bottom left hand corner of the preview above.

But before the download has finished you can tap the big play button in the middle and watch the video while it downloads in the background. Once it has downloaded the progress meter will be replaced by a video duration indicator.


If you have media auto-downloading off (or just don’t allow auto-download videos when on a cellular connection), you’ll see something a little different.

You’ll still see the big play button in the middle and be able to stream the video as soon as it arrives, but the video won’t be downloaded automatically. For that you’ll have to tap the download button in the bottom left hand corner instead. The same goes for GIFs, which are now supported in WhatsApp, but need to be downloaded first.

Are you happy to see video messages delivered faster? What do you want to see in WhatsApp next?

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