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WhatsApp may soon let you share encrypted files without an internet connection

File-sharing might get a lot easier for WhatsApp users.

Published onApril 22, 2024

WhatsApp icon
Damien Wilde / Android Authority
  • A new beta WhatsApp feature enables encrypted, local network file sharing with nearby users.
  • Adding notes to contacts is also in beta testing.

WhatsApp is working on a couple of major feature updates for its messaging app. This includes one that lets users share files via a local network and a way to jot down notes for people in your contact list.

If you think you’ve heard about this before, you wouldn’t be wrong. The ability to share files through a local network has previously been reported. However, new screenshots of the app’s install screen show which specific permissions are required for users to enable the feature.

These screenshots come from WhatsApp Android beta version (via WABetaInfo). They show the app maker is testing a new way to share photos, videos, documents, and other files with nearby WhatsApp users, even without cellular or internet data.

Judging from one of the screenshots, users will have to opt to be discoverable to nearby users so they can share and receive files via a local network. Notably, users will have the ability to revoke these permissions at any time. And, as with WhatsApp messages, file sharing is end-to-end encrypted, and phone numbers are hidden throughout the process.

Also, in the works, WhatsApp is testing a feature that allows users to add notes to contacts. WhatsApp beta for Android added a new feature enabling a notes field on the contacts sheet, allowing users to add helpful information about the contact for context. The notes are only viewable by the user who wrote them, not by the contact. It appears the notes feature won’t be exclusive to the mobile app, as it will also be available for WhatsApp Web.

WhatsApp beta feature adding notes to contacts
Via WABetaInfo

Both features are still only in beta, so no firm dates are known if/when the feature will be officially coming. But if users find it helpful during testing, we’ll likely see it as part of a future update.

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