WhatsApp has leveraged the enhanced notification support on Android 8.0 Oreo by bringing support for app notification channels. The new support is already available through the latest WhatsApp beta versions and is likely to soon be available to the masses via the next public release. It ultimately allows you to disable the certain WhatsApp notifications you find inconsequential and prioritise those that matter to you. Importantly, notification channels were first implemented for Google Chrome notifications to let users adjust notifications for individual sites back in July last year.
WhatsApp notification channel support
The latest beta versions of WhatsApp for Android support 10 notification channels, namely group notifications, message notifications, chat history backup, critical app alerts, failure notifications, media playback, uncategorised, other notifications, sending media, and silent notifications. Each of the available notification channels has discrete settings to help you give high importance to only the notifications that are important to you.
For instance, you can go to the group notifications channel and set importance level for group messages to 'Low' from the default 'Urgent' to stop receiving notifications on a regular basis. There is also an option to manage group notifications distinctly, apart from the group message notifications. Additionally, you can use the new update to even set WhatsApp notifications to override the 'Do Not Disturb' feature.
You can see the available types of notification channels for the WhatsApp app by long-pressing its icon and then go to the 'Notifications' section after tapping the 'App Info' option. In case, you'd like to adjust notification priority for WhatsApp Web, you just need to go to the 'Other notifications' channel and then select your preference from 'Urgent', 'High', 'Medium', and 'Low' importance settings. Moving to the 'Low' importance preference will completely disable the WhatsApp Web notification icon from your mobile device and a simple line will be available in the notification panel that will help you know that the WhatsApp Web access is currently active.
Alongside the notification channel integration, the latest WhatsApp beta versions also include the ability to let users switch from voice to video calls. This means that you can move between the voice and video calls without hanging up any of the two. Moreover, a video button is available in the in-call menu to let you make video calls during your voice calls.
Folks at Android Police have reported that both the features are available through the WhatsApp v2.18.18 beta, which is available for download in the APK form through APK Mirror, as well as through the Google Play beta programme. We're separately seeing the notification channel update on the WhatsApp v2.18.19 beta downloaded via Google Play. It is worth noting here that the changes are only visible if you're using a device running Android 8.0 Oreo or above.