WhatsApp has started rolling out emoji reactions to all its users — a move to counter the likes of Telegram, Apple's iMessage, and Slack, and similar to WhatsApp's sister platform Instagram. The ability to react to both individual and group chats on the app using emojis was announced last month and has been in testing for some time. Alongside reactions, WhatsApp is increasing the size limit of sharing files to up to 2GB from the existing 100MB allocation. The instant messaging app owned by Meta is also gradually expanding the group size limit to 512 members — up from 256.
Emoji reactions are available on the latest version of WhatsApp, the messaging app said in a blog post. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg teased the roll out of reactions via an Instagram story on Thursday.
The purpose of reactions is to help people quickly express their feelings and emotions about particular messages they receive from individuals and in group chats, without requiring them to send responses in text.
WhatsApp announced the arrival of reactions — alongside other big features including Communities — last month. The feature has been in testing for the last few months.
Using reactions, WhatsApp users will be able to express their emotions such as like, love, laugh, surprise, sadness, and thanks to their chats. Eventually, users may be able to get a selection of emojis to choose from for their reactions, as seen through a reference that appeared in a recent testing build.
To add a reaction, you need to long press on a message to which you want to react and then tap to select the displayed emoji. The sender of the message being reacted to will receive a notification once you react to their message.
According to the details available on an FAQ page, you can only add one reaction per message. This means that you cannot use multiple reactions on one particular message. However, you can change your reaction by long pressing on a message you reacted to and then tap a different emoji.
You can also remove your message reaction. For this, you need to long press on the message you reacted to and then tap the emoji you reacted with to remove it. The sender of the message will not receive a notification if you remove a reaction.
All this is similar to how we can add emojis to messages we get on Telegram, iMessage, Slack, and even Meta's Instagram.
WhatsApp confirmed to Gadgets 360 that reactions will be available to everyone in "about a week."
In addition to reactions, WhatsApp is also rolling out the expansion of its file size limit for sharing files including PDFs to 2GB. This will notably be limited to documents and not for media files such as photos, videos, and voice messages. Limit for those files will still be 16MB. The increased file size limit — similar to reactions — will be applicable to both individual chats and groups.
WhatsApp has separately announced that it is expanding the default maximum size of groups on its platform to 512 members. This means that some of your groups will be able to have more members in the coming future.
The expanded group limit is rolling out "slowly" to users, as WhatsApp has mentioned in its blog post. It may set the pitch for the Communities feature that is aimed to help enhance group conversation experience by allowing users to put multiple groups together under one roof.