Between the multiple beta and release versions, WhatsApp goes through so many iterations that we sometimes miss a few features here and there. We often get tips about additions or changes to the app, but in certain instances we can’t exactly pinpoint when they were implemented. That is unless we went back and reinstalled every version of the app to find the one that triggered it, which we’ll all agree is an unnecessary waste of time.
This post is about these features, these small additions that slipped between the cracks sometime in the past couple of months and that you may or may not have noticed already.
New shared ‘Links’ history tab
Every conversation in WhatsApp has a Media screen that aggregates all the sent and received images and videos. It’s where you can easily browse through all the memes and puppy videos that you’ve shared with your friend group, or find that important document your boss sent you. Recently, that screen got another tab just for links. The change appeared somewhere between versions 2.12.453 (official Play Store version) and 2.12.486 (latest beta).
The tab is a reverse chronological list of all the shared links in a one-on-one or group chat, and each link has a rich preview top part and a lower part with the message it was actually sent in. Tapping the preview immediately opens the link in your browser, whereas tapping the bottom takes you to the message so you can star, share, delete, or view the context in which it was shared. It’s a very useful way to quickly glance through the interesting links you’ve sent or received and find that one article you want to check again or share with someone else.
Easy link copying
One of the most annoying things in past versions of WhatsApp was that you couldn’t copy a URL by tapping and holding on it. You could long tap as much as you wanted, you still wouldn’t get anything out of it. Instead, you had to tap and hold the entire message it was sent in, and then you could copy or forward that. The drawback was that you ended up with the entire contents of the message, including all the ramblings that came with it, not just the URL. This behavior has changed as well.
Added sometime between version 2.12.453 and 2.12.486 is the option to tap and hold on a link and have it immediately copied. You could then go and paste the URL anywhere else on your phone, without any of the text that came with it. That’s a really small detail, but if I had a penny for each time I mistakenly long tapped a link to copy it only to realize I had to copy the whole message instead, I’d have about 10 bucks now. Not a billionaire, but still, that makes it a thousand times that this silly thing has annoyed me and I’m happy it won’t anymore.
Changes to conversation clearing
Apparently, conversation clearing is a thing on WhatsApp. (Whatcha afraid of, people?) I had always thought that the easiest way to get rid of messages would be to completely delete an entire chat, but it seems that most users like going to the overflow menu in a conversation and then tapping More > Clear chat to remove all messages but keep the chat in their history. I don’t understand why, but it’s a thing that people do. Anyway, there are a couple of changes in that clearing option now.
First, at some point in the past couple of months, clearing became more granular, allowing you to delete all messages or only those that are older than 30 days or 6 months. I guess that makes more sense if you only want to remove old messages from the app and declutter a bit.
Second, also somewhere between version 2.12.453 and 2.12.486, a checkbox was added to keep starred messages when clearing a chat. That’s a nice addition because you may not want to lose that important address or information that was sent to you, even if you are ready to let go of the rest of the conversation.
Your best bet to have all of these options available is to be on version 2.12.486 of WhatsApp, which you can grab from APK Mirror or by joining the new official Play Store beta.