WhatsApp is one of the showcase apps for CallKit, Apple’s new framework allowing VoIP calls to integrate with iOS 10’s Phone app and behave like cellular calls. Today, WhatsApp has rolled out its anticipated update which enables integration with Phone and Siri on iOS 10 while bringing out half a dozen other features and improvements like forwarding multiple chats at once, a new iOS 10 widget that lets you go to a recent WhatsApp chat or see which chats have unread messages, and more.
With CallKit support in WhatsApp 2.16.10, VoIP calls sent and received through the service behave like normal cellular or FaceTime calls. For example, if someone gives me a buzz via WhatsApp, the call shows on my iPhone’s Lock screen like any other call complete with the full-screen profile picture and standard Remind Me, Message, Accept and Decline buttons.
That’s quite a change from iOS 9 and earlier, which showed incoming VoIP calls as dull notifications, without any profile picture, contact name or other information displayed whatsoever to make it easier for normals to handle VoIP calls.
From left to right: WhatsApp information shows up in Contacts; in Recents; and Phone’s Favorites (so you can instantly call your favorite WhatsApp contacts).
Next, received and sent WhatsApp calls now register in Phone’s Favorites.
WhatsApp contacts are also integrated with iOS 10’s Contacts app so you can simply tap the big blue Call button at the top of the contact card and select to call them on WhatsApp. Plus, it’s now possible to add WhatsApp contacts to Phone’s Favorites to quickly call them via WhatsApp, from inside the stock Phone app you know and love.
While on the call, WhatsApp shows Mute, Message and Speaker buttons. Oh, and CallKit-enabled VoIP apps no longer tint iOS’s status bar red. The bar is now blue for WhatsApp VoIP calls and you can tap it like you normally would and you’ll be taken to your call inside WhatsApp.
With Siri integration, you can call and message people on WhatsApp just by using your voice. Anywhere I happen to be in iOS, I just press and hold the Home button and say, “Call [CONTACT NAME] on WhatsApp”, “Using WhatsApp, call [CONTACT NAME]” or something along those lines.
Lastly, you can ask Siri to send a message to a WhatsApp contact on your behalf: just say, “Send message to [CONTACT NAME] on WhatsApp saying ‘Meet me up in half an hour’”, or some variation of it, and let Siri do the trick.
Right in the context of the Siri interface, up pops a WhatsApp-branded card with your message. You can then tap to edit the request or hit Send (better yet, respond with a “Yes”) to send it through WhatsApp. Again, just like sending an iMessage through Siri.
Here’s what’s new for Phone in iOS 10.
If you’ve been wondering about this whole Phone/Siri app integration business, I wholeheartedly recommend you download the new WhatsApp update and try out these features for yourself. Your life will never be the same, I promise.
WhatsApp for iOS 2.16.10 changelog
Here’s the official changelog for WhatsApp 2.16.10:
- When forwarding messages, you can now send to multiple chats at once
- Ask Siri to send WhatsApp messages or place WhatsApp calls (iOS 10+)
- Answer WhatsApp calls right from your lock screen, just like a standard phone call (iOS 10+)
- A new Widget lets you quickly jump to a recent chat or see which chats have unread messages (iOS 10+)
- Chats you frequently contact now appear when forwarding or sharing messages
- A new quick forward button on photos and videos in chats
- When taking photos or videos, double tap your screen to switch between the front and rear cameras
If you’re unable to use Siri/Phone with WhatsApp, make sure you’re running iOS 10 on your device and WhatsApp is permitted to use Siri (Settings → Siri → App Support).
WhatsApp is available at no charge from the App Store.