WhatsApp releases voice and video calling feature for desktop client

Last updated on Mar 05, 2021, 10:35 am
WhatsApp releases voice and video calling feature for desktop client

WhatsApp has released the long-awaited voice and video calling feature for the app's desktop version. The feature doesn't yet support group calls, but it is optimized to work in both portrait and landscape orientations. The messaging service claims that calls will be end-to-end encrypted. It is aggressively releasing new features this week, seemingly in a bid to retain users after the privacy policy fiasco.

Just like mobile

Almost all features of mobile calling have been carried over

The voice and video calling feature works just like the mobile app. It is available on the WhatsApp Desktop and WhatsApp Web platforms. During calls, a floating window will appear which WhatsApp has designed to stay on top of all other applications. Just like the mobile app, switching from a voice call to a video call and vice versa is also supported.

System requirements

Phone must also remain connected to the internet during calls

For the feature to work, you will need to be running Windows 10 64-bit version 1903 or newer and macOS 10.13 or newer. WhatsApp also needs access to your camera, speakers, and microphone. The company clarified that your phone must remain connected to the internet for the duration of the call. This is because WhatsApp Desktop syncs messages using your phone.

Bummer

Can't use smartphone as webcam/mic for WhatsApp Desktop calls

WhatsApp clarifies that virtual audio and video devices aren't supported. Since webcams are selling at inflated prices during the pandemic, many people use their phone as a wireless webcam/mic. Such arrangements won't work for WhatsApp Desktop because a wireless connection sends a data stream to your computer over Wi-Fi. So, your computer's drivers don't detect the audio/video device as physical input.

Saving face

New features being deployed to counter privacy policy backlash

Despite our best efforts, we couldn't get the feature to work, even after following WhatsApp's troubleshooting guide. Giving benefit of doubt, we will call these teething troubles as the feature rolls out. However, new WhatsApp features are being announced in an apparent last ditch attempt to retain users. WhatsApp continues to bleed users as the deadline to implement its hotly-debated privacy policy nears.

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