Whenever a popular app does a gradual roll out of a major feature, there are bound to be scammers waiting to swoop in and do their thing. This time it’s about WhatsApp’s much hyped, and much awaited video calling feature. We’ve received multiple forwards on WhatsApp about an invitation to enable WhatsApp video calling. This message perpetuates that the only way to enable the video calling feature is to go to the linked website and enable it from there. This of course is total hogwash.
When a user goes to the link showed in the screenshot, it shows a phoney progress bar where the “update” is “installed”. Later, the user is asked to invite 4 friends, and that’s the only way to enable the feature.
Tapping on that button opens WhatsApp, asking the user to spread the spam further.
How To Actually Enable and Use Video Calling
Just yesterday, WhatsApp finally released a new app update that enabled video calling for everyone (along with GIF support) who had the latest version (2.16.17) installed. Once you update the app from the App Store, you’ll be able to make video calls. As simple as that. Currently, only the users (on both iOS and Android) running the latest version of WhatsApp will be able to accept the calls.
Note: WhatsApp has said that this is going to be a staged rollout. So if you don’t see this feature right now, or if it just doesn’t work for you, sit tight, it will in the following days. A scam like the one shown above isn’t going to help you.
To make a video call, open a one to one conversation (group conversations are not supported) and from the top toolbar, beside the person’s name, tap on the “Video” icon shown in the image below. The video call will begin.
Here’s a top tip, during the video call, swipe down and the video will now become a floating circle that you can put dock anywhere on the edges of the screen. You can then continue any text chat on WhatsApp. The floating circle will only stay as long as you’re in the WhatsApp app.
Our First Impressions
We’ve done some preliminary testing and aren’t exactly impressed with the quality of the video calling feature. The stream was grainy, and there was an audio lag. A network monitor showed that at no point durning the video call did the stream cross 200 kbps up/down. This could be because the feature is new and WhatsApp doesn’t have much server capacity. But currently, both Facebook Messenger and FaceTime video calls offer a superior video calling experience (again, based on our own initial testing).