WhatsApp is no stranger to new features and additions to its settings, and that’s just what Channels represent – a new way to use WhatsApp that has been in testing for quite a long time.
Now finally rolling out more widely, we’ve gathered all the key information you need about Channels, right here, to explain what they are and how they work.
What are WhatsApp Channels?
WhatsApp Channels work a little bit like following a page does on Facebook – rather than being “Friends” with an individual, that is.
So, Channels give you the opportunity to effectively sign up for updates from organisations, creators, and communities without anyone else having to know that you’re doing so.
So, for example, you could follow the Liverpool FC Channel (if and when it gets created) to get updates from the football club with whatever frequency its admins choose. However, there might also be a Channel for a Supporters’ Group in your area, as a further example of how you could find more local options.
How do WhatsApp Channels work?
Once Channels go live in your area, you’ll be able to search a directory of Channels to join, filtered for your location or not depending on your preferences.
When you join a WhatsApp Channel, while the Channel’s admins will get a notification, they won’t get access to your phone number or details.
You’ll then get new messages whenever admins post in the Channel, much as you would from a contact, except in a new tab at the bottom of WhatsApp called Updates.
You can review these posts whenever you like. You’ll be able to react with emojis and see how others are reacting, but your contacts won’t be able to see your precise reactions, even if they’re in the same Channel.
Messages, images and other posts disappear after 30 days, and admins can limit the forwarding of messages or files if they desire, to keep Channels more tightly controlled.
Where are WhatsApp Channels live?
WhatsApp Channels has been spreading around the world slowly as WhatsApp takes the reins off – it started with limited tests in Colombia and Singapore, but is now confirmed to be launching worldwide.
As with almost every major new WhatsApp feature, there might still be some variance in exactly when you get access to the feature, though.
Be sure to keep your app up to date, and watch out for that new Updates tab at the bottom. It’s probably your best clue that your app is now running the version that includes Channels.