WhatsApp adds new features to the calling experience, including support for 32-person video calls

WhatsApp updated the video calling experience across devices on Thursday by introducing screen sharing with audio support and a new speaker spotlight feature. It's also increasing the limit for video call participants to up to 32 people.

In August last year, WhatsApp introduced screen-sharing support for video calls. The instant messaging app has now enhanced that experience by enabling support to share audio alongside your screen. This will let you watch videos with your contacts on a WhatsApp call.

The other significant update that WhatsApp has made to its video calling is the expanded limit, which allows users to have up to 32 people on a single video call across devices. Before this update, WhatsApp had a 32-participant limit on mobile devices, while users on Windows and macOS could add up to 16 and 8 participants, respectively.

WhatsApp video calling updates bring screen sharing with audio and speaker spotlight
WhatsApp video calling updates bring screen sharing with audio and speaker spotlight

WhatsApp's expanded video calling support across devices aligns with Apple's FaceTime, which also allows iPhone and iPad users to have up to 32 participants on video calls. However, Google Meet and Zoom allow users to have up to 100 people even when they are on the basic tier.

The latest slew of updates on WhatsApp also brings the speaker spotlight to automatically highlight the participant who's talking on a video call and make them appear first on the screen.

Additionally, WhatsApp parent Meta introduced the Meta Low Bitrate (MLow) codec on WhatsApp to improve call reliability even if the user has poor network connectivity or uses an older device. It comes as a significant upgrade to the open source codec Opus, which Meta earlier deployed across its real-time communication products. The proprietary codec is rated to deliver twice the audio quality of Opus even while keeping 10% lower computational complexity than that of the open source codec.

MLow is already available on Instagram and Messenger calls and is now rolling out on WhatsApp to enhance the calling experience across Meta platforms.

Alongside MLow, WhatsApp said in a blog post that it will roll out all the latest calling-related updates to all eligible users over the next few weeks.