If you find that your WhatsApp friends have an over reliance on animated GIFs, then you may find an upcoming change to the messaging platform a little too much. The Facebook-owned company has added animated stickers in its latest beta, but even if you’re in the beta programme you may not see one for a while.
Why is that? Well, according to WABetaInfo (opens in new tab), WhatsApp is introducing the feature slowly in three stages. The first stage – where we are right now – is that users can view and save stickers, but only if they’re sent one – and currently there just aren’t that many people with stickers to send on. The rate at which the stickers spread will depend on just how appealing the stickers are then, I guess.
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Eventually we’ll reach stage two which opens things up quite a bit. Here, WhatsApp users are free to download animated sticker packs from third parties in much the same way they do with non-animated stickers now. Finally, in stage three, WhatsApp will incorporate its own animated sticker packs directly from the WhatsApp store where everyone is free to nab them.
What do animated stickers look like? Well, they’re some way between a regular sticker and a GIF. WABetaInfo has an example of one which you can look at – an anthropomorphic avocado dropping its stone where, biologically implausibly, its face resides. Unlike WhatsApp’s implementation of GIFs, these play once without looping.
Currently the chances of you receiving an animated sticker are very low because there’s just not that many people with stickers to send. But to have any chance at all, you have to enroll in the beta program. You can do that on Android here, but the iOS version is currently booked up, so you’ll just have to wait for it to reach a full release.