Android and iPhone users just got a great free WhatsApp upgrade

Communities is rolling out from today, and there are useful improvements to group chats, too

WhatsApp generic snap
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Great news for users of the best Android phones and best iPhones comes courtesy of WhatsApp, which has just confirmed that its long-promised Communities feature is now rolling out to all users of those handsets.

As confirmed on the official WhatsApp blog, Communities is designed for private groups – think clubs, schools and other reasonably sized communities – to communicate more easily, and it features a selection of tools for making announcements and sharing important information.

It's a powerful feature, with support for sub-groups so you can have groups within larger groups so you can have different messaging for different sections. Communications are also encrypted so your discussions can't be intercepted by others, and there are some fun tools such as emoji reactions and easy file sharing of files up to 2GB.

The new features are rolling out from today, and there are also some improvements for those of us who won't be using Communities too.

WhatsApp communities

(Image credit: Meta)

New features to make WhatsApp group chats better

Meta has also announced that it's introducing Polls, which it describes as "a fun and effective way to make decisions in a group without spamming everyone in the chat". And you can now have video chats with up to 32 people at once.

WhatsApp has also upped the maximum size of groups: you can now have 1024 users, and you'll have access to the same improved file sharing and admin deletion tools as Communities admins.

The new features are available for iPhones and Android phones and should be rolling out imminently: I don't see the updated app in the Apple App Store just yet but it should appear shortly.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (