WhatsApp users are getting a great free upgrade for smarter sharing

A new beta feature should mean an end to media sharing misinterpretations

(Image credit: Meta)

It looks like WhatsApp users are getting an upgrade many of us have been wishing for. A new feature, Description for Forwarded Messages, has been spotted in the latest app betas and should appear in the final app imminently.

The feature, spotted by the app trackers at WABetaInfo, solves a simple but quite annoying issue with media sharing in the app. At the moment, when you send forwarded media such as a video, an image, a GIF or a document the app doesn't let you customise the caption that describes it; you can only remove it. And if you do, that can lead to misunderstandings, especially if you're trying to be funny. With the new feature you'll be able to ensure that your message, as well as your media, is received loud and clear.

What's different in the new WhatsApp sharing?

According to WABetaInfo, the new beta enables you to add a custom description by removing the original caption and replacing it with your own. It then sends the revised caption as a separate message. You could do that manually, of course, but it's one less tap. 

It's not the only WhatsApp update. Last week there was a big update to the main app – as in, not beta versions – with improved account protection, device verification to help authenticate your phone and verify that your conversation is encrypted. 

The big update I'm looking forward to isn't ready yet: it's "a new, faster app for Mac desktops that is currently in the early stages of beta". As much as I like WhatsApp on my phone it's not so great on my Mac, so that's one update that can't come quickly enough. 

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; her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, was shortlisted for the British Book Awards. When she’s not scribbling, Carrie is the singer in Glaswegian rock band Unquiet Mind (unquietmindmusic).