WhatsApp’s great free upgrade helps you find things faster

WhatsApp chat filters
(Image credit: WhatsApp)

I sometimes imagine the WhatsApp development team's workspace is rather like the rowing deck of a pirate ship, the app experts sweating over their keyboards as Mark Zuckerberg cracks a whip and demands they work faster. The reality probably involves less chains and more Post-It notes, but there's no doubt that the WhatsApp team is constantly updating the app at a dizzying rate. And now there's another big free update that promises to make your messaging life more useful: chat filters. The update is rolling out now but as ever with new WhatsApp features it'll take a little time to reach every user.

As the name suggests, the new chat filters feature is designed to filter your messages so that you can find what you want more quickly. For now there are three new filters to choose from, enabling to to filter your messages into unread only, by groups, or to show everything. More filtering options will follow.

The goal here is speed when you're trying to find stuff on your phone: instead of scrolling endlessly to try and find what a friend sent you or check the schedule that was posted to your shared group chat, you can quickly narrow down the messages you see and get to what you want more quickly. 

Why chat filters are a useful upgrade

If your WhatsApp inbox and chat history is anything like mine it's a busy and often overcrowded space, so being able to tune out some of the noise is useful: using the group filter means I can hide all the messages from friends and family so I can find what I'm looking for among my group chat archive. That particular feature also shows subgroups for any Communities you're part of. WhatsApp says that group filtering was "highly requested"

The other two options are straightforward enough: Unread shows either messages you haven't opened as well as any messages you've reset as unread, while All turns off the filters and brings back your inbox in all its chaos.

WhatsApp says that the new filters are rolling out from today and should reach everybody over the next few weeks. 

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 (havrmusic.com).