WhatsApp has added a new feature that lets you tag people in conversations and essentially make it impossible to mute group chats.
If a group conversation was distracting you it was possible to mute it for eight hours, one week or one year. But the update means that if someone uses the @ symbol followed by your name it will still send you a message.
You can even tag multiple contacts in a single message, as well as contacts that aren’t saved in your address book but are part of the same group chat, further reducing the chance of getting some peace and quiet.
It is unclear exactly why WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, has done this as the ability to mute chats is often useful and taking away a much-used feature appears something of a backward step.
The new feature is rolling out to WhatsApp for iOS and Android, but isn't yet available on the desktop version.
The update also expands group sizes from up to 100 to 256 participants.
It is unclear exactly why WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, has done this as the ability to mute chats is often useful.
The move comes amid an increase in attention on messaging services used by consumers. Apple added a huge set of new features to iMessage with the iOS 10 update, including animations, stickers, artwork and even the ability to send hand drawn notes.
The new version of WhatsApp also lets you answer Siri calls from the lock screen, while a new lock screen widget lets you jump to recent chats and unread messages.
You can also now tap on the screen to switch between the front and rear cameras.
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