WhatsApp beta 2.17.397 brings a bunch of interesting features, including new emojis in the app’s keyboard

If you are a fun of new WhatsApp features, you should be part of the app’s beta program already.

Like a bunch of other Android apps, the popular chat app has an official beta page in the Google Play Store where interested parties can join and be among the first to receive new features whenever they are released.

For instance, those using the latest WhatsApp beta 2.17.396, which has since been updated to v2.17.397, have a bunch of new features to enjoy – features that the stable version 2.17.351 doesn’t have just yet. If you are using the newest version 2.17.397, you should be able to notice new emojis on the app’s keyboard. This feature has been on trial for quite some time now, but back then, it wasn’t available via the WhatsApp keyboard.

Starting with WhatsApp beta version 2.17.396, users of the app who are also group admins should be able to see something new – a new icon for the “Add participant” option in the Group info. In the newer version 2.17.397, the app has received a new category just below it where group admins can “Search participant”, but this feature will reportedly not be visible for small groups. What exactly WhatsApp wants group admins to use this feature for is still unknown, but it’s possible it could be a way of helping them easily search for the name of a participant in order to remove them from the group, for instance.

Given that this feature will not be visible to small groups, it’s also possible that WhatsApp is lining up an update that will increase the limit of participants from 250 to maybe 1000 or more.

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As pointed out, these features are still limited to the beta version of WhatsApp. This means that those using the standard version will have to wait a bit longer before they start enjoying the same features, perhaps days or even weeks. To join the beta program, visit this Play Store page. You can also watch out for the latest versions as they are uploaded on the APK Mirror, but you’ll have to download and install them manually.

Hillary Keverenge

Still working on my bio. Meanwhile, you can trust me, I'm a tech-savvy dude. Find me on Twitter @raskeverenge