It is over a year and a half since WhatsApp announced the start of a rollout of a feature that would see users restrict who could add them to groups, a common headache for many. While that did come to pass, it wasn’t in the way we thought.
The feature ended up being restricted to users in India alone while the rest of the world was left to its own devices.
That changes today with the feature currently available on the most recent versions of WhatsApp beta.
Version 2.19.298 of WhatsApp beta on Android is receiving a remote activation of WhatsApp’s updated privacy controls which bring with them new group settings.
Those that are already enrolled in the beta programme and still don’t have the new group settings, as can be seen in the screengrabs below, will have to do the usual if they don’t want to wait longer to get them: back up their chats then wipe clean the app before re-installing it so that the most recently updated configurations from the server are downloaded and set.
You can also just grab version 2.19.300 from APK Mirror and get going if you aren’t enrolled in the beta or if the above doesn’t yield the desired result. There’s no guarantee that this will work either since it is a server-side update but it is worth a try if you are that impatient.
The feature, which will be available under Settings > Account > Privacy > Groups as WhatsApp had indicated back in April last year, will be rolling out to everyone on the stable release channel of the app over the next few weeks.
While an early version of the group privacy settings available to users in India before today allowed users to choose “Nobody” in the section specifying who can add one to groups, that option has been removed and replaced with “My Contacts Except…”
While the latter option can still be used to achieve the same results as the former option, it is a rather tedious process. Even though one can simply opt to blacklist all their contacts when using this option, that means having to update the exceptions list every other time. Hey, half a loaf…
By default, the “Everyone” option is enabled.
Our fingers are crossed that WhatsApp will soon begin rolling out to the wider public other features it has been testing. Like the ability to use the same WhatsApp account on multiple devices using the app without having to resort to the cumbersome workaround of mirroring already live instances of the app on the Chrome mobile app using WhatsApp Web. Or the Snapchat and Telegram-like disappearing messages we recently reported on.
Inline image from FoneArena.com