Video calling had recently been spotted in beta versions of the Facebook-owned chat service on Android, but the feature is now becoming available across all platforms.
Tapping the call button in the top right corner of an open chat thread now brings up the option to initiate a voice or video call. During video calls, users see typical options like switching between front-facing and rear-facing camera, muting the call, or hanging up.
The addition of video calling to WhatsApp aligns the service with Facebook Messenger, Viber, Google Duo, and other chat apps which already include the feature. However, WhatsApp's huge user base and cross-platform support gives it a significant advantage over similar services such as FaceTime, which currently only works on Apple devices, and Google Duo, which only works on later versions of iOS and Android.
"We obviously try to be in tune with what our users want," said WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum, speaking to Reuters. "We're obsessed with making sure that voice and video work well even on low-end phones."
WhatsApp recently tested two-factor authentication in beta versions of the app, suggesting the next update could have a significant security focus. WhatsApp rolled out end-to-end encryption on the platform earlier this year, making it impossible for the company or state authorities to gain access to the contents of messages.
WhatsApp is available as a free download on the App Store [Direct Link] for iPhone.