WhatsApp Readies Message Reactions for iPhone and Android

WhatsApp's plan to bring iMessage-style message reactions to the massively popular chat platform appears to be entering its final stages, based on new screenshots shared by WABetaInfo.

Whatsapp Feature
WhatsApp has been working on message reactions – or "Tapbacks" in Apple Messages parlance – for some time, with evidence of their development first coming to light last summer.

The feature gives messaging app users a quick and easy way to respond to a message (a thumbs-up or thumbs-down in iMessage, for example) without having to type out a lengthier text-based reply.

Early hints that message reactions are coming to WhatsApp suggested the functionality and appearance of the feature hadn't been properly fleshed out, but the latest images give users a better idea of how they're likely to work.

Similar to Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp users will see a row of emoji just above a message, although it's not immediately clear from the pictures whether this is after a long press or the tap of a new button.

The six emoji currently present include thumbs up, heart, face with tears of joy, face with open mouth, crying face, and folded hands. When a reaction is chosen, it appears in a smaller profile below the message.

whatsapp message reactions

Image credit: WABetaInfo

Notably, Facebook Messenger includes a plus button in its reaction options to access a full emoji picker, but currently this doesn't appear in the WhatsApp screenshots and it's not known if one will be added in time.

According to WABetainfo, WhatsApp plans to bring the message reactions to WhatsApp on both iOS and Android, possibly in an upcoming beta before being rolled out to the general public. The app specialist also adds that reactions will be end-to-end encrypted, just like messages shared over the platform.

Top Rated Comments

TwoBytes Avatar
9 months ago
I don't get how Messenger and WhatsApp are the same company and they can't with ease just copy a feature from one app to the other with ease - or better yet, unify the apps so it's just one platform and works and put all the development into that so it works rather than release simple features after years...
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
prest1ge Avatar
9 months ago

I don't get how Messenger and WhatsApp are the same company and they can't with ease just copy a feature from one app to the other with ease - or better yet, unify the apps so it's just one platform and works and put all the development into that so it works rather than release simple features after years...
Being owned by the same parent company doesn’t mean that the products automatically merge. Just because GM owns both Chevrolet and Buik, doesn’t mean the Corvette’s drivetrain can easily be made to work with the Enclave.

Meta owns WhatsApp, but WhatsApp is recognized as its own company and therefore has a non-trivial degree of autonomy. WhatsApp’s main focus is user data privacy (via e2ee) and reliability. Being the most widely used chat application by far (with over 2 billion monthly active users), it needs to be very careful when deciding what new features to build without sacrificing its primary focuses. When your user base is smaller, you have more freedom to take risks.

Also, Messenger and WhatsApp are built on completely different technology stacks by completely different teams of engineers. Migrating a feature from one app to another is far from being a simple cut-and-paste job. There is a huge time and risk cost to adding a new feature. My guess is that WhatsApp didn’t migrate the message reaction feature from Messenger; they probably built their own from ground up.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CarlJ Avatar
9 months ago

What’s up in WhatsApp? Facebook knows. Nothing of value is ever really free. If you think they aren’t listening you’re not paying attention.
Actually, plenty of things of value can be really free, including a lot of the underpinnings of software you use every day. Take a look at Unix, Linux, and many of the projects on GitHub.

But, yeah, if someone releases software that requires back-end servers to make it work (where the servers and maintenance and electricity and internet bandwidth are ongoing costs), I want to know what their funding model is before I use that software.

I'm more comfortable using Apple's Messages, where their funding model is quite clear (they charge a lot up front and also offer paid services like iCloud) than using FaceBook's Messenger (which they let everybody use "for free").
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DanteHicks79 Avatar
9 months ago

Being owned by the same parent company doesn’t mean that the products automatically merge. Just because GM owns both Chevrolet and Buik, doesn’t mean the Corvette’s drivetrain can easily be made to work with the Enclave.
Actually, that was the entire point of GM for decades. The frame/base (in some case, even drivetrain) for cars was shared across all the makes, and then the bodies were from coach builders, with really only the power plant being made by the actual brand - but even then, there was a decent amount of crossover on parts/components. The Fleetwood from Cadillac was literally made by a company called Fleetwood, as far as body goes.

Most modern automobiles also share tons of components across lines/divisions. All a Lexus is is a Toyota with an additional 5-10k stamped on the price tag and different exterior styling. Functionally, they're more or less identical cars. It extends to international makers, as well. Ford/Mazda/Mercury, Nissan/Infinity, etc.

Bad analogy, there.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dabi Avatar
9 months ago

I don't get how Messenger and WhatsApp are the same company and they can't with ease just copy a feature from one app to the other with ease - or better yet, unify the apps so it's just one platform and works and put all the development into that so it works rather than release simple features after years...
Different apps with different code bases and reasons to exist. Messenger is more of a chat platform tied to personal Facebook accounts, Whatsapp is more of a universal phone number based chatting platform. They can and should coexist imo.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
HideAndSeek Avatar
9 months ago
It always amazes me, how slow WhatsApp is in their whole development... No Tablet or Watch App, no Polls integrated, ...
The feature to decouple from Phones took YEARS to roll out and it is still in Beta.

I don't know.. I kinda want WhatsApp to die, but just about everyone uses it here. Nothing else is even remotely close.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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