WhatsApp might be one of the more popular messaging apps, but the lack of support for voice calls has been one of the things keeping people switching from apps like Skype or Google Hangouts. Earlier this month the company began sending out invites to try out its new voice call functionality, and now the new feature is available to everyone.
Everyone with Android, that is. This new feature is for the time being available only to users of the Android version of the app, and there is one more catch: you’ll probably need a newer version of the app than the one that’s now available in the Google Play Store. Some people are able to access the feature on older versions of the app, according to Android Police, but running the newest version will ensure its availability.
To install the app, you’ll need to enable “Unknown Sources” in the “Security” area of settings. Then download and install the app from the WhatsApp website. At the time of this writing it isn’t clear if WhatsApp has pushed the feature live universally, or if this was a case of someone flipping a switch at the wrong time, so there is a possibility that you still won’t have access to the feature, but this method has worked for plenty of people.
So far, the voice calling functionality is fairly bare-bones. You can place calls to any of your contacts, but if their version of WhatsApp isn’t compatible, you’ll get a warning saying so. If you call someone who is currently offline, you’ll hear a ring but the person won’t hear anything on their end. Your call will nevertheless be logged as a missed call in the “Calls” tab the next time they connect.
While we know that this feature is also coming to the iOS version of the app, it’s currently unclear when exactly that will be.