In early March,2015 WhatsApp rolled out its newly added feature of audio call to only handful of Android users with some time-framed window to invite others to enable audio call. But on 31st March, 2015 WhatsApp made it available for all Android users. For iPhone users, they need to wait for at least couple of weeks as confirmed by Brian Acton, Co-founder WhatsApp.
If it is enabled in your mobile you will see three tabbed layout like this:
We tested with various versions of WhatsApp in Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone, iPhone and here is what we found:
- Android: 2.12.19 (auto enabled audio call) and for 2.12.5, 2.12.10, 2.12.14 version we had to call once to make audio call feature enabled.
- Blackberry: 2.11.179 (worked)
- iPhone: 2.11.16 is the latest version available in iOS market and didn’t work. It worked in jailbroked iPhone running 18.104.22.1684 beta version
- Windows Phone: Didn’t work even in latest WhatsApp version i.e. 2.11.680
- Symbion : We didn’t test this one.
Here are some screenshots how it would look:
Things to know before calling or receiving WhatsApp audio Call:
- Service is free but you need to have internet connection enabled in any form like 2G, 3G or Wi-Fi
- When you receive a call or calls someone using internet (VoIP), it can be chargeable, based on your Internet plan except for the users who are having unlimited data usage plan. So, be careful if you are mobile network as it consumes good amount of data.
- If you have unlimited broadband Internet plans, the only thing you need to worry is if the voice calling feature will work properly on lower speeds once the FUP limit is exhausted. Beamtele rocks in this case 😉 (ACT Fibre now)
- Similarly, users of 2G and 3G data plans who have exhausted their allowed data will have to pay very good amount after that point for each KB used while talking through this audio feature. It can go up to as high as Rs. 0.10 per 10KB on 2G and Rs. 0.04 per 10KB on 3G (plan depends on data provider)
Issues which you may face with Audio Call feature in WhatsApp:
- Delay in voice and some echo persists- It is fully working with 2G as well apart from 3G and Brodband(Wifi) but when you are using mobile network, you may get voice delay and sometimes echo will be there. This is kind of irritating and it’s not good to call through mobile network yet. Therefore we will recommend you to use a WiFi instead of a Data Network.
- Call is not going but getting the calling tone: You may encounter this issues with this latest feature if you are using bad Wi-Fi or poor data network signal. This may happen if the user is not having proper version installed in his/her mobile. We observed that it will ring at your end like a normal call but on other side he/she will only receive a notification indicating a missed call. This is really I personally didn’t like.
- WhatsApp call feature still not activated– What if you have updated to the latest version from its official site of from play store or whatever is official store for your OS. But still, you are not getting this feature enabled. Well, try to find someone who has this feature enabled to call you back. Sometimes, it works but not 100% sure.
It will take a lot of time to figure out the problem that this is not the issue at your end but may be at whatsapp end due to various OS and other technical things. So always check your whatsapp version first before trying the voice call.
Words of Caution
A lot of people are waiting impatiently for WhatsApp’s voice calling feature and it seems some people are using this as a social engineering tool to befool them. We have shared a detailed analysis here
The message reads, “Hey, I am inviting you to try WhatsApp calling click here to activate now -> some_hoax_url”. Do not click on this link – as we noted earlier the only way to activate WhatsApp calling is to be running the latest version of the Android app and to receive a voice call from someone who already has the service.
We have explained even that the message is a spam and an attempt to get users to fill a survey form or visit their blog site unnecessarily. So, beware of all such spam messages and try to stay away from such messages and enjoy WhatsApp voice calling safely.