Instant messaging app WhatsApp is bringing back the text status feature, which had been removed in favour of a photo-and video-based Status feature in February. The latest update, being rolled out for Android phones now, re-adds text-based updates as well.
Once you download the update on your phone, open WhatsApp and tap on the Settings option, head to the “About and phone number” section and set a text status—just as you used to before. You can set a text-based status, or choose from default status options such as Available, Busy and Urgently call only.
The Status feature which had rolled out in February had an uncanny resemblance with rival messaging platform Snapchat’s Stories, which allowed users to share photos, animated GIFs or short videos overlaid with text, scribbles, doodles and even emojis which would be visible to friends you share with, for 24 hours, before disappearing automatically. However, not everyone was a fan, and many users preferred the older feature. Now, both options will be available in sync, and a user can choose the one they prefer.
WhatsApp is by far the most popular instant messaging app for smartphones globally. According to the latest numbers by research firm Statista, as of January 2017, WhatsApp has 1.2 billion active users globally. This is a steady increase from 700 million active users the instant messenger had at the same time last year. Rivals such as WeChat (846 million), Snapchat (300 million) and Skype (300 million) are far behind, and WhatsApp’s only real rival is Facebook’s own messenger, which has about 1 billion active users globally.
The re-addition of the basic status feature is now rolling out for the Android devices, and the app update can be downloaded from the Play Store. The same update will be available for Apple’s iPhones soon, though no specific date is available as yet.