Like most major social platforms, WhatsApp is moving towards localized administration with its new big update. The instant messaging app released a new update that authorizes group admins to prevent group members from sending text messages, voice messages, photographs, videos, GIFs, or documents whenever they see fit.

The new version of WhatsApp is available if you’re an Android user and here if you’re an iOS user. The version you need to access all of the aforementioned features is 2.18.142. Alternatively, you can download the APK from here if you prefer to download it manually.

Group Admins Are More Powerful

Although granting complete administration authorities is popular among social media giants, i.e. group admins on Facebook and subreddit admins on Reddit, few instant messaging platforms decided to embrace a similar approach. With the new update, WhatsApp could be spearheading a new wave of change among instant messaging applications.

The latest update also gives administrators the authority to block group members from editing a group’s description, icon, or subject. The new setting can be found in ‘Admin Settings’ under the title ‘Group Info’. Administrators can keep sharing files and chatting normally as they restrict other members. The restricted members will be able to see all the messages as they normally would but they will not be able to respond.

Once restricted, any message or file the restricted user attempts to share will have to be sent via the ‘Message Admin’ button. The admin will have full control to either permit or deny the restricted user’s message. If the group administrator chooses to permit the message, the other group members will be able to see it as they normally would.

Other New Features

In addition to the new admin privileges, the new update brings two long-awaited features to the popular app, namely Catch-Up and Participant Search. Catch-Up will allow users to jump to replies or mentions right away instead of having to sift through large numbers of messages whenever they return to a group chat. The new feature can be accessed via a floating @ button in the bottom right corner.

The Participant Research feature is another new quality-of-life improvement geared towards group members. The feature allows users to search group members by name and it can be found on the group info screen. The new addition comes very handy for members of groups with a large number of members.

The last feature introduced in the new update is an optional safeguard that prevents users from repeatedly adding a specific number to a group they already left. Now, users can opt-in to deny others the ability to add them to any group they don’t wish to be a part of. This particular feature was already part of the beta branch but it has been officially rolled out with the new update.

Lastly, it’s important to note that some of the features mentioned above are only available on an opt-in/opt-out basis. Users need to go through the settings and turn on some of these new features if they wish to use them. All information about the new update can be found in WhatsApp’s blog post.

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