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WhatsApp rolls out eight-person video calls to iOS and Android

WhatsApp rolls out eight-person video calls to iOS and Android
(Image credit: WhatsApp)

Keeping in touch with your family and friends is tough at the moment as we’re all stuck in lockdown waiting for the coronavirus pandemic to blow over, but the latest update to WhatsApp should make things a little easier. Starting from today, WhatsApp users will now be able to have up to eight people in a video or voice call, which doubles the previous limit of four. This means you should be able to fit the whole family into a single video call.

To start using WhatsApp for eight-person calls, everyone who wants to participate will need to download the latest update to their WhatsApp app. So, if you’re having troubles with someone connecting to the call, make sure they’ve got the latest version. The update is available on both iOS and Android.

The change should allow WhatsApp to better compete with other video call and messaging services out there like Zoom, Skype, and Teams, which all already had larger occupancy limits. Since the COVID-19 outbreak began, video calling services have seen a huge spike in popularity.

What's App, Doc?

Another popular video calling service, Zoom, has seen astronomical growth since the start of the pandemic, with its user base skyrocketing from 10 million up to over 200 million people. WhatsApp itself has seen gains too, with a statement on its website claiming that its averaging around 15 billion minutes worth of calls per month - if you were to record and listen to all of that non-stop, it would take you 47 years to get through it. You could get halfway through Guns N’ Roses’ November Rain in that time.

One of the main reasons for this explosion in popularity in video calling apps is their versatility and ease of use. All you need is an appropriate device, such as one of the  best laptops, tablets, or smartphones and you’re good to go. There’s also dedicated video calling devices, such as Facebook’s Portal range if you want something that’s affordable and simple to use.