WhatsApp has updated its iOS app on Tuesday to let users incorporate voice-activated controls into their usage. For those with iOS 10 installed, you’ll be able to use Siri to not only send messages, but also place WhatsApp calls. By doing so, it simplifies the communication process without you even needing to type a single letter.
iOS 10 began rolling out to users today complete with Siri support for third-party integrations and the Facebook-owned messaging service is taking advantage. When enabled, you simply summon Siri and tell it to call or message someone (e.g., “Hey Siri, text Jordan Novet on WhatsApp”). Make sure that you enable the controls within your phone’s settings iOS will prompt you to grant it access.
Siri will guide you through the process step-by-step, what’s the message you want to send, who you want to connect with, and confirming everything at the end. In initial tests, Siri appeared to recognize names it was given.
Currently only WhatsApp supports this Siri integration, but it’s likely that Facebook could roll this out to its other messaging powerhouse: Facebook Messenger. When we tried with Messenger, Siri responded with a message saying that “[Facebook] Messenger hasn’t set that up with me yet.”
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Other updates to WhatsApp include being able to answer voice calls right from your lock screen as if it were a standard phone call. The company has also added a widget to let you jump to recent chats or see unread messages. If you’re forwarding messages, the app now lets you send multiple chats simultaneously and chats you frequently contact now appear automatically.
You’ll need to download the latest version of WhatsApp to use Siri-enabled voice controls. This new capability should give you the freedom to easily communicate without having to stare down at your phone and type out messages. Which, if you think about it, seems to be a much faster way to talk to someone.