WhatsApp just got a big upgrade for sending video messages

An image showcasing the new instant video message feature on Whatsapp
(Image credit: Meta)

WhatsApp's latest feature now lets you record and send short video clips directly in chats, just as you can with voice messages. While the Meta-owned messaging app has long offered the option of sending videos, instant video messaging makes it faster and easier than ever by removing several steps in the process.

Now, sending an instant video message is just as easy as sending a voice message. Simply tap the voice message icon in the lower-right corner to switch it over to video mode, then hold the button to record a video. You'll also be able to swipe up to lock the screen for hands-free recording.

“Video messages are a real-time way to respond to chats with whatever you want to say and show in 60 seconds,” Meta said in a blog post this week announcing the feature. “We think these will be a fun way to share moments with all the emotion that comes from video, whether it’s wishing someone a happy birthday, laughing at a joke, or bringing good news."

How WhatsApp's instant video messaging works

Video messages can be up to 60 seconds long and will automatically play on mute when the person you sent it to opens a chat. For the sound to start playing, all they'll need to do is tap on the video. That's in contrast to how voice messages work on WhatsApp, as they don't auto-play and have no length restrictions.

Voice messages are all stored within the app itself, so if this new feature works the same way, it should help keep your phone's camera roll clutter-free. And just as with all messages on the platform, these videos are protected by Whatsapp's end-to-end encryption service.

Instant video messaging has been rolling out to WhatsApp users on both iOS and Android and will become available to "everyone in the coming weeks," Meta said.

It's one of several new features and quality-of-life updates WhatsApp has added this year several to keep pace with other messaging apps. For instance, Whatsapp users can now edit messages up to 15 minutes after being sent, just as they can on Telegram and Signal. Though if you're interested in ditching the Meta ecosystem wholesale, check out our picks for the best WhatsApp alternatives.

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Alyse Stanley
News Editor

Alyse Stanley is a news editor at Tom’s Guide overseeing weekend coverage and writing about the latest in tech, gaming and entertainment. Prior to joining Tom’s Guide, Alyse worked as an editor for the Washington Post’s sunsetted video game section, Launcher. She previously led Gizmodo’s weekend news desk, where she covered breaking tech news — everything from the latest spec rumors and gadget launches to social media policy and cybersecurity threats.  She has also written game reviews and features as a freelance reporter for outlets like Polygon, Unwinnable, and Rock, Paper, Shotgun. She’s a big fan of horror movies, cartoons, and miniature painting.