WhatsApp has introduced the ability for users to join a group call that is already in progress. Even if you originally hit “ignore” on a call invitation, you can just head over to the Calls tab and join from there.
Previously, in order to join a group call, you have had to accept the invitation when it was first sent out at the start of the call. That will no longer be the case thanks to new joinable group calls, which according to WhatsApp (opens in new tab) is rolling out now.
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“Today [July 19] we’re introducing the ability to join a group call, even after it’s started. Joinable calls reduce the burden of answering a group call as it starts, and brings the spontaneity and ease of in-person conversations to group calling on WhatsApp," the company said.
In order to support this new feature, there will be refreshed call info screen which will allow you to see who is already on a call before you join. So if that annoying uncle you’d rather not speak to is present, you can always swerve the invitation. This screen will also allow you to see anyone else who has been invited to the call but is yet to join, so you won’t have any nasty surprises mid-call either.
The messaging platform was keen to stress that it will provide the expected level of security and end-to-end encryption to ensure that video calls are still very much kept private. These privacy reassurances come off the back of WhatsApp withholding key features unless users agreed to new, and arguably fairly intrusive, privacy terms earlier this year.
How to join a WhatsApp call that has already begun
Joining a WhatsApp call that has already begun couldn’t be more straightforward. If you missed it or hit “ignore” when the original call invitation was sent out just navigate over to the Calls tab on WhatsApp and you’ll be able to see a list of any ongoing calls that are joinable.
Here you can also see who is currently on the call and who else has an invitation to join mid-call. Simply tap on the call information to join.
You’ll instantly be put into the call and can be brought up to speed on whatever you missed by your friends, family, co-workers, or whoever else you’re meeting with.