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WhatsApp's secret weapon against Zoom is live — how to try it now

WhatsApp
(Image credit: Anadolu Agency / Getty Images)

It's finally here: WhatsApp has officially rolled out eight-person video calls for iOS and Android users around the world. 

Last week we learned the most recent WhatsApp beta for both mobile platforms raised the video call user limit from four to eight people, making it a more viable alternative to the best video chat apps like Zoom and Skype.

The raised WhatsApp call participant limit rolled out for iPhone users in an update earlier this week, and as of now, eight-person calls are available to Android users  too.

WhatsApp said in a blog post yesterday (April 28) announcing the new feature that social distancing and the fact that more people around the world are staying home incited the change. 

The free messaging app, which is especially popular for saving money on international communication, can let up to eight people hold video calls at any time once everyone has updated.

Competitors like Skype, Google Hangouts and Zoom are still preferred for larger virtual gatherings or work-related meetings. But for those who rely on WhatsApp for staying in touch with far-away friends and family, the boost to video-chat call capacity is welcomed.

Facebook Portal also supports WhatsApp, meaning you can bring your video chats to your TV or Portal smart display. Here's how to set up the Facebook Portal to get started calling your loved ones while stuck at home. (We presume the raised limit will also work on the Mac and Windows WhatsApp desktop clients, since those require that you have the mobile app installed first.)

How to group video chat with 8 users on WhatsApp

According to WhatsApp, anyone who has updated their app should have support for eight-person video calls. Let your friends and family members know to update WhatsApp now on their iPhone or Android phone if they haven't already. Send them this guide on how to update WhatsApp for help.

To start your group video chat, select 'Calls' from the bottom menu bar and click the call icon in the upper right corner of WhatsApp. Tap 'New Group Call' above your contact list. Search or scroll through your contacts to add up to seven more call participants. 

Once you're settled on your group video chat posse, tap the camera icon to initiate a video call.

Looking for more WhatsApp hacks? Here's how to get WhatsApp dark mode and how to make calls on WhatsApp.