How to use message reactions on WhatsApp

Phone calls died in 2010, giving way to SMS. Social media apps then spelled the death of both SMS and human interaction. The emoji and, more specifically, its use as a substitute for meaningful conversation in messaging apps is but the latest way to pull us even further apart. Regardless of the inevitable downfall of society that will result, we can all agree that message reactions in WhatsApp couldn’t come a moment sooner. Messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and even Google’s recently-implemented RCS all feature seamless message reactions. Let’s have a look at how WhatsApp’s message reactions work, and how you can (maybe) get to try them out yourself.

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Who can use WhatsApp message reactions?

For the time being, Meta is only allowing select WhatsApp beta testers to access the message reactions feature. The beta program is closed for now (although you can keep an eye on the Google Play Store page for the beta program), but if you are already a WhatsApp beta tester, you should download WhatsApp beta version 2.22.8.3 for Android from the Play Store, or APKMirror. Even if you are a beta tester, reactions are a limited roll-out, so you may still not be able to use the feature.

How do you react to a message in WhatsApp?

Message reactions were confirmed by WhatsApp’s head, Will Cathcart, in a video over on Twitter, and on the WhatsApp blog. Long-time users of other Meta messaging services, or pretty much any other major messaging platform, will find message reactions intuitive. In case you’re not familiar with Facebook Messenger or Instagram’s messaging interface, reacting to a message is simple — just follow these steps:


  1. Open the chat where the message you want to react to is located.
  2. Press and hold on the message you received and want to react to.
  3. A pop-up will appear with 6 emoji you can use to react.
  4. Select one of the 6 emoji in the pop-up to use that as the reaction.
  5. Your message reaction will appear below the message you previously selected.

At launch, there will only be 6 emoji available, but after the feature launches, WhatsApp will add support for all emoji and skin tones that you can normally use in messages.

According to WABetaInfo, WhatsApp is also beta testing a feature to enable or disable notifications for reactions to messages you’ve sent. You can locate the reaction notifications toggle under Settings -> Notifications as a toggle called Response Notifications.

You can see Will Cathcart’s Tweet and video confirming and demonstrating WhatsApp message reactions below:

https://twitter.com/wcathcart/status/1514620654204596226

Message reactions in WhatsApp are an easy way to eliminate unnecessary clutter that results from the current practice of sending emoji as reactions to messages — we’ve all been in those group chats and received back-to-back notification alerts because the whole group thought your aunt’s cat was the cutest thing around.

If you’re not one of the lucky few with WhatsApp message notifications, don’t despair. Get a head start with Google Messages emoji!

As previously mentioned, message reactions are still being beta tested by select beta testers, so you may not see it just yet. This article will be updated as the feature develops and launches to the public.


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