WhatsApp rolling out screen-sharing during video calls feature – taking on Zoom now?

Leonard Sengere Avatar
WhatsApp voice note to text pause record

I realised that I understand iOS users. They look at Android the same way I look at Telegram as a WhatsApp user. I see the other side get new features first, sometimes years earlier like in today’s case – yet, the thought of switching sides never enters my mind.

The few times that I’m even aware of Telegram’s new features all I think to myself is, “I can’t wait for that to come to WhatsApp.” Then I rejoice when the turtle that is WhatsApp finally gets the features.

Screen sharing

One of the most useful features in video chat apps is the ability to share your screen.It allows one to flex their PowerPoint skills even in a virtual meeting. We abuse this feature here at Techzim.

The likes of Zoom and Teams have had this feature for years, I’m familiar with Zoom’s. You’re not going to believe this but Telegram has also had the feature for about 2 years now. Okay, you believe it, but 2 years? – and WhatsApp is only getting it now.

Yes, WhatsApp is rolling out Screen Sharing. This means you will be able to share your screen with your video chat participants. You can do this in personal video chats or on group video calls.

To use the screen-sharing feature on WhatsApp, simply tap the new icon in the call control screen. You simply start a video call like you normally would and once you’re on the call you can tap on the new Screen Sharing icon on the bottom bar that has the End Call button.

WhatsApp screen sharing

Source: WABetaInfo

Before you panic, you won’t accidentally turn screen sharing on and have everyone see what you get up to during meetings. You will be asked if you’re sure you want to share your screen. You also can stop the screen sharing anytime you want and switch back to your camera.

Of the screen sharing, WhatsApp warns you that:

WhatsApp will have access to all of the information that is visible on your screen or played from your device while recording or casting. This includes information such as passwords, payment details, photos, messages, and audio that you play.

Limitations on WhatsApp

Naturally, the feature won’t be available on old versions of the app. You will have to update WhatsApp to use the feature. Remember, WhatsApp rolls out these updates slowly so do not panic if you don’t see the feature even after updating, it will come.

The feature will also not work when the other participant is using an old version of WhatsApp. In a one-on-one chat, you both need to have an updated WhatsApp for the feature to work.

It is not clear yet how it will work in group video chats. Will everyone with an updated app be able to see the shared screen whilst the rest see a black screen? Or does having one person with an outdated app break it for everyone? We shall find out in time.

WABetaInfo advises that Screen Sharing might not work in large group calls too. That would be a shame as Telegram’s screen sharing works even in a video chat with 1000 participants. We will have to test out WhatsApp to see just what their limit is.

WhatsApp coming for Zoom?

In the third world, WhatsApp reigns supreme. I don’t care who you are but if you have a smartphone, you have WhatsApp installed on it.

Zoom has not quite reached that level of ubiquity. You still have to ask whether someone has Zoom or Teams when you want to video chat. You don’t have to ask if they have WhatsApp.

WhatsApp allows up to 32 participants to join a WhatsApp group voice call. That is more than enough for most people in most cases. It really is becoming a decent Zoom alternative.

While Scheduling meeting is still better on Zoom, WhatsApp now allows the sharing of links and that is good enough when paired with Google Calendar scheduling.

WhatsApp still has to work on a text chat option that’s open to all participants in a group video call like Zoom has. That text chat as the video call goes on is pretty important. You can’t be expected to create a new group to chat in every time you have an ad-hoc meeting.

As WhatsApp continues getting new features, it will keep encroaching on some other apps’ turfs. We shall see how it all plays out.

Also read:

WhatsApp now allows locking individual chats behind a passcode/fingerprint

You can now use the same WhatsApp account on four smartphones at the same time

WhatsApp replacing numbers with usernames, introducing expiring groups and more

9 comments

  1. Tonderai

    All of them are becoming Skype.

    1. Imi Vanhu Musadaro

      Skype seems to have a 1 developer on its team. It used to be the best collaboration app, now you can send a person a message and they won’t receive it till they open the app. It’s worse than sending a letter. šŸ˜‚

  2. Isaac

    WhatsApp is doing good especially for us Zimbabweans. I think one feature that’s lacking is ChatGPT šŸ‘€

  3. Kirk

    Just because a feature exists in some random app doesn’t mean it should be incorporated into WhatsApp. Who cares if others are sharing screens?

    1. Smart_Money_Concepts

      Telegram is not a random app šŸ’”

  4. Kingsley_Bwanali

    2 days ago I just downloaded an update of our ordinary WA ,to my shock they just changed the interface like the Chats-Status-Calls tabs are now at the bottom what’s that and to my disappointment I can’t even find that option to choose my favourite interface(The all time WhatsApp Thingy)

  5. Techxog

    WhatsApp is becoming telegram, by the this could be helpfull

  6. Nissyfargo

    FaceTime added screen sharing a while ago . iOS users can also watch movies and play the same movies . Iā€™m happy WhatsApp is getting it but the video quality on WhatsApp is terrible

  7. Chiaroveggenza

    I can’t seem to find the feature. Have updated the application to no avail.

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