WhatsApp is rolling out Read Later. With this feature, users are not bothered by new message notifications, but you can continue reading right from where you left off. It’s not clear yet when Read Later will roll out for all WhatsApp users.
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WhatsApp ‘Read Later’ feature on the way
The feature, which is currently under development, was noticed by WABetaInfo. The website regularly dives into the source code of WhatsApp test versions and knows first which new functions will be added. Read Later lets you read chats later, as can be expected based on the name, and replaces the current option to archive conversations.
You use Read later when you want to stay informed about a WhatsApp conversation, but not now. As soon as you activate the function, the app ‘puts’ a virtual bookmark so you know where you left off. The relevant chat will then be placed at the top of the chat app and you will not receive notifications of new messages in the conversation.
Instead, the chat you turned on Read Later on will move to the top of WhatsApp. Once you have time, you can tap on the conversation and continue reading from where you left off. The function works according to WABetaInfo for both individual and group conversations. Of course you can turn off Read Later again in due course. As soon as you do this, the (group) conversation will return to the ‘normal’ chat list of WhatsApp.
A turbulent time for WhatsApp
WhatsApp is currently in troubled waters. The chat app has started sharing user data with Facebook, the parent company. This policy change only applies to non-European users of the app: nothing will change for the Dutch.
However, the further integration with Facebook has ensured that WhatsApp alternatives have gained momentum. Chat apps like Signal and Telegram, which place more value on user privacy, have topped the download lists in the app stores in recent weeks.