Windows 11's WhatsApp UWP Beta gets another feature as it gets closer to a stable release
While Microsoft may be moving away from universal Windows apps by incorporating WinUI and UWP APIs into Win32 apps, Facebook isn't abandoning it just yet. Last year, Meta-owned Facebook released a new UWP client for WhatsApp on Windows 10 and Windows 11 in beta, and it's been updated regularly with a few things.
WhatsApp UWP is simply called "WhatsApp Beta" and is separate from the web-based WhatsApp desktop which you can already download from the company's website or the Microsoft Store.
Unlike "WhatsApp Desktop", which is a web wrapper supporting notifications and the Start menu, the UWP app is written from scratch and uses XAML with WinUI. It also comes with multi-device support (up to 4), which means it works well even when your phone isn't connected to the internet.
The cleaner app design seems to be inspired by Windows Phone's WhatsApp, but it's more in line with Microsoft's WinUI principles and the web version of WhatsApp. The new design includes an updated header, acrylic effect in the menu, inking support, new settings menu, and more.
The WhatsApp UWP beta received another update with support for a new feature called "Chat Filters". As the name suggests, this feature filters your chat, so you can force the app to only show messages from contacts, non-contacts, groups, or just unread chats.
As you can probably guess, the contacts filter will only show messages from those who are in your WhatsApp contact. Similarly, non-contacts will show messages from those who are not in the contact list, which is especially useful for business users. The other two filters - groups and unread - are also self-explanatory,
Facebook is rolling out the new chat filter feature with WhatsApp Beta 2.2216.4.0, which is the latest version from the Microsoft Store. You can go to the Downloads section of the Microsoft Store and update the app to the latest version.
If you're not using the UWP app, you can still install it from the Microsoft Store as it's an open beta.
In addition to chat filters, Facebook is also reportedly working on reactions for WhatsApp UWP.
This is not a new idea as the ability to react was first added to Facebook and later to Messenger. Like Messenger reactions, WhatsApp's reactions feature aims to make conversations more meaningful and less cluttered by reducing the emojis sent in chat.