WhatsApp is flipping a switch that will let users send higher-quality “HD” images on the messaging platform. “Sharing photos on WhatsApp just got an upgrade,” Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced via his Meta broadcast channel on Instagram. “Now you can send in HD.”
The feature is rolling out worldwide over the next few weeks, so users with the feature can send higher-quality and higher-resolution images (likely still compressed from the original) from Android, iOS, or the web, and recipients on any platform will see a small icon that indicates it as such. According to Meta, support for HD videos is coming soon after.
Once users get the new feature, they’ll see an “HD” gear icon when adding an image to a message thread, as first seen in beta versions shared in screenshots by WABetaInfo. The publication noted that the feature first came to beta testers on version 188.8.131.52 for iOS and version 184.108.40.206 for Android.
In the example shown by WABetaInfo, the “photo quality” menu appears after tapping the HD icon. It gives two resolution options: standard quality (1600 x 1052) and HD quality (4096 x 2692). Meta hasn’t mentioned specifics about how compressed the images will be overall and how they will look when compared to sending images over Apple’s iMessage or any other competing platform. The higher-quality images will fall under the same WhatsApp end-to-end encryption defaults, too.
On slow connections, recipients will be able to choose to keep either the standard quality version or upgrade to HD. Also, the standard quality transmission will remain the default for senders, delaying the inevitable need to clear space in your phone storage after receiving too many images in the group chat.