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WhatsApp now lets you start chatting with someone without adding their number

Published Jul 18th, 2023 11:29AM EDT
Image: WhatsApp

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WhatsApp is adding one of the most requested features for users who don’t like saving every phone number to their Contacts app. As spotted by WABetaInfo, WhatsApp is rolling out the ability to send a message to someone without doing that.

For example, imagine you are online dating and decide to move from Tinder, Hinge, or Bumble to WhatsApp. Previously, you’d need to add that person’s phone number to your Contacts app before you could send them a message. Now, you can just copy and paste their phone number on “Start new chat” and actually start a new chat in the app.

This prevents you from adding several contacts you might not talk to more than once. This is helpful not only for online dating, of course, but journalists that need to contact multiple sources, PR managers, people looking for information from local restaurants or services, and more.

The publication says this feature is rolling out for both iOS and Android users, but it still hasn’t appeared here. As usual, WhatsApp announces a feature, and it takes a few weeks – and sometimes months – to roll out to all users.

WABetaInfo shared an easy way to discover whether this function is already available. “To discover if the feature is available to your WhatsApp account, you need to search for a phone number by opening your contact lists. Specifically, if you use WhatsApp for iOS, tap the button “start new chat” in the chat list and enter the unknown phone number within the search bar. In case the contact is on WhatsApp, you will be able to open the chat with them.”

This function comes amid another important update planned for sometime in the future. WhatsApp is currently working on the ability to add usernames to the platform. That way, you wouldn’t need to know a phone number to chat with someone, just their handle. WABetaInfo says this function “may allow users to communicate with businesses privately, thus safeguarding their phone numbers, or perhaps their usage will be even more extensive, allowing private communication with any user.”

Besides that, the messaging app recently rolled out the ability to add your account to multiple devices, including more than one smartphone at once.

As WhatsApp keeps adding new features to its app, BGR will keep reporting them.

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.