WhatsApp now lets you preview voice messages before you send them

Is this thing on?
person listening to phone standing in front of neon lights looking displeased

The face you make when you realize your 5-minute voice message is just a jumble of ambient noise. yang miao / Unsplash

Love them or hate them, voice messages are an essential part of any messaging app. They allow you to easily convey what you want to say when you can’t type, and short of a phone call, there’s no better way to pry for all the details of your friend’s date last night. 

Most apps have a voice message feature and allow users to listen back on the snippets before hitting send. This prevents them from sending recordings that are hardly audible or worse—messages that are just minutes of silence. 

Up until recently, WhatsApp didn’t have a playback option. But this week Meta updated its messaging app for iOS, Android, and the web to allow you to check your recordings before hitting send. The feature is currently rolling out for mobile, so if it hasn’t hit your device yet, check your app store for an update.

How to listen back to a voice message on WhatsApp 

To record a voice message on WhatsApp, tap and hold the microphone icon and say your piece. Both on mobile and on the web, you’ll find the button to the right of the text field. To activate hands-free recording on the mobile app, tap and hold the microphone icon and drag it upward to lock it in place. On the web, just click on the icon and record.

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Before WhatsApp’s latest update, the message would send automatically the second you let go of it unless you locked that mic button. Now, when you release your finger, the recording will stop but your message will wait for you as a draft until you’re ready to send. 

In the meantime, you can listen back to your voice message to make sure you didn’t say anything bad, that a truck didn’t drown out your voice, or that the recording isn’t just the sound of your phone in your pocket because your headphone’s mic was off. 

If you’re on WhatsApp’s web client, you’ll also be able to add more to your message. When you click on the mic button, the recording will start and the icon will immediately turn into a pause button—click it to stop recording. When you do, the button will turn back into a microphone. Click on it again, and continue recording as many times as you want before sending. 

Unfortunately, you can’t do the same on mobile. When you hit record on the Android and iOS apps, the microphone icon will turn into a stop button. Once you tap it, your options will be to listen to your message by tapping the play button, send it, or delete it completely. 

This new feature will allow you to send better voice messages, which will only up your chances of people listening to them on the other end. Just don’t abuse the privilege by sending them entire podcasts.