Among the many features WhatsApp offers is support for voice calls, including group calls, allowing users to call friends and family through the app over an internet connection. These voice calls can be one-on-one or with multiple users in a group. WhatsApp is not the only Facebook app that has support for voice calls. Facebook Messenger also has support for voice calls in addition to video calls, as does Instagram.
While there are no special requirements for a device to be able to make WhatsApp voice calls, the feature is not available in every country. A handful of countries such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have blocked the ability to make calls with the app. The reason for the ban varies from country to country, but in the case of the UAE, voice (and video) calls are banned to encourage residents to use local carriers instead.
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With WhatsApp, users can make group voice calls to converse with several people simultaneously. The maximum number of participants on a group voice call is currently eight, but WhatsApp recently announced that it would soon support up to 32 participants, a four-fold increase. The increase will benefit groups with a lot of participants, but the figure is still lower than what is available on some competing apps. In defense of this, WhatsApp has said its “focus is on supporting the groups that are part of our daily lives”.
WhatsApp Group Voice Call Restrictions
Making a group call on WhatsApp is simple, and any member of the group can initiate the call. For groups with a smaller number of users — 32 or fewer — a receiver icon will be visible at the top right corner of the screen. Tapping it will initiate a voice call to all of the members of the group. The first seven people who answer can join the call. For groups with more than 32 participants, the receiver icon at the corner will have a “+” symbol. Tapping on it will allow users to choose participants for the voice call. Users will be able to choose between one and the maximum number of supported participants.
Although WhatsApp has increased the number of participants for group voice calls, users won’t be able to enjoy this on the desktop app. This is because only one-on-one calls (voice and video) are supported on the desktop version of the messaging app. However, WhatsApp did say back in 2021 that it is working on bringing support for group calls to the desktop app in the future. In addition to increasing the number of participants on a group call, other features that are coming to WhatsApp soon include Reactions (emoji), Admin Delete which gives group admins the ability to delete messages from any member, and an increase in the file-sharing limit from 100MB to 2GB.