WhatsApp launches overdue formatting features, bringing order to chaotic texts

WhatsApp is releasing several new formatting tools to help you manage those long walls of text in group chats.

Triggering one of the new text formats requires you to enter a certain punctuation mark, followed by a space, and then the words themselves. Hyphens let you create a bullet list. A numeral with a period right after establishes a numbered list. Users can even make block quotes by first hitting the Greater Than arrow on the keyboard and then adding a space. To make inline code, you’ll have to press the accent symbol (which is found below the Esc key on most keyboards) followed by a single space. If done correctly, the messages you enter will be reformatted to your specifications. Otherwise, you’ll just see a bunch of random punctuations.

In total, users now have eight different ways to spruce up their conversations on the platform counting the likes of bold, italic, strikethrough, and monospace from years prior.

WhatsApp's new formatting tools

(Image credit: Future)

Finer details

Meta announced the update on social media and via WhatsApp notification; however, they neglected to mention some of the finer details. Not only are the features present in one-on-one chat rooms but also on the platform’s Channels, according to TechCrunch. The tools are available on WhatsApp for Android, iOS, Mac, and web browsers. Do keep in mind the patch is still rolling out so there’s a chance you may not have it on your mobile device. We didn’t get it on our Android, but luckily, it's currently live on the web version.

If you look closely, you’ll notice that we didn’t mention the Windows desktop app. This is because, for whatever reason, the Windows version lacks these features. It’s a rather strange omission especially when you consider the fact that this update has been in the works since August 2023. You’d think Meta would’ve brought it over PC in that time. So we reached out to the company asking for information on a Windows release. We’ll let you know if we hear back.

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Microsoft launches Copilot for iPhones and iPads right after Android

That didn't take long: just days after launching a dedicated Copilot app for Android, Microsoft has restored balance to the universe again by making the same app available for those users who prefer iPhones and iPads.

As initially spotted by The Verge, the Copilot app for iOS and iPadOS seems to be an exact replica of the Android one, and is also free to use. The same rules apply: you can use it in a limited fashion without logging in, but signing into a Microsoft account gives you more prompts and more features (like image generation capabilities).

If you do sign in with a Microsoft account, then you can enable the latest and greatest GPT-4 model from Microsoft's partner OpenAI. Responses will generally be slower but better, and bearing in mind that ChatGPT customers have to pay to get the GPT-4 version, this is a pretty good deal from Microsoft.

While it's a notable move from Microsoft to give Copilot its own app, this hasn't come out of nowhere: pretty much all of the functionality here was previously available in the Bing apps for Android and iOS, so little has changed in terms of what you can do.

Copilot everywhere

If you're completely new to generative AI, these tools can produce text and images based on a few user prompts. You can get Copilot to do anything from write a poem about TechRadar to produce an image of a glowing Apple iPhone.

You can also get Copilot to query the web – if you need party game or travel ideas, for example – and have it explain complex topics in simple terms. It's a bit like a supercharged version of Google Assistant or Siri from Apple.

Microsoft is continuing to push forward quickly with upgrades to Copilot, as it knows that the likes of Apple and Google are busy improving their own generative AI tools. It looks inevitable that AI will be one of the hottest tech trends of 2024.

And if you don't want to install Copilot on your phone, you can find it in plenty of other places too. The same features are still available as part of Bing on the web, and Copilot has also now been added to Windows 11 and Windows 10.

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WhatsApp launches self-destructing voice messages to Android and iOS

WhatsApp is officially giving users the ability to send out temporary voice messages to their contacts.

We say “officially” because this feature has actually been around for the past two months or so although it was in a beta state. People in the beta program were the only ones who had access at the time. Don’t worry about feeling like you missed out because the View Once messages, as they’re called, function exactly the same as before. Meta didn’t make any changes with the official release.

You start by holding down the record button, then swipe up to lock it. Recordings must be locked first in order to make the View Once icon (which is the number one inside the circle) appear in the bottom right-hand corner. Tap it once to activate it and a timer will be attached to the message. Hit Send and you’re done

WhatsApp's new View Once voice messages

(Image credit: Future)

A few limitations

From there, the recipient has two weeks to listen to the recording. You’ll know they’ve listened when the little receipt marker appears below the message. If they ignore it the entire time, WhatsApp will automatically delete it. Do note you’ll be unable to save, share, or forward these self-destructing voice messages. 

It is possible to restore a recording from a backed up chat room, but only if it was never opened in the first place, according to a page on WhatsApp’s support website. If it was already heard, then you’re out of luck. Another one will have to be sent.

The update is currently rolling out globally to all WhatsApp users on Android and iOS devices. Be sure to keep an eye out for the patch when it arrives over the coming days. We reached out to Meta asking if there plans to add the same feature to the desktop app. If you’re not aware, the company gave WhatsApp on desktop the ability to send self-destructing images and videos. Perhaps it’ll also receive support for temporary voice messages. This story will be updated at a later time.

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WhatsApp launches its first native macOS app with group calling support

After what feels like forever, Meta-owned instant messaging platform WhatsApp has finally launched a native macOS app. The new version gives Mac users similar functionality that Windows PC users have enjoyed since March.

The new Mac app is already available for download for free via WhatsApp's servers, but those who prefer to use the Mac App Store might have to wait a little while — WhatsApp says that it's coming soon.

No matter where you download the upgraded WhatsApp app, you'll benefit from new features, including some that have been brought about by the move to a native macOS app. For the first time, familiar Mac features such as drag and drop are available to WhatsApp users. Files can easily be dragged and then dropped into a chat for convenience, while those with longer chat histories will now see more of them, we're told.

More Mac in your app

WhatsApp announced its new app via a blog post, noting that there are improved calling features for those who want to take advantage of them.

“With the new WhatsApp app for Mac, you can now make group calls from your Mac for the first time, connecting with up to 8 people on video calls and up to 32 people on audio calls,” the blog post explains. “Now you can join a group call after it’s started, see your call history and choose to receive incoming call notifications even when the app is closed.”

Alongside the new drag-and-drop support, WhatsApp users can also expect all of the usual features that they're used to. That means that their chats will continue to be end-to-end encrypted, and cross-platform support will continue to make WhatsApp one of the best instant messaging platforms around. In a world where Apple continues to refuse to support RCS on its devices, third-party apps remain a requirement for communicating with people across the Android-iPhone divide.

The new native WhatsApp Mac app can be downloaded from the company's website right now. You'll need macOS 11 Big Sur or later, and you'll need a Mac running on Apple silicon — so that's M1 or later, folks. Don't have a Mac that meets those requirements? WhatsApp web is still available.


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WhatsApp launches on WearOS helping you stay connected without a smartphone

WhatsApp on WearOS is exiting its beta stage as the messaging platform launches its first-ever smartwatch app.

Originally announced during Google I/O 2023, this version allows you to do a lot of the same things as WhatsApp on smartphones. Users can send texts, send voice messages, emojis, and quick replies through a wearable, all without having to connect their phone. It’s a proper, standalone app. You don't have to connect your mobile device to respond to messages although the option does exist. Of course, the end-to-end encryption the platform is known for is present here. Be aware WhatsApp on WearOS is not on par with the other versions. It lacks access to large-scale features like Communities. It can’t even make VoIP (voice over internet protocol) calls, only receive them.

You can install WhatsApp on your smartwatch right now through the Google Play Store. However, there is one catch: the wearable must be fairly recent as it has to be running on WearOS 3. This includes devices like the Pixel Watch or anything from the Galaxy Watch 5 series. People with older watches are out of luck.

It’s unknown if the Apple Watch will ever get its own rendition of WhatsApp. Meta has yet to say anything on the matter. It looks like iOS users will have to go the old-fashioned way of opening WhatsApp on their iPhones if they want to respond to a message. 

Future update

There is more on the way for WearOS. Back in I/O 2023, Google revealed three new Spotify tiles will be “coming soon”. These tiles will allow users to directly “play new episodes of your favorite podcasts,” see what’s in your music rotation, and offer access to a playlist curated by the service’s AI DJ.

The launch of WhatsApp on WearOS comes at a very interesting time because, on July 26, Samsung is holding its second Galaxy Unpacked event. There is a lot of hype surrounding the event because we could see the reveal of the tech giant’s newest foldable phones. Until today, we couldn't say for sure whether or not the Galaxy Watch 6 would be among the announcements. However, the timing of WhatsApp coming to WearOS feels too coincidental.

You see, WhatsApp was originally meant to release on the operating system in the weeks following Google I/O 2023. But it got pushed back a couple of months to the week before Galaxy Unpacked. Considering the fact WhatsApp has billions of users around the world, we can’t help but feel the rollout was delayed in an effort to drive up interest in smartwatches. More specifically, the aforementioned Galaxy Watch 6.

We could be wrong, of course, but, we do hope Samsung’s new flagship wearable does make its debut next week.

In the meantime, be sure to check out TechRadar’s list of the best WearOS devices for 2023. 

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Elon Musk launches xAI startup to, naturally, understand the universe

Billionaire Elon Musk is entering the world of AI – again – as he officially reveals his latest tech business venture,  xAI, which aims to “understand the true nature of the universe.”

Details on what exactly xAI will bring to the industry are unknown at this time. The official website is pretty vague, but we won’t have to wait long to learn more. The company is planning to hold a Twitter Spaces chat this Friday, July 14 where people can join and ask the team questions (hopefully, no one rage quits this time). 

However, there are several clues on the official website indicating the future product or service could be related to generative AI in some way. Looking at the website’s description, the team is stacked with former engineers from major tech companies like Microsoft, Google, OpenAI, as well as Tesla. The work of these experts has led to “some of the largest breakthroughs” and learning techniques in AI. This research has even led to the development of notable LLMs (large language models) like GPT-4.

Fighting misinformation

You may be wondering, “Why is Musk doing this?”

Well, it appears Elon Musk ultimately wants to make his own generative AI with a potentially large emphasis on safety. Since the ChatGPT launch back in November 2022, Musk has been a vocal critic of it and the developer, OpenAI, as well as other similar systems. It’s to the point where, back in late March 2023, Musk, alongside other tech figures, cosigned a letter asking all AI labs across the world to pause training AI models “for at least six months”. The letter urged developers to slow down and implement “safety protocols” to curb misinformation

It is true chatbots do sometimes generate false information. Developers of these systems are trying to figure out a way to combat hallucinations

And we believe that is what Elon Musk is getting at with xAI. He wants a chatbot that doesn’t falsify responses. Musk is even bringing in Dan Hendrycks, the director of the Center for AI Safety, a nonprofit organization that recently published an open letter asking tech leaders to mitigate the “risk of extinction from AI.” Yes, they are talking about literal human extinction as if this is a Terminator movie.

Analysis: Who does this benefit?

What’s in all this for you? Honestly, we don’t know. Sure, you can argue Musk's potential xAI chatbot could be better than ChatGPT or Google Bard because it has special technology to ensure it doesn’t lie. If this were in the hands of anyone else, we would sincerely believe that. But, under Musk’s reign, Twitter has, among other questionable actions, complied with government censorship demands and banned the ElonJet account for posting publicly available data. 

Is factual information really a major concern for the controversial CEO? Musk's actions say otherwise. It’s questionable if such an AI chatbot will even provide truthful answers. Perhaps they'll just be Elon Musk's version of the truth.

Co-founder Greg Yang states the company aims to develop a “theory of everything” enabling “everyone to understand our mathematical universe.” So if you need help with your Philosophy 101 homework, you have the xAI chatbot. 

All jokes aside, it will be interesting to see what comes out of the Twitter Spaces chat on July 14. A generative AI that provides 100 percent accurate information is something the world needs right now. Misinformation is a major problem afflicting many aspects of the world. We just wonder if Elon Musk is the right person to develop it.

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Peloton launches three new app tiers as part of company rebrand

Peloton, best known for its exercise bikes, is undergoing a major rebrand and doubling its software efforts by launching three membership tiers to its mobile app.

The fitness brand now wants to focus more on providing “fitness offerings” that anybody can do at their home or at the gym without having to purchase the company's expensive hardware. Looking at the official trailer, it appears all you need is yourself, a mobile device, and maybe some weights. The app's three new tiers are Peloton App Free, App One, and App Plus; all of which vary in terms of price and what they offer.

As the name suggests, Peloton App Free won’t cost you anything to use. It offers access to over “50 classes curated across 12 of Peloton’s” exercise types. This includes strength training, cardio workouts, and meditation plans. Some classes will be part of a rotating set that’ll change on an “ongoing basis” to keep things interesting. It's unknown, though, how often they will update. A company representative told us “an update cadence has yet to be fully decided”.

Premium tiers

Peloton App One is the first of the paid tiers. For $ 12.99 a month (about £10 and $ 20 AUD) or $ 129 annually (about £100 and $ 200 AUD), you get “unlimited access to thousands of classes across” all sixteen of the brand’s exercise types. This includes everything under the Free tier as well as exclusive content like Yoga classes. Members “can also take up to three equipment-based [classes]” covering indoor bikes, treadmills, and rowers. And to top it all off, App One offers on-demand, live classes nearly every day of the week.

App Plus, as you probably already guessed, is the highest tier. For $ 24 a month (about £20 and $ 36 AUD) or $ 240 annually (about £200 and $ 360 AUD), users gain unlimited access to everything in “Peloton’s vast library”; except for two: Lanebreak and Scenic classes, both of which require specific equipment. App Plus even has exclusive “specialty content” in the form of Challenges, Programs, and Collections.

Beyond the app update, the company is also rolling out Peloton Gym to all five of its exercise tiers. This feature consists of written workout plans aimed at helping you build your strength with an accompanying video to help guide you. According to the post, you can perform those workouts at your own pace so no need to rush through them.


In a recent report by The Verge, Peloton spokesperson Ben Boyd states current Peloton subscribers will be “automatically upgraded to App Plus Membership without a change in price until December 5th, 2023.” After that day, users can choose to pay an “increased price or move [down] to a cheaper tier.” The representative from earlier confirmed this with TechRadar.

The three tiers are currently rolling out to the Peloton app in “all of the brand’s five global markets.” The other two tiers, Peloton Guide and Peloton All-Access, will stay at their current price points.

It'll be interesting to see if Peloton’s gamble pays off. Moving away from the indoor bikes that made them famous is certainly a risky move. However, considering the fact Peloton recently recalled over two million exercise bikes over safety concerns, maybe it’s a good idea to begin diversifying a bit.

Whether you’re planning on exercising more or are already exercising frequently, we recommend buying a fitness tracker to keep tabs on your progress. Be sure to check out TechRadar’s list of the best fitness tracker for 2023

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Adobe rival launches major update update to creative suite

Serif has announced some major upgrades to its Affinity page layout and graphic design software – just six months after unveiling the feature-filled V2 of its award-winning creative suite. 

Dubbed V2.1, the developers are promising “better-than-ever workflow and user experience” thanks to a sweeping combination of new features and smaller, incremental updates. 

And no-one’s left behind, with the all new feature set for Affinity Designer, Affinity Photo, and Affinity Publisher, available across Windows, Mac, and iPad apps.  

What’s new in Affinity V2.1? 

The list of updates and fixes for Affinity V2.1 is vast – we did say it was major – so it’s worth checking out the full release notes.

When it comes to headline items, Affinity Designer’s new Vector Flood Fill tool and Running Headers in Affinity Publisher both make the cut. 

The former lets users fill areas created by intersecting objects and curves with one click. The latter provides a way to add the name of your document’s topic to headers and footers. Users will also finally get support for keyboard shortcuts for changing the blend mode in whatever layers they’re working on. 

Alongside the likes of snappable Vector warp modes and an Auto-select toggle come a raft of smaller tweaks. This includes balanced dash lines, an enhanced cropping tool in its photo editor and Brush Panel improvements based on community feedback. 

“We pay meticulous attention to what our customers tell us their requirements are for improved professional workflow and usability,” said Serif CEO Ashley Hewson. “Sometimes a very small improvement can make a huge difference and give somebody their best experience of using Affinity. All the new features have been requested heavily by our customers, and thousands of those users have helped us put 2.1 through its paces during the beta period.”

Existing Affinity users get the latest update to the design and DTP software completely free. For everyone else, V2.1 is available for a one-off cost that’s surprisingly affordable given the power of the tools. Cheerfully, there’s no subscriptions either. That alone is one of the main reasons why we named Publisher as the best alternatives to Adobe InDesign, while Affinity Photo is a serious contender for best Photoshop alternative. With the latest advances in the creative suite rolling out now, that position is only strengthened.  

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Waze launches a fun nostalgia mode – but is that what we want?

Get ready to jam to some oldies in your car with a clever new event provided by Google-owned Waze navigation. Starting this week, you’ll be able to activate Retro Mode in Waze to change the look of the app and discover music from bygone decades.

In a blog post, Waze cited ‘70s disco, ‘80s Jazzercise, and 90’s computer aesthetics as examples of how you’ll be able to theme your trip. The themes will also come with their own eccentric radio DJ’s to host the radio show and navigate your trip (which sounds awesome or annoying, depending on your mood).

In retro mode, you’ll also be able to change your car’s icon to a flower pot, a 90’s computer, or a Rad Racer sports car for some added fun. 

Waze also partnered with music streaming service TuneIn to provide ‘70s music to the UK, ‘90s hits to the US and Canada, and ‘80s Alive to France. 

To use this new feature, click “My Waze” in the app and tap the “Drive with the ‘80s” banner. The feature is available globally in English, French, and Portuguese. 

Analysis: Some users have other ideas

While this little event seems a fun addition on the surface, many folks who use Waze might prefer some more useful app improvements, instead. The navigation app often does point commuters to shorter routes to get them to destinations faster, but upon browsing the subreddit for the app, we found that some find it a bit buggy, and there are users who believe that development is declining.

A post by a Waze user, though it is a few months old, indicates exactly that. They lament that the app is “progressively worse at routing”, or that the app will change routes mid-drive and add more time to the trip. Users in the comments of the post seem to mostly echo those sentiments, with many others noting that they only use it to “know where the cops and other hazards are”.

This community appears concerned that Google is pushing development aside in favor of Maps, which would make sense given that it is the most popular mobile navigation app in the US. Some users are also dissatisfied with the points system that the app uses to rank reports for relevancy, legitimacy, and to prevent abuse of the system.

So, sure, we'll take a fun ride down memory lane with Waze, but let's also make sure that the old road is the best one – and that it's the shortest distance from 1970s Point A to current 2022 Point B.

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Proton launches a privacy-first alternative to Google Calendar for Android

Building on its VPN and secure email service, Proton has launched an encrypted calendar app for Android as part of its mission to create a better internet where privacy is the default.

Proton Calendar first launched on desktop back in 2020 and last year, the company released a beta version of its encrypted mobile calendar app.

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While securing your calendar may not be the first thing that comes to mind in regard to protecting your privacy, it actually contains loads of personal data including who you meet and where you meet. As this information deserves the same level of protection as your email and files, Proton has stepped up to create the most secure calendar around.

Unlike other calendar apps, all of the event details including event names, participants, locations, notes and descriptions in Proton Calendar are fully encrypted to prevent others from gaining access to your schedule.

Proton Calendar for Android

Proton Calendar for Android includes a full set of advanced features and functionalities so it can easily replace Google Calendar or any other calendar app you may currently be using.

With Proton Calendar installed on your Android smartphone, you can easily switch between day, schedule and month view to see your calendar as you like and Proton has also created a widget which you can add to your home screen for a bird’s eye view of your upcoming events.

Proton has even included both a light and dark mode with the option to easily switch between the two as well as the ability to set multiple reminders on your phone and by email to ensure you’re always on time.

For those interested in switching to Proton Calendar, there are two ways to do so. First off, you can import your existing calendar by using Easy Switch from the settings menu of your ProtonMail account. However, you can also import a local calendar file with the .ics file extension directly into Proton Calendar.

Once your events arrive in Proton Calendar, they are automatically encrypted to help keep your data, plans and whereabouts private.

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