WhatsApp is ready to help most of you silence annoying spam calls

WhatsApp is taking a more proactive approach to filtering out spam as it may soon begin automatically silencing calls from unknown numbers.

The feature is fittingly called Silence Unknown Callers, according to WABetaInfo, giving users the choice of whether or not they want phone calls from people outside of their contacts. It’ll find its home in the settings menu where it can be toggled on or off at any time. Once activated, WhatsApp will no longer alert users to calls from random numbers, but the Caller ID can still be found in both the calls list and notifications center if you really want to know who it was.

As WABetaInfo points out, Silence Unknown Callers could also be addressing a flaw in WhatsApp’s Communities feature. The problem is anyone in a group can get other people’s numbers pretty easily either by contacting the Community creator or an admin to then start spam calling everyone. On the flip side, the full list of participants in a Community and their numbers are visible to the creator so even they can take advantage of the situation. Reporting and blocking certainly work, however, there’s nothing in the way to stop the first wave of spam; at least for now.

You can try out Silence Unknown Callers yourself by downloading the latest WhatsApp beta for Android which you can do by joining the Google Play Store beta program. It’s unknown at this time whether or not the feature will make its way to iOS nor do we know its official launch date.

In the works

Alongside Silence Unknown Callers, WhatsApp is currently testing a variety of other new features for Android. The big one is a new split view on tablets allowing the chat list to appear when opening a chat, status tabs, or making a call. It looks similar to the browser version of WhatsApp. Additionally, the beta will allow users to try out the redesigned Status tab now supporting Newsletters, the platform’s other big upcoming feature. 

There are a few changes for WhatsApp for iPhones, but they’re a lot less impactful. Arguably the biggest change in the iOS beta is the redesigned chat attachment menu which is already present on the Android app. And a new sticker maker tool that turns images into stickers. Not much for iOS owners right now, but at least you recently got an exclusive picture-in-picture mode for video calls.

Be sure to check out TechRadar’s recently updated list of the best antivirus apps for Android if you want to know how you can boost security. 

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Google Meet arms hosts with tools to silence disruptive attendees

Keeping your meetings on track in Google Meet is about to get a whole lot easier as Google has added the ability to lock audio and video in its video conferencing software.

Previously the feature was only available when using Google Meet on a computer but now the company has made it possible for hosts and co-hosts to lock all participants' audio and video from iOS devices.  According to an update in the Google Workspace blog though, Google also plans to make this feature available for Android smartphones early next year.

By giving hosts and co-host the ability to mute all participants' audio and preventing them from using their cameras, it will be easier to keep meetings on track and productive as there will be less disruptions.

Audio Lock & Video Lock

Google Meet's new Audio Lock & Video Lock setting applies to all devices regardless of whether it's set on a computer or an iOS device.

However, when this feature is enabled, mobile participants may be removed from a meeting if their device doesn't have the most recent version of the Meet or Gmail app, Android OS version M or newer or iOS version 12 or newer. Once the feature has been disabled though, these removed participants will be able to rejoin a meeting.

It's also worth noting that this feature is available to all Google Workspace customers as well as all G Suite Basic and Business customers.

While employees, managers and partners are a bit better at quieting down in a meeting, Audio Lock & Video Lock could be particularly useful for teachers and educators conducting remote learning classes using Google Meet.

Looking to improve your video call experience? Check out our roundups of the best video conferencing softwarebest business webcams and best headsets for conference calls

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