Reportedly, WhatsApp is currently developing a feature that will allow users to react to statuses with their personalized avatars, alongside the standard emoji reactions. This new capability is being tested in the beta version 18.104.22.168 of the Android app, according to leaked screenshots and information from WABetaInfo.
More Personalized Than Emojis
Unlike the universal nature of emojis, avatar reactions would add a more personalized touch when reacting to friends’ statuses. Users would be able to choose from eight different avatars, matching the number of emoji options currently available. This feature follows the rollout of emoji status reactions last year, which became available on Android first.
Slow Rollout in Testing
While the avatar reaction feature is present in the latest Android beta, it does not appear to be widely available to testers yet. WABetaInfo claims only a limited subset of beta users can access the capability currently. This indicates a slow rollout by WhatsApp to fine-tune the feature before making it more widely usable.
Part of Broader Visual Refresh
The avatar reactions represent one of several recent visual enhancements introduced by WhatsApp, alongside new animations when switching chat media types and support for sharing high-resolution photos and videos. These upgrades modernize the app’s imaging capabilities and interactive elements. The personalized avatar reactions align with this broader visual refresh.
Matching Pace With Rivals
Adding more engaging reaction options enables WhatsApp to match pace with rival messaging platforms that also offer more personalized reactions. With over 2 billion monthly active users, WhatsApp must continuously evolve its feature set to meet expectations. Avatar reactions provide a distinct, identity-focused way to respond to statuses.
Expanding Beyond Text Reactions
Currently, reacting to statuses on WhatsApp is a text-only affair, using emoji as icons. Allowing reactions tied to a user’s personalized avatar and identity represents an expansion into more visual interactivity. As avatars become a bigger part of WhatsApp’s interface under parent company Meta, utilizing them as reactions is a logical next step.
Path to Public Rollout
Based on typical WhatsApp rollout patterns, the avatar reactions capability is likely to appear for more beta testers in future updates. Once any issues are resolved, it will graduate to public release first on Android, before coming to iOS and WhatsApp Web. This gradual rollout enables WhatsApp to catch any problems before wide exposure.
Part of Meta’s Avatar Strategy
Enabling avatar reactions also aligns with parent company Meta’s broader push for users to create personalized avatars across its apps. Alongside acquisitions like Giphy, Meta is prioritizing visual self-expression and digital identity. WhatsApp’s new avatar reactions feature slots right into this corporate strategy.
Giving Users More Choices
Fundamentally, adding avatar reactions provides WhatsApp users with more diverse choices when interacting with friends and contacts. Between emojis and avatars, users can select the reaction style that best matches the tone they want to convey. More options make conversations more nuanced and expressive.
Frequently Asked Questions
When will avatar reactions launch?
There is no set launch date yet, as the capability remains in early testing. It likely won’t launch for several more months at the earliest, first on Android, before eventually coming to iOS and WhatsApp Web.
Can I use avatar reactions now?
No, unless you are part of the very small number of beta testers who have access. The feature will gradually roll out to more testers over time, but isn’t publicly released yet.
Will emoji reactions go away?
No, the standard emoji reactions will remain available as an alternative option alongside avatar reactions once this new capability launches. Users will be able to choose either style.
Do I need to create my avatar first?
Yes, you will need to set up a personalized WhatsApp avatar through your profile settings before being able to use it as a status reaction. The feature will likely prompt users to create an avatar if they haven’t already.
Can I use any avatar I want?
You can only select from the default personalized avatars generated through WhatsApp’s profile features. There is no option to upload a custom avatar from outside platforms.
|WhatsApp Monthly Active Users||Over 2 billion|
|Emoji Reaction Options||8|
|Avatar Reaction Options in Testing||8|
|Android Version With Avatar Reactions||22.214.171.124 (beta)|