While Microsoft may be moving away from universal Windows apps by including WinUI and UWP APIs in Win32 apps, Facebook isn’t stopping there just yet. Last year, Meta-owned Facebook released a new UWP client for WhatsApp on Windows 10 and Windows 11 in beta, and it is regularly updated with a few things.
WhatsApp UWP is simply referred to as “WhatsApp Beta” and is separate from the web-based WhatsApp Desktop that you can already download from the company’s website or the Microsoft Store.
Unlike ‘WhatsApp Desktop’, a web wrapper with support for notifications and the Start menu, the UWP app has been written from scratch and uses XAML with WinUI. It also comes with multi-device support (up to 4) which means it works well even if your phone isn’t connected to the internet.
The cleaner app design seems inspired by Windows Phone’s WhatsApp, but is more in line with Microsoft’s WinUI principles and WhatsApp’s web version. The new design includes an updated header, acrylic effect in the menu, support for inks, a new settings menu and more.
WhatsApp UWP beta has received another update with support for a new feature called ‘Chat Filters’. As the name suggests, this feature filters your conversation so you can force the app to only display messages from contacts, non-contacts, groups, or just unread chats.
As you can probably guess, the contacts filter only shows messages from those who are in your WhatsApp contact. Likewise, non-contacts will show messages from those who are not on the contact list, and this is especially useful for business users. The other two filters – groups and unread – are also self-explanatory,
Facebook is rolling out the new Chat Filter feature with WhatsApp Beta 2.2216.4.0, the latest version in the Microsoft Store. You can go to the Downloads section of the Microsoft Store and update the app to the latest version.
If you are not using the UWP app, you can always install it from the Microsoft Store as it is an open beta.
In addition to chat filters, Facebook would also be working on comments for WhatsApp UWP.
This isn’t a new idea, as the ability to comment was first added to Facebook and later to Messenger. Like Messenger responses, the WhatsApp response feature aims to make conversations more meaningful and less cluttered by reducing emojis sent in chat.