Update 09/13: Added a statement from a WhatsApp spokesperson about privacy concerns.

WhatsApp is developing a new feature for iOS users that will help those who don’t like listening to long audio messages on the app.

According to WABetaInfo, WhatsApp is working on a new voice message transcription that will be done entirely on the user’s device, so WhatsApp and Facebook won’t be able to access these messages.

The publication notes that user’s voice messages will also help Apple to improve its speech recognition technology and it’s a totally optional feature.

As you can see in the prints below, here’s the notification WhatsApp will send when you use voice message transcription for the first time:

“WhatsApp” Would Like to Access Speech Recognition

Speech data from this app will be sent to Apple to process your requests. This will also help Apple improve its speech recognition technology.

Transcribe voice messages.

After accepting the app to access speech recognition, users will be able to try the transcription service with a new “Transcript” section where users can also jump to a specific timestamp.

WABetaInfo says the “when a message is transcripted for the first time, its transcription is saved locally in the WhatsApp database, so it won’t be needed to transcript it again if you want to see its transcription later.”

As this feature is still under the very early stages of development, there are no plans of launching this function any time soon. Even though, the system is being designed in such a way that is consistent with end-to-end encryption to retain personal message privacy and security.

WhatsApp even shared a statement with 9to5Mac about this new feature:

We’re in the very early stages of designing and prototyping voice message transcription. We’re a long way from being able to offer this feature but if we do roll it out, it will be protected by end-to-end encryption.”

What do you think about the voice message transcription feature? Will it improve your WhatsApp use? Tell us in the comment section below.


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José Adorno

Brazilian tech Journalist. Author at 9to5Mac. Previously at tv globo, the main TV broadcaster in Latin America.

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