The new feature appears inside the Group Settings tab of your WhatsApp group chats. The new feature is called Send Messages, and lets you shut people out from your group convo.
WhatsApp has granted group admins the power to block annoying people from sending messages inside group chats. An update to the app allows admins to flick a switch that means only other admins can send messages to a group.
Messages will still appear for normal participants, but they will not be allowed to send any themselves unless they are upgraded to admin status.
The update began rolling out to WhatsApp users on Android and iOS worldwide today – though you may have to wait a few days before it reaches your device. To activate the new feature, make sure your smartphone is updated with the latest software put out by WhatsApp.
Once downloaded, head to the group settings of a chat for which you have admin permissions – which can be granted to you by another admin.
From here, you can block normal participants from messaging the group by selecting ‘only admins’.
A message will appear in the chat that reads: ‘You changed this group’s settings to allow only admins to send messages to this group.’
You can reverse this change by heading to the same tab and instead tapping ‘all participants’.
Once activated, members of your group will no longer see the text input bar at the bottom of their screen.
Instead, a messages appears that reads ‘Only admins can send messages.’
The feature is limited to a broad block for all group participants for the time being, meaning admins cannot take messaging priveleges from individual members.
This could help to limit the number of annoying messages you recieve by culling the number of people who can contribute to a group chat.
‘Restricted Groups’ first emerged as a test feature in December 2017, spotted by WABetaInfo in beta versions of WhatsApp for iOS and Android.
The site noted that a notification will appear in the chat, stating: ‘[Admin name] allowed only admins to send messages to this group.’
A blog by WABetaInfo explained: ‘When administrators disable the chat features, only they can interact each other in the group: this may happen when an administrator wants to get the attention of all participants, writing something important or to organise an event.’
Thankfully, the silencing isn’t believed to be permanent, and admins can only apply the restricted setting every 72 hours.
WhatsApp has introduced a number of new features to grant group admins additional powers over their chats.
The firm released an update in April that allowed admins to remove somebody who had recently been promoted to admin status. Previously, those who wanted to remove an admin from a group conversation would have to remove them from the chat entirely.