In a useful upcoming feature, WhatsApp will allow users to share files like photos, videos and documents between each other even without an internet connection. The messaging platform popularly used by over 2 billion people worldwide is testing this offline file transfer ability. Here are more details on how the new feature is expected to function.

WhatsApp to Get New Feature

Currently, WhatsApp requires an internet connection to send and receive files from contacts. However, a new screenshot from the latest Android beta version shows the app is working on a method to bypass this dependency. The screenshot provides information on the permissions needed for offline file transfers to operate. 

It says users must grant WhatsApp access to storage, media files and location on their device. They also need to allow the app to connect to other devices on the local network and make themselves discoverable to nearby users. However, all permissions can be revoked later if not needed.

The screenshot suggests there will be a dedicated interface where a user can see all devices within their vicinity that have the feature enabled. They can then select and share photos, videos and other files with those contacts without an active internet connection.

The transfer of files happens directly between the two phones using Bluetooth or WiFi Direct technology. Private contact details are kept hidden throughout. Even without cellular data or WiFi, users can utilize the local network for file exchanges.

WhatsApp confirms all offline transfers will be end-to-end encrypted for maximum security, just like online messages and calls. Only the intended recipient can access the shared files once downloaded. Location and other metadata is not stored either. 

Currently the version works only for one particular group of beta users. The wider deployment that is coming within the next weeks after the pilots and feedback. The sharing of files through offline mode will be very helpful in areas where there is no reliable internet connection or internet availability is not high.

It will be interesting to see when the stable version of a WhatsApp for Android and iOS will add this feature. The preview shows the entrance the platform tries to make interactions easier and possible even without the internet via the different unique integrations.

In summary, the WhatsApp application will enable sharing files offline via nearby devices using Bluetooth and WiFi Direct, while keeping transfers encrypted.