WhatsApp is reportedly testing a new feature that would replace its Archived Chats page with ‘Read Later.’ According to WABetaInfo, the section can be spotted on the WhatsApp beta v184.108.40.206 for Android – nearly two months after it appeared on the iOS beta version. The new Read Later feature will function similar to that of Archived Chats, though it is said to offer an additional functionality. Its exact roll out date for the stable channels remains unclear, at the moment.
The report also contains a screenshot of the Read Later page that reads, “To reduce interruptions, chats with new messages stay here, and you won’t get any notifications.” It is currently under development, and not available to all WhatsApp beta users yet. Unlike WhatsApp Archived Chats, if a chat (individual or group) is hidden under the Read Later page, users would not receive any notifications from the particular chat, the report claims. It is unclear whether users will still receive notifications if the sender has specifically tagged them with ‘@.’ In terms of positioning, it sits exactly where Archived Chats currently sits on the app. Moreover, WhatsApp users can also reportedly turn off Read Later with just a toggle in Chat Settings that would transfer all conversations to the main page automatically.
WhatsApp explains that the Archived Chats feature allows users to hide an individual or group chat from the main page to better organise conversations. The Read Later also offers the same functionality, though the renaming scheme is likely done to make its purpose clearer to users.