WhatsApp’s swipeable navigation bar has arrived on Android — here’s how to use it

WhatsApp has released an update that adds a handy navigation bar for Android users at the bottom of the app. The new bottom bar design should allow for more straightforward navigation through the app, making it faster to get to new messages and other functions offered by the Meta-owned chat app. Additionally, the update adheres to the Material Design guidelines on Android, so it’ll look good with the rest of the OS.

New navigation bar in WhatsApp

The feature was available in beta for some time. Now, it’s finally coming to the stable WhatsApp channel, as announced by WhatsApp on X. That means all users will be able to enjoy smoother navigation within the popular app. The bar had a bit of a rocky road to get here, as it appeared in the app’s beta channel in June, disappearing shortly after. It returned in September, disappeared again, and appeared in the beta channel about a week ago.

The navigation bar has four tabs. You can quickly switch between Chats, Updates, Communities, and Calls, which are the application’s primary functions. The old menu featured Chats, Updates, and Calls more prominently, while Communities was smaller and not as noticeable.

WhatsApp described the new bottom menu bar as “closer to your thumbs and easy on the eyes,” and I’d agree with that assessment. I’ve grown used to navigating apps with a menu on the bottom of the screen, as most are switching that way. With larger phones, reaching the top of the screen can be a pain, so having the buttons on the bottom lets you get where you need to go quickly and efficiently.

WhatsApp users are already seeing the new menu bar, so download the latest version of the app on your device, and you’ll be good to go.

Other WhatsApp beta features

WhatsApp beta testers have also spotted some other new features coming to the app. For example, there’s a new Suggested Contacts section in the Chats tab, which sounds like a cool way to find people you might know (as if we don’t already get enough messages across the various chat apps).

If you want to try out the beta channel of WhatsApp for yourself to test out the latest features, you can check it out on the app’s store page on Google Play. However, as of this writing, it says the beta pool is full, and WhatsApp isn’t currently accepting additional testers. It might be worth bookmarking that page to see if you can get in at a future time.

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