WhatsApp has added a feature in its Android and iOS apps to save bandwidth when using the VOIP call feature of the messaging app. The Low Data Usage setting adds additional compression to the data to reduce bandwidth usage.
The feature hasn’t been added to the WhatsApp version available in Google’s Play Store. Users that want to test it can download a build that WhatsApp offers on its own website. The feature can be found in the ‘Settings menu’ in ‘Chats and Calls’.
Although the setting only now appears in the public version of WhatsApp for Android, it was already previously spotted in a beta of WhatsApp for iOS, where it can be found on the same place. From version 2.12.5 Low Data Usage can be enabled on iPhones.
First tests show that the Low Data Usage setting saves about 25% in bandwidth while the sound quality hardly degrades. WhatsApp is likely adding the feature to make it possible for more users to make WhatsApp VOIP calls. By reducing the bandwidth consumption it’s better usable on slower connections and more attractive to users with low data bundles.
When the setting will become available to WhatsApp in the Play Store is unknown.