07 April 2022
UPDATE (March 23rd, 2022):
WhatsApp message reactions have finally started rolling out to select beta users. It is available with the WhatsApp beta 220.127.116.11 on Android devices. If you are a beta tester and want to check whether you are among the lucky ones, simply update to the latest beta first. The next step is to tap and hold on a particular message and you will see six message reactions. These include Like, Love, Laugh, Suprised, Sad, and Thanks.
Update: September 6, 2021
A few days back, the WhatsApp features tracker famously known as WABetaInfo revealed that WhatsApp is testing message reactions. And, today, the tracker has shared how these message reactions look like.
From the shared screenshot, it appears that, unlike Instagram that requires you to long-press a message to let the emoji reactions tray show up, the one on WhatsApp will work differently. It looks like every message will have an emoji tray below it and you can choose to select the emoji of your choice as a message rection. As evident in the screenshot, you can react with any of the seven emojis available in the tray.
WABetaInfo said the feature is currently under development and it is possible that things change before the release.
Original Post (August 28, 2021)
WhatsApp might soon bring the message reactions so that you do not have to reply every time to a message that doesn’t even require a reply. Currently, we react to a message by quoting it and then sending anything appropriate, from texts, emojis to GIFs. But, a message reaction feature will bring a quick way to react to a message with just an emoji, similar to what we do in Instagram DMs.
It is unknown how this new feature looks like. For comparison, in Instagram DMs, we long press a message and an emoji tray comes up to let you choose from the options. We believe it will work the similar way in WhatsApp messages as well. Currently, long-pressing a message in WhatsApp shows up several options on the top bar. We believe, once the feature becomes available, the long-press gesture will enable message reactions as well.
The feature is not yet ready but the keenly-eyed WABetaInfo was able to see the unripe version of it. The tipster believes the feature will show up to beta testers in the future update.
The screenshot shared by the tipster, however, suggests that the users will have to be running the latest version of WhatsApp in order to see reactions. If the receiver is on the older version, they’ll receive a message telling them to update their WhatsApp app.
Once available, the feature could prove to be really helpful for WhatsApp Groups where we get hundreds of messages every day and replying to every message is not possible. Reacting with a mere emoji quickly will be the best way of replying.