WhatsApp has introduced a new function that should greatly improve group video calls. As the Facebook-owned company announced in a blog post, users will now have the option of joining group calls even after the conversation has started.

The new function will be rolled out gradually, so it may take a while until it is available to all WhatsApp users.

The first indications of this innovation came earlier this month, when it was spotted in beta version 2.21.140.11 on Apple's TestFlight service. As Wabetainfo reported on 13 July, an updated interface enables users to join video calls already in progress.

This new function means that when a group call is started, the invited WhatsApp user no longer has to take part immediately. He or she receives a message about the ongoing group call and can then join it at any time. Once in the group call, the user can hang up at any time and then rejoin again later, as long as the group call exists.

On the new call info screen, the user can see who has been invited to a group call and who is already participating.

How to join a missed group (video) call

If a group call is started, invited WhatsApp users receive a corresponding notification and can join it immediately.

Alternatively, you can tap the Ignore button. Later, you can click on the Calls tab and view ongoing group calls. Tap the one you're interested in, then hit Join.

You can find more information about group calls in WhatsApp's FAQs. Or for more tips, read How to make a group video call in WhatsApp.

This article originally appeared on Macwelt. Translation and additional reporting by David Price.