Almost simultaneously, Sina Weibo and WeChat now allow users to edit already-sent messages. iPhones will now be able to handle WeChat voice calls the same way as phone calls and WhatsApp calls with lock screen integration. 

WeChat updates

WeChat version 6.6.0 has several new features that improve its own core functions. For now, the updates are only for iOS.

Edited WeChat post
Users will be able to tap on the recalled post notification to open the edit function. (Image credit: TechNode)

As the clumsy-fingered among us know well, it is possible to call back a mistyped message within WeChat.  This update allows it to be quickly edited and resent.

Messages can also be saved as images in Favorites and then shared with friends via Moments. The whole domain of the Favorites is being tweaked. New functionality will allow users to label messages and then make them sticky in conversations.

WeChat voice calls will now come through to the lock screen on iPhones if the phone is locked. This ends the maddening sequence of having to unlock the phone and open WeChat to accept the call before the caller hangs up.

This integration has been available via CallKit, a developer kit for iOS, since iOS 10. WeChat’s stablemate QQ was the first Chinese app to integrate the kit, in September 2016. As our Chinese sister site reported, this functionality disappeared for seven months and the speculation was that there was a disagreement between QQ owner Tencent and China’s mobile networks over lost revenue. This could be the reason why iPhones bought in China do not have the FaceTime audio feature.

Over 200 million WeChat calls are connected every day. We expect this update to see that figure rise steeply.

Payment transactions will be searchable within chat searches and overall search-ability of chat histories will be improved, though as yet we are not sure how this will work. Users can now set a reminder function attached to messages (our testing finds that this works less well when using the desktop version as it silently appears just on your phone). Other improvements for iPhone X users and iPad users are also part of the update.

Weibo updates

Sina Weibo has also released an edit function for sent messages. Instead of having to delete and resend a message, with the knock-on impact on discussion and sharing, the update allows a posting to be updated where it is. A notification will show that a message has been updated and it will also be possible to see a history of revisions to a post via the dropdown menu.

Edited Weibo post
已编辑 or ‘Edited’ will appear on posts that have been altered (Image credit: Sina Weibo)

Text and images can be edited, but not videos or attachments. Editing does not republish the post in the writer or readers’ feeds. The time will also stay at the original post’s time

Weibo edit history
Weibo users can view all the revisions to a post. Both the text and image have been altered in these examples of eating brains as late night snacks (Image credit: Sina Weibo)

Bonus: iOS updates

In other updates news, the latest iOS, 11.2, enables Apple Pay Cash which allows people to send money via messages and through Siri. But only in the US. How long until we see a hongbao equivalent? Christmas crackers perhaps.

The 11.2 release has finally updated the Podcast function so that it can automatically play the next episode of a Podcast meaning you can seamlessly enjoy our Tech Talk and Node Worthy podcasts.

Frank Hersey is a Beijing-based tech reporter who's been coming to China since 2001. He tries to go beyond the headlines to explain the context and impact of developments in China's tech sector. Get in...

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