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How to play irritating WhatsApp voice messages faster

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Welcome to TNW Basics, a collection of tips, guides, and advice on how to easily get the most out of your gadgets, apps, and other stuff.

Voice messages are a divisive form of communication. Their devotees say they create a more personal connection, feel more natural than writing, and convey emotion better than mere text. They’re also helpful for people who have difficulties texting (who are obviously exempt from the criticisms that are coming).

Despite these advantages, voice notes have manifold detractors. The critics argue that they’re slow to scan, susceptible to rants, and disruptive to whatever else you’re doing. They’re also awkward to rewind on the rare occasions when someone says something important that you didn’t quite catch the first time.

I personally hate them. They were a constant cause of conflict with an ex-girlfriend who adored them. Not quite the reason we broke up, but they may have played a part.

The folks at WhatsApp must have heard my cries of frustration, as they’ve finally made it possible to at least abbreviate the misery.

[Read: This dude drove an EV from the Netherlands to New Zealand — here are his 3 top road trip tips]

The app now has a Fast Playback option, which lets you listen to a message at 1.5x or 2x speed, without changing the pitch of the sender’s voice.

Telegram has had a similar feature for years. But for people still on WhatsApp, Fast Playback provides a simple way to accelerate those torturously rambling voice messages. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Hit Play on the voice message you want to speed up.
  2. When the message starts playing, tap the 1x icon to increase the speed to 1.5x or 2x.

The feature might have arrived too late to salvage my relationship, but it could still save countless others.

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