(Pocket-lint) - In response to Google Duo upping its limit to 12 and the recent success of other video chat apps, WhatsApp has also recently increased its group call participants to eight. 

Here we'll explain what you need to know about making group WhatsApp video calls. This is all available on both iOS and Android.

What is WhatsApp group calling?

WhatsApp, the popular Facebook-owned messenger app, has long supported voice and video calls and introduced group video chats in 2018. 

As we mentioned, you can make a group call with up to eight people simultaneously.

Formerly, you needed to start a one-on-one voice or video call like normal and then add multiple other participants to make it a group call. However, there's now an easier way to call a group, which we'll outline below. 

How to make a WhatsApp group video call

It's worth noting that during any video call, you always have the option to turn off your video to revert to a voice call and/or mute your microphone. 

You need an existing WhatsApp group

To call a group, they need to be an existing WhatsApp group. To make a group, go to the Chats tab and tap More options (the three dots in the top right) and tap New Group. The group participants need to be in your contacts.

You can also tap the New Chat icon and then select New Group. 

Call the group

Then, from your group chat, tap the phone icon in the top right. You'll then see a list from which you're able to select up to seven other participants for the call. If people in the group aren't in your contacts, they won't appear in this list. 

Obviously, you'll be able to select everyone in the group if you have four or fewer people in the group including yourself.

Then tap the blue video icon - you can also tap the phone icon if you just want voice. 

When participants receive a group video call, the incoming call screen shows the participants currently on the call. 

Add group participants to an existing call

If you want to start by placing a one-on-one call, this bit is for you. Just open the chat with the contact you want to voice call, then tap Voice call (phone icon) or Video call (camera icon).

Now, with group calling, WhatsApp has added a dedicated button for group calls, dubbed "add participant." After placing a one-on-one voice or video call, you will see a new "add participant button" in the top right corner. Tap it to add more contacts to the call.

Is WhatsApp group calling secure?

Group calls are "always end-to-end encrypted," according to WhatsApp. They're also designed to "work reliably" in various network conditions, although we'd ensure you have a strong data signal when you're making group video calls.

Writing by Dan Grabham and Maggie Tillman.