CallKit, one of the new features in iOS 10, made its way to WhatsApp, one of the most popular messaging and VoIP apps in the world, on the very same day as the release of the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system. Now, a little over a week later, support for CallKit has also arrived in Messenger, the flagship messaging and VoIP app of WhatsApp’s parent company, Facebook.
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What is CallKit? Introduced in iOS 10, CallKit is a new framework developed by Apple that enables VoIP apps on iOS to adopt the native Phone interface for calls. As the company puts it, “Third-party apps, first-party experience.” Before CallKit, incoming calls on third-party VoIP apps come through only as simple push notifications. But now, with CallKit, incoming calls are displayed fully using the native Phone UI.
Whether your iPhone is unlocked or locked, an incoming call over Messenger looks just like an incoming call over the native Phone app.
When unlocked, your iPhone shows an incoming call over Messenger with the same options as an incoming call over Phone. Of course, there’s the key option to accept the call and another to decline it. In addition, there are the options to be reminded to call back later and to message the caller. Accepting the call opens the Messenger app with its own in-call display and options.
When locked, your iPhone also shows an incoming call over Messenger with the same options as an incoming call over Phone. There are the options to be reminded to call back later and to message the caller. Most importantly, there’s the “slide to answer” mechanism. Accepting the call brings up the native Phone UI for a call in progress, with buttons for mute, keypad, speaker, video, and even additional call. There’s also a button for Messenger, which when tapped prompts you to unlock your iPhone and continue the call within Messenger.
Messenger’s CallKit integration also extends to the Phone app’s Recents tab and, as noted by 9to5Mac, to CarPlay.
Support for CallKit is available in the latest version of Facebook Messenger, which is available on the App Store for free.
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Messenger is expected to be updated soon with support for Apple’s SiriKit. Also introduced in iOS 10, SiriKit allows third-party apps to carry out certain functions using voice commands to Siri. Along with CallKit support, integration with it was added to WhatsApp on iOS 10’s launch day, enabling users of the app to send messages with the help of Apple’s intelligent personal assistant.