Eight WhatsApp settings everyone should know
WhatsApp is one of the main ways people keep in touch with friends and family around the world.
With the messaging app releasing new updates at a steady rate, it can be difficult to keep track of its most useful features. To help out, we’ve rounded up five essential functions that may have passed you by.
From options that keep your activity hidden from prying eyes to decluttering storage, here are the top WhatsApp tricks you should get acquainted with.
How to hide your WhatsApp online status
When you want to delay replying to a message, you can essentially stop people from seeing that you’re online.
To do so, head into settings, select privacy, and then choose ‘last seen’ and ‘online’. Here, you can choose to show your activity status to everyone, just your contacts, your contacts and additional numbers, or nobody.
Keep in mind, hiding your online status will prevent you from seeing other people’s status as well.
How to stop people from adding you to WhatsApp groups
Though WhatsApp groups are a great way to keep in touch with multiple friends, they can quickly turn into a headache when the messages start piling up.
If you want to maintain your privacy, you can decide who gets to add you to a group. Just go to settings, tap privacy, select groups, and then choose from “Everyone”, “My Contacts”, or “My Contacts Except”.
The latter means that a group admin will have to send you a private invite through a chat before you join a group. You’ll have three days to accept before the invite expires.
How to leave a WhatsApp group
Whether you’re arranging a night out or a regular meetup, WhatsApp groups are a great way for communicating with multiple people.
But, if you want to drop out of a group for whatever reason, you can silently leave without alerting anyone but the group admins (which usually includes the person who created the group and people they’ve chosen to be admins).
To exit a WhatsApp group on iPhone, tap and hold the group name, select “exit group”, and then tap “exit”.
On Android, tap and hold the group name, select the three dots icon, tap “exit group”, and then tap “exit”.
In both cases, only the admins will see that you’ve left the group in the chat, thanks to an update WhatsApp quietly introduced earlier this year.
How to turn off WhatsApp read receipts
Sticking with privacy, another way to stop people from expecting an immediate reply is to turn off read receipts. This will essentially stop the sender of a message from seeing if you’ve read it, as indicated by two blue ticks.
Once again, head into your settings, tap privacy, and then choose “turn off read receipts”.
However, there’s currently no way to disable read and play receipts for group chats and voice messages.
How to make your WhatsApp messages disappear
If you like your privacy, or simply don’t like the idea of your pronouncements being stored forever, you can make it so that your WhatsApp messages are automatically deleted after a set amount of time. Currently, you can set this to 24 hours, one week or 30 days, though there’s evidence that WhatsApp may provide more timespans soon.
You can either make this a global setting or apply it to individual groups.
To make it apply to every chat going forward (though not existing ones - you’ll have to do that manually), go to ‘Settings’, select ‘Privacy’, scroll down to ‘Disappearing Messages’ and then change ‘Off’ to one of the three options.
For individual one-on-one chats or groups, simply go to the conversation, tap the contact or group name at the top, scroll down to ‘Disappearing Messages’ and then select the timer you want.
How to mute WhatsApp chats
WhatsApp may not have a do not disturb mode, but you can still silence the app by muting individual or group chats.
Just click on the three dots at the top of a chat, and select “mute notifications”. The same goes for group chats, where the messages can come thick and fast.
You can even choose how long to mute a chat for: eight hours, one week, or always.
How to stop WhatsApp saving photos to your camera roll
When you select a media file you’ve been sent on WhatsApp, it is automatically downloaded to your phone by default. This can quickly cause your precious phone storage to get clogged up with unnecessary photos, videos, and screenshots.
To save space, you can disable the option by going into settings, selecting chats, and tapping “turn off media visibility”.
You can also apply the option to individual or group chats by opening up an existing chat, tapping the three dots that signify the more options menu, selecting view contact or group info, and then tapping media visibility to turn it off.
How to archive a WhatsApp chat
You can declutter your WhatsApp home page by archiving the chats you no longer want to see.
Just hold down the chat you want to remove and select the archive chat symbol at the top of the page (the box with a downward-pointing arrow in it).
Best of all, this won’t delete the chat so, if you want to restore it, all you have to do is select the archived chat option above your chats, hold down the chat you wish to unarchive, and then hit the icon at the top of the screen.