With over 1.2 billion users worldwide, WhatsApp is the world’s most popular messaging app, outranking the likes of Facebook Messenger and WeChat. And with good reason.
Most of us know that it’s great for group chats. And some of us know that handily you can use it on your desktop, as well as your mobile device. And a few of us probably are even aware that you can use it to send more payments to your kith and kin.
But that’s actually just scratching the surface of WhatsApp is capable of. Read on and we’ll turn you into a messaging maven.
1) Hide your blue ticks
We’ve all been there. You get called out on not replying to a message so you pretend you haven’t seen it. But WhatsApp’s sneaky blue ticks have already shown your boss/dad/friend that you saw the message days ago.
Thankfully, you can avoid these awkward situations by turning off WhatsApp’s snitching blue ticks.
All you need to do is go to your Account in the WhatsApp Settings and hit Privacy. There you’ll find the option to switch off Read Receipts.
The only problem is, you then won’t be able to see when anyone has read your messages in return. But if you’re regularly getting told off for ignoring messages, it might well be worth the sacrifice.
2) Turn off the dreaded ‘last seen’ status
Even if you disable your Read Receipts, your boss/dad/friend will still know you’re ignoring them thanks to the equally intrusive Last Seen feature that lets them know when you were last on WhatsApp.
To preserve relations, it might be a good idea to switch this off. Just go to the Privacy menu and hit Last Seen. This will let you turn the function off entirely, or just hide this information from select contacts.
3) Backup your WhatsApp messages
For those of you who haven’t accidentally lost all your messages when transferring your data onto a new phone, you might reasonably assume that WhatsApp automatically backs up your chats. But that’s not the case. You actually have to ask it to do it for you.
All you need to do is go the Settings menu and select Chats. Then simply hit Chat Backup and hit Backup. It might take a while if you’ve got an extensive chat history, so make sure you’re using Wi-Fi.
4) Share your location on WhatsApp
There are few things more annoying than calling someone to find out where they are, only to realise they’re as hopeless as you when it comes to directions. It’s almost as infuriating as trying to give directions yourself.
The good news is that with WhatsApp, you can get around that by sending a pinned map location showing exactly where you want to meet.
Don’t mind the sensation you’re being watched? Even better. That means you can avail yourself of the WhatsApp’s new Live Location feature, which allows you and your friends can track each other’s movements in real(ish) time.
If you’ve got an iPhone, all you need to do is select the Plus icon on the left of your chat and tap Location. You’ll then be prompted to choose from a list of options, including Live Location.
Alternatively, if you’ve got an Android device, go to Attach and then select Location. From there, you’ll be able to set your location preferences.
5) Send WhatsApp messages with your voice
If you’ve got your hands full and can’t type a reply to an urgent WhatsApp message, just ask Siri or Google to do it for you.
Yes, WhatsApp is compatible with your voice assistant. All you need to do is dictate a WhatsApp message and it’ll send it for you.
6) Find out who’s seen your group chat message
As you may have gathered, the two grey ticks that appear next to your messages in group chats only turn blue once everyone in the group has seen the message. Therefore, if your ticks are still grey, it means someone’s ignoring you. But who is it?
Well, there’s a way to find out. If you’ve got an Android phone, simply press down on your sent message and a menu will pop up. Select Info and it’ll tell you who’s seen your message.
Or, if you’ve got an iPhone, all you need to do is swipe left and it’ll give you a breakdown of who’s seen your message and when.
7) Customise notifications
Want to stay up to date with important chats without being bombarded by an endless stream of gifs from your younger brother?
Simply tap on the name of the chat you want to quiet and you’ll see an option to Mute Notifications.
If you don’t want to be that drastic, you can choose Custom Notifications, which lets you assign a different tone for each chat.
8) Save your data allowance
If you’ve got a modest monthly allowance of data, the last thing you want is to see those precious megabytes being guzzled up by gifs.
Thankfully, there’s a way to avoid wasting your data on costly image downloads. Just go to Settings and select Data and Storage Usage. You can then have a look at a breakdown of how much data you’re spending on media and messages. Even more helpfully, you can opt to download images only when you’re on Wi-Fi.
And if you’re still worried about that your WhatsApp addiction is costing you precious data, maybe it’s time to consider a phone contract that lets you use WhatsApp without eating into your monthly allowance.
Both VOXI and Virgin Media offer data-free WhatsApp usage. So you can chat away to your heart’s content without worrying about it affecting your data.
Alternatively, if you’re a Vodafone customer, you can get a Vodafone Chat Pass, which gives you data-free use of Whatsapp, as well as Viber and Facebook Messenger.