20 WhatsApp Tips And Tricks You May Not Know

As of February 2016, one in seven people on earth use WhatsApp to stay in touch with friends, family and acquaintances; that is one billion monthly active users. With WIFI and cheaper data becoming more accessible, WhatsApp continues to soar in popularity. It also doesn’t hurt that it is free for now in some parts of the world, international in reach and available round-the-clock.

With WhatsApp groups, family, friends, alumni are only a tap away and everything happening in one’s life, including the uninteresting bits can be shared minute-by-minute. Even small businesses have taken to WhatsApp for marketing and it also helps that the limit of members per group has increased to 100. The $19 billion price tag, which Facebook paid in 2014 to acquire WhatsApp, seems justified now, seeing the ever growing acceptance of the world’s largest mobile messenger app.

While everyone is familiar with the common features of WhatsApp, there are some relatively unknown features, which can help to make the WhatsApp experience even more interesting.

Here are 20 WhatsApp tips and tricks to help you become a power user:

1. Conceal a last seen time stamp

The last seen time stamp tells your contacts the last time you checked into the app and this can be annoying, especially if people are expecting you to respond immediately. It can upset friends, if they know that you have checked the app but not responded to their message. Well, the good news is that there is a way to remove the time stamp.

To set your preference go to Menu button> Settings > Account > Privacy and set last seen to ‘Nobody’.

However, be aware that once you turn off the last seen time stamp, you will not be able to see the time stamp of your contacts either.

2. Hide profile picture

You can choose to hide your profile picture from everyone or just limit visibility to your contacts.

To customize, head to  Settings > Account > Privacy.

3. Backup & restore chats

WhatsApp automatically backs up your chats but this can also be done manually. A backup comes in handy if you need to uninstall and reinstall WhatsApp for any reason. Once you activate WhatsApp after a reinstall, the application will prompt you to restore your most recent backup. You just need to follow the onscreen steps, to revert to the backup.

  • iOS – Settings > Chats >Chat Backup> Back Up Now
  • You can also enable automatic, scheduled backups by tapping Auto Backup and then choosing your backup frequency. 
  • Android – Settings > Chats > Chat backup > Back Up

4. Protect your chats with a lock (Android)

If you have concerns about friends or family snooping through your WhatsApp chats, you are in luck, especially if you are an Android user. You can use the WhatsApp Lock application to lock all your chats with a pin code.

5. Add a shortcut to contacts

You can quickly access chats with a favourite contact or group, by adding a shortcut on your home screen.

  • Android – To create a shortcut in Android long press the desired contact or group name in WhatsApp and select add conversation shortcut. This will place a shortcut to the contact or group on your home screen. 
  • iOS – The option to add a shortcut on the home screen is not available in iOS as a default functionality but you can use an app called 1TapWA to have similar functionality on your iPhone.

6. Prevent images and videos from being downloaded

If you don’t want WhatsApp images and videos automatically downloaded into your photos, you can conveniently turn it off.

  • iOSSettings > Privacy > Photos and turn off WhatsApp
  • Android – To prevent download of media to your gallery you can create a .nomedia file or folder inside WhatsApp images, audio, and video folder. This can be done using a file explorer. To download again delete the .nomedia file.

7. Add a new phone number

You don’t have to uninstall and reinstall WhatsApp if your phone number has changed. You can use an inbuilt setting within WhatsApp to migrate your account to the new phone number.

  • Go to Settings > Account > Change Number to start the process. The old and new phone number will be required for transferring the data.
  • You can also delete your account by going to Settings > Account > Delete My Account

8. Chat heads

Chat heads are the small icons that pop up with the face of the contact trying to reach you, especially when you are within other apps. Facebook Messenger uses chat heads, in case you are still struggling to picture it. With the WhatsApp Chat Heads application, you can now have this functionality in Android versions of the application. You can customize notification sounds, colors etc for your different contacts.

9. Pick the right time to message someone

You can use the WhatStat application, which is currently only available for Android, to track your top friends and groups, peak messaging time etc. The insights will help you to pick the best time to message someone based on historical data and also identity the topics that can potentially initiate a discussion. If you don’t want to install an application, you can also find out some basic metrics, such as the contact that you communicate the most with by going to Settings > Account > Network Usage. There will be a number next to each contact showing the number of messages sent between you.

10. Desktop notifications

You can access WhatsApp on your desktop computer via web.whatsapp.com. To access the desktop version, go to the website and scan the QR code with WhatsApp and you will be logged in.

11. Silence group chats

You can hush the sometime irritating group chat notifications by clicking on the name of the irksome group and selecting ‘Mute’. Mute options include 8 hours, a week and a year.

12. Customize notifications for group chats

You can setup a custom notification for each group chat so that you respond only to the ones that really matter. To setup custom notifications, tap on the name of the group and go to custom notifications to select a different notification sound for each group.

13. See if a contact has read your message

To see if your message has been read, click the message and drag it to the left. This will show you the time of message delivery and when it was read. In a group chat, you can see all the members who have read the message. In case you have disabled read receipts in your WhatsApp application, you will also not be able to see when other people have read your message.

14. Pay for a friend (Android)

In some countries, WhatsApp is available as a paid service and while most people are comfortable to pay for their own subscription, there is also an option available for you to pay for a friend, which can be a good way to surprise someone.  In Android, you can access this function through Menu > Contact > Pay for a friend. Remember you can only pay for those who are in your list of contacts. The payment can be done through Google Wallet.

15. Email your WhatsApp chats (Android)

You can email your WhatsApp chat history without or without media. If you are including media, you can send up to 10,000 latest messages and without media, you can send up to 40,000 messages.

  • Tap Menu > More > Email Chat

16. Change WhatsApp Wallpaper

You can spice up the look of your WhatsApp screen by selecting a funky wallpaper. To change the wallpaper head to Settings > Chats > Calls > Wallpaper and select a new background image.  

17. Keep an eye on data usage

You can track how much data is being consumed by WhatsApp. Go to Settings > Account > Network Usage to see details of the data consumption by WhatsApp.  You can also limit data usage by specifying that media should be downloaded only when you are on WIFI for instance. 

18. Schedule messages on WhatsApp (Android)

If you don’t want to run the risk of forgetting birthdays or anniversaries of friends and relatives, you can schedule the messages on WhatsApp running on Android devices by using third party applications such as WhatsApp message scheduler lite, whatsapp seebye scheduler, or scheduler for whatsapp.

19. Pin a message for quick reference

You can use the starred message feature to pin a message and refer back to it later.

iOS

  • Press and hold the message and tap star to pin it.
  • To see the messages that you have pinned for a particular chat, open the chat, tap on the name of the chat and tap starred messages
  • To see all the messages that you have pinned, go to Settings > Starred Messages

Android

  • Press and hold the message and tap star to pin it.
  • To see all the messages that you have pinned, go to Settings > Starred Messages

20. Share messages, documents, media, contacts or a location

You can share messages documents, media, contacts and even your location with others through WhatsApp. The location feature is particularly handy when giving directions to your place.

iOS

  1. Open the chat window in WhatsApp with the desired contact
  2. Tap the Send Media button (arrow pointing upward).
  3. Select the type of media you would like to share.

Android

Open a chat and tap the paper clip icon and choose what you want to send:

  • Document
  • Camera – to click a photo and send
  • Gallery  – to send an existing photo
  • Audio – to record a message
  • Location –  to send your location
  • Contact –  to send details of a contact from your phone’s address book