WHATSAPP is the most popular messaging app in the UK allowing users to communicate with family and loved ones around the world.
It was launched in 2009 and bought by Facebook’s parent company Meta five years later.
Getting the hang of the basics of how WhatsApp works is incredibly easy but there are a number of hidden features that can make life even easier.
‘Super stealth mode’
There are a number of little tricks that can be used to avoid letting the sender of a message know that you have seen the message they sent.
One simple way is to hold down the message when it pops up in the locked iPhone screen.
This pulls down a preview of the full text so you can read it without having to open the message in the app.
Back up your chats
Users may want to back up their chats in case they are accidentally deleted and potentially lost forever.
WhatsApp has a feature that can send them directly to an email address.
This can be done by opening the chat you want to save, then click options and then more, then ‘email chat’.
Up to 40,000 messages can be sent at any given time, with or without media files.
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Send your location
You can let a friend know exactly where you are and allow them to track your phone through the app.
This can be useful if, say, you are running late for an appointment or meeting.
Users can choose from three time periods which will allow tracking to occur – 15 minutes, one hour or eight hours.
To do this, it depends on which system you use.
iOS: Tap on the chat, tap the + button at the bottom left, press ‘location’ followed by ‘share live location’, and select your duration.
Android: Tap on the chat, tap the paperclip picture to the right, press ‘location’ followed by ‘share live location’, and select your duration.
Send a disappearing image or video
It’s possible to send a photo or video that disappears once it has been viewed once, in a similar way to how SnapChat works.
This can be useful if you want to send sensitive or private information – although be aware that the receiver can still take a screenshot.
iOS: Open a chat, hit the + icon, select the photo or video, tap the ‘1’ to the left of the blue send arrow, and then send.
Android: Open the chat, tap the paperclip icon, select a photo or video, tap the ‘1’ next to the blue send arrow, and send.
Recording hands-free voice messages
While most people know you can send voice messages through the app to your contacts, many might not know that recording a message can be done hands-free.
To do this, hold down the microphone symbol and then swipe upwards, this effectively ‘locks’ the record function.
Once the message is complete, just press send.
Pinning key friends and group chats
For anyone who often leaves messages unanswered or takes a little too long to respond, WhatsApp has a feature that might be very useful.
Users can pin certain chats to the top of the app, which means they will be the first they will see above new and unread messages.
iOS: Swipe left to right, press ‘pin chat’
Android: Long hold the chat, press the pin at the top of the screen
Require Face ID or Touch ID to unlock app
Unfortunately, this feature is currently only available for iOS users but it does add another level of security for anyone who wants to keep their messages away from prying eyes.
Once the feature had been turned on, Face ID or Touch ID will be needed to be able to access messages even on a phone that has already been unlocked.
This can be done via the settings button, then going to privacy, screen lock and then at the bottom of the screen and then activate the ‘require Face ID’ button.
It can be turned on immediately, after a minute, after 15 minutes or an hour of not being used.
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