Saturday, 02 July 2022 06:53

13 hidden WhatsApp features you should know

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  • WhatsApp contains numerous features that make the messaging app more useful, convenient, private, or just more fun. 
  • You can customize the appearance of your chats, share your location, or add formatting to your text messages.
  • Here are 13 of the best little-known or unexpected features in WhatsApp.

With about 2 billion active users, WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app in the world. An app this popular must be doing something right, and in fact the combination of cross-platform compatibility and end-to-end encryption helps make it so popular. 

But WhatsApp also has a wealth of features — big and small, well-known and relatively "secret" — that help make it the top messaging app on the planet. In fact, unless you're a longtime power user, it's likely that there are WhatsApp features that might surprise you. Here are 13 WhatsApp features everyone should know to get the most out of this app. 

Disable 'last seen'

You probably know that WhatsApp lets you see the last time someone was on WhatsApp — you can see their "last seen" date under their name at the top of a chat. If you don't want to reveal when you're online, you can turn this feature off. Tap Settings, then Account, followed by Privacy, and then tap Last Seen. Change it to the option you prefer. Choose Nobody to hide your last seen status from everyone. 

Search everywhere at once

Trying to find a particular message but don't know where to look? You can search every message at once using the search tool on the Chats page. 

If you're using an iPhone, tap Chats and then pull the page down to see the search box. Type a word or phrase to see all the messages it appears in. On Android, tap Chats and then tap the Search icon at the top of the screen to start your search. 

Format your text

Did you know there's a "secret" way to format text when typing a message? You can make words bold or italics, or strike through text as well:

  • Bold: Put an asterisk on either side, *like this*. 
  • Italics: Add an underscore to either side of your text, _like this_.
  • Strike-through: Strike through your text by enclosing it with a tilde, ~like this~.  

Don't worry about deleting the symbols from either side of the text. They are removed automatically when you tap Send. 

Share your location with someone

If you are coordinating a meet-up, you might want to share your location with someone. In fact, you can share a one-time snapshot of your current location or share your live location for a specified period of time. 

On the iPhone, open the chat you want to share your location in and tap the + sign on the left of the text field. Choose Location and then choose Share Live Location or Send Your Current Location. 

On Android, open the chat you want to share your location in and tap the paperclip on the right of the text field. Tap Location and then choose Share Live Location or Send Your Current Location.

See how much data you're using

Want to see how much data WhatsApp is using when you send texts, pictures, videos, and make voice calls? Tap Settings, then choose Storage & Data. Tap Network Usage to get all the stats on your data consumption. 

Send a photo that disappears after a single view

WhatsApp has a lot of privacy features baked in, including the ability to set your messages to disappear after a period of time, and the option to send a photo or video that can only be seen a single time before it disappears forever. 

To do the latter, open the chat you want to send the disappearing media. On an iPhone, tap the + sign, followed by Camera or Photo & Video Library in the pop-up menu. If you're using Android, tap the paperclip and then choose Camera or Gallery. Take or select the media you want to share and then, at the bottom of the screen, tap the 1 in the text field. That indicates it can only be viewed once. Then tap the Send icon. 

Disable read receipts

WhatsApp delivers read receipts when someone opens your message, which you may consider either a boon or bane depending upon whether you want people to know you've seen their messages. You can disable read receipts so no one can tell if or when you've read their messages. 

To disable read receipts, tap Settings, then Account, and finally choose Privacy. Turn off Read Receipts by swiping the button to the left. 

Selectively delete large files from a specific chat

If you need to free up some storage space, it's easy to selectively delete specific photos, videos, and other files from specific chats. Tap Settings, then Storage and Data. Tap Manage Storage and you'll see a list of all your chats. Choose the chat you want to work with and you'll see all the large files onscreen. 

If you have an iPhone, you can tap Select at the top right, tap the files you want to delete and then tap the Delete icon at the bottom right. On Android, to select files for selection, tap and hold each file until you see a checkmark appear, then tap the Delete icon at the top right. 

Quote a message when you reply

Most chats are a linear affair, with each reply following the one that preceded it. That can make things confusing when you're referring to a reply that's earlier in the conversation. WhatsApp makes it easy to quote a previous message in a reply. When you do that, the original text you're replying to appears above your reply in the chat. 

To quote a message, tap and hold the message you want to reply to. On the iPhone, you'll see a pop-up menu — tap Reply. On Android, tap the Reply icon at the top of the page, to the left of the Star icon. 

Conserve your data by switching to WiFi only

WhatsApp lets you customize the way the app uses your data. For example, if you want to make sure it doesn't use cellular data to download large media files, you can tell it to only use WiFi for tasks like that.

Tap Settings, then Storage & Data. In the Media auto-download section, you can configure which kinds of files can be downloaded using a cellular connection and which are reserved exclusively for WiFi. 

Change your chat screen wallpaper

You don't have to be satisfied with the default background in your chats; you can set the chat screen wallpaper from a library of options in WhatsApp or any image stored in the gallery on your phone. 

Tap Settings and then Chats.

If you're using an iPhone, tap Chat Wallpaper and then tap Choose a New Wallpaper. When you've selected the image you want to use, tap Set. 

On Android, tap Wallpaper and then tap Change. Select the image you want to use, then tap Set Wallpaper. 

Customize your wallpaper for specific chats

Setting a custom wallpaper for your chats is great, but you can even specify a different wallpaper for specific chats, making each chat page look distinctive. 

If you are using an iPhone, open the chat you want to customize and tap the contact's name at the top of the page. Tap Wallpaper & Sound, then Choose a New Wallpaper. Make your selection and tap Set. 

On Android, the process is a bit different. Open the chat you want to customize, tap the three-dot menu and choose Wallpaper. Make your selection and choose Set Wallpaper. 

Email a chat to yourself

If you need a permanent record of a conversation or want to transfer a chat to another device (like a laptop) so you can easily copy and paste important information, you can email an entire chat to yourself. 

Tap Settings, followed by Chats. Tap Export Chat (if you're using Android, you'll need to tap Chat History to get to the Export Chat option) and choose the chat you want to send. In the pop-up, choose whether you want media or only text, and then choose where you want to share the chat log. 

 

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