WhatsApp features that can make it work even better for you

Chances are you may not have realized that some WhatsApp features can enhance usability, make your profile more private and reduce data usage


If you have to start afresh with WhatsApp for some reason, the cloud backup option in particular makes it very easy to restore existing chats, and start where you left off. Photo: Bloomberg
If you have to start afresh with WhatsApp for some reason, the cloud backup option in particular makes it very easy to restore existing chats, and start where you left off. Photo: Bloomberg

WhatsApp is undoubtedly the most popular instant messaging app globally. Chances are it has become the default mode of communication for you, at work, with friends and family, and for groups. Equally, while you may be using WhatsApp a lot, you may not really be using it to the fullest. We run you through some important features which you may have missed, and how it can make the WhatsApp experience smoother, more secure and frugal.

Star a message

Many of us have long conversations on WhatsApp, and it becomes quite tough if you need to fish out a message from a few days ago—you’ll end up scrolling through the chats, perhaps without much success, but surely wasting a lot of time. WhatsApp allows you to star a message, which you may feel is important. To do this, tap and hold any individual message, and then tap the star message option. To access all the starred messages later, you need to head to the Settings -> Starred Messages.

Block a contact

It may sound small-minded, but there are times when someone you really don’t want to communicate with, sends you a message on WhatsApp. As a user, you have the option to block certain contacts. For this, you need to tap on the name of the contact at the top of the chat window, which will take you to the Contact Info page. Scroll down to see the Block this Contact option. To see a list of who all you have blocked on WhatsApp and manage, you can head to Settings -> Account -> Privacy -> Blocked.

Backup chat

You may be switching to a different phone, or may need to reset the existing phone for some reason. Don’t worry about your WhatsApp messages though, because there is the option to keep them backed up. Go to Settings -> Chats -> Chat Backup to schedule automatic backups, create manual backups and share backups with cloud storage services such as Google Drive and iCloud (Apple iPhone only). If you have to start afresh with WhatsApp for some reason, the cloud backup option in particular makes it very easy to restore existing chats, and start where you left off.

Read more: Deciphering WhatsApp end-to-end encryption: What it means for you

Has your message been read?

As you chat, you will see checkmarks beside your messages. One grey tick mark means your message has been sent from your phone, two grey tick marks means your message has been delivered to the recipient’s phone. If both contacts have this feature enabled, you’ll also see the two tick marks change to blue, when the recipient reads your message.

Hide profile details

Some of us prefer to keep our social media profiles a bit more private, particularly from people who are not on our friend list. Go to Settings -> Account -> Privacy, and from here, you can decide who can see your last seen timestamp, your profile phone, your status and whether to share read receipts or not.

Reduce data use

All of us don’t have mobile data plans with generous 3G/4G usage bundled with it. And if you are not on wifi, WhatsApp can easily eat into that critical data limit. That is because a lot of the time, your friends and groups will end up sharing photos, gifs and videos, which will automatically download for your viewing pleasure. You can change this, by heading into Settings -> Data and Storage Usage. Here, you can choose whether you want media and documents to be automatically downloaded on either mobile data and wifi, only wifi or on neither network. via your wifi network, cellular network, or neither network. There is also a Low Data Usage option for WhatsApp voice calls.

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