Become a WhatsApp wizard with our handy tips

Alex Yau
May 26, 2015

With over 800 million users, WhatsApp has asserted itself as one of the most popular messaging apps in the world. It’s hard to go anywhere nowadays without seeing someone type away in it.

That growth is partly due to the list of features constantly being added to WhatsApp. Yet most of us find these features confusing or are unaware of their existence, which is a shame because they make the app so much easier to use. We’ve handpicked 10 of the most useful WhatsApp features that you might not know about. So read on ahead and you might become a WhatsApp wizard at the end of it all.

WhatsApp tip: Call your contacts

The latest version of WhatsApp lets you call your friends and family from anywhere in the world. WhatsApp Calling uses your phone’s Internet connection instead of its data plan, so you needn’t worry about it cutting into your monthly minutes allowance.

To make a WhatsApp all, open a chat with whoever you want to call and tap the phone icon at the top of the screen.

When you receive a call, an incoming WhatsApp call screen pops up. Slide towards the green icon to accept, or towards the right to decline. Click the message icon to decline the call with a quick message.


WhatsApp tip: Mute group chats

Group chats with a large number of members can often be filled with hundreds of annoying messages each day. This can drain your phone’s battery quite quickly. Muting messages can prevent this.

Mute any group conversation by opening the offending chat group, click Chat settings and then Mute. You can also pick how long you want to mute it for.


WhatsApp tip: Stop media auto-downloads

Group chats can also be notorious for dozens of bizarre images that automatically download to your phone’s memory. This can rinse your data allowance or phone’s internal storage. To stop this happening, go to Settings > Chat settings > Media auto-download and untick the relevant boxes.


WhatsApp tip: Stop images showing in your camera roll

You can set WhatsApp to automatically download multimedia, but not save them in your camera roll. It’s simply to do this.

On iOS, head to Settings > Privacy > Photos and click WhatsApp off.

Android phones will need a file manager like ES File Explorer. In the app, just go to sdcard/WhatsApp/Media and tap New at the bottom left in any folder you don’t want shared. Then create a file called .nomedia.

WhatsApp tip: Block people

Got that annoying person who simply won’t stop pestering you with messages every minute of every day? Open a chat with them, head to settings, more and click block.


WhatsApp tip: Find out when a message was read

The two blue ticks next to a message tell you if it’s been read, but you can get more detail about when the time it was read. Just tap and hold the desired message. Then tap info to get the precise read time.

WhatsApp tip: Hide last seen

WhatsApp shows a ‘last seen’ time under a contact’s name, telling you when they last checked the app. Hide this by going to Settings > Account > Privacy. Hiding your ‘last seen’ time will also prevent you from seeing the ‘last seen’ time of your contacts.


WhatsApp tip: Switch between phones

When you download WhatsApp on a new phone, all your messages won’t be transferred automatically. This can be problematic if you have important messages that you want on your new device.

There’s a way to transfer the WhatsApp messages from your old phone to the new one, however.

Just shove a microSD card into the phone with your save chats and go to Menu > Settings > Chat settings > Backup conversations.

Move the card to your new phone, install WhatsApp and click Restore. Instructions on how to restore messages on Apple devices can be found here.

Support for Google Drive backup is reportedly being added to the next WhatsApp update.

WhatsApp tip: Use WhatsApp on your desktop

Those who use Google Chrome can use WhatsApp web to chat with friends on their desktop. Just head to WhatsApp Web where a QR code will be displayed. Then find the WhatsApp web option in your phone app’s menu and scan the QR code displayed on your browser. You can now use most of the phone app’s functions on your computer. WhatsApp Web isn’t available for iOS users, however.


WhatsApp tip: Create chat shortcuts

Another for Android users only. If there are chats you use everyday, you can set a home screen shortcut for quick access. Just tap and hold the desired chat and choose Add conversation shortcut. An icon for the chat will now appear on your home screen. You can even drag it around and place it anywhere you like.


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