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15 Best WhatsApp Features You Didn’t Know

woman holding black smartphone at Whatsapp logo

WhatsApp is a popular app worldwide, but it has managed to remain remarkably simple. You can add a contact and message in groups. Group video calls are also possible.

WhatsApp has many hidden features, which you may not know about. These features allow you to take control over your privacy and storage space.

1. Old messages can be made to disappear automatically

Let’s begin by clearing out WhatsApp groups and conversations that are too full. WhatsApp’s Disappearing messages feature can be used to automate this process. After seven days, all messages and media will be automatically deleted by this feature.

  • Go to the group or conversation and tap the name at the top. Then, select the “Disappearing messages” option from the options screen. Tap the “On” button.

2. Snapchat-style view-once pictures that disappear

WhatsApp has a feature that allows you to send photos and videos which disappear immediately after they are viewed. However, this is not as secure as Snapchat or InstagramDM. For example, if someone takes screenshots, you won’t be notified.

  • You’ll see a small “1” icon that has a circle around it when you add a photo to your video. To send a disappearing photograph, tap on it.

3. Stop saving videos and photos by default

WhatsApp automatically saves all videos and photos to your camera roll. This means that your phone storage will quickly fill up.

  • Go to Settings on your iPhone Chat > Save to Camera Roll to disable this feature
  • The process takes slightly longer for Android. Go to Settings > Data and Storage Usage. From the Media Auto-Download section go to the “When Using Mobile Data” and “When Using Wi Fi” options. Disable the settings for “Photos”, “Audio,” and “Video” in both sections.

4. Use text modifiers to format text

WhatsApp offers a secret method to format text. It works in the same way as Microsoft Word. You can format text with bold, italics and other formatting options. You wrap the text with text modifiers. If you want to send something bold, wrap it between asterisks. This example would be: “This is your *last* reminder.”

Here is a list of all text modifiers WhatsApp supports:

Underscore(_): Italics.
Asterisk (*): Bold
Tilde (~): Strikethrough.
Backticks(“`): Monospace.

WhatsApp also has a formatting menu, which can be used to replace text modifiers. Select the text you wish to modify.

  • Tap the “BIU” button in the popup on iPhone. You can then choose the formatting option that you prefer. Tap the “Bold” and “Italic” buttons in the popup menu for Android. The “More” menu will show you the “Strikethrough”, and “Monospace” options.

5. Save messages by using the star

Some messages, such as a hotel reservation or a partner message, are too important to lose. WhatsApp offers a Star feature which allows you to save messages and make it easy to find them in Settings and the More menu on Android.

  • Tap and hold to star a message. Then, choose the “Start” option from the menu.

6. You can finally mute a conversation…forever, if you want

Sometimes, a group chat goes crazy or a contact keeps spamming. Mute them if you are unable to block them or leave the chat. WhatsApp now offers the ability to permanently mut a group.

  • Tap the conversation you wish to mute. Next, select the time period (8 hours, 1 week, or always).

7. Hide a conversation using your Archive

Next, you can make the conversation disappear from your chat list after it has been muted.

Archiving a conversation will permanently add it to your Archive list. It won’t show up on your Chats screen any more. Tap “More” on your iPhone to access the Archive option.

  • Android: Tap and hold the conversation and then tap the Archive button in the top toolbar.

8. When were you last seen online?

WhatsApp’s Last Seen status lets people know when you last logged in. This can be hidden in your Settings.

  • Go to Settings. Register >. Privacy >. Last Seen. You can choose to switch between “Everyone”, “My Contacts” or “Nobody”. To hide your last sighting from everyone, select the “Nobody”.

9. Stop people adding you to groups and inviting others without invitation

WhatsApp’s most irritating feature is that anyone with your number can add to your group. This can also be used to spread information. WhatsApp offers an option to block unidentified users (or anyone) from adding you to groups.

  • Go to Settings. Register >. Privacy >. Groups. You can select “My Contacts” from here to restrict this to only your contacts.

Choose the “My Contacts Except” option and select all contacts that will prevent anyone from adding you to any groups. If someone would like to add you to a particular group, they will need to send you an invitation.

10. Unneeded WhatsApp data deleted

You could be using WhatsApp to eat up several GBs of storage space if you are part of many groups or have the auto-download feature enabled. WhatsApp comes with a storage management tool that allows you to find and delete unwanted conversations, photos, videos, and videos.

  • Settings > Storage and Data >. To get started, go to Manage Storage Filter attachments larger than 5 MB here. A list of chats that have the most storage space is also available.

Select a chat and select the media you wish to delete. Then, tap the Delete button.

11. WhatsApp can be used on your computer without your phone.

Did you know you can also use WhatsApp from your PC? You can use it in a browser with the WhatsApp Web client or the dedicated WhatsApp Desktop application. Simply scan the QR code in Settings >. You’re good to go!

This will only work if your phone is connected to the internet. You can use WhatsApp on your computer with a multi-device beta feature. Make sure you connect to your phone at least once per 14 days.

  • Go to Settings >. Linked Devices >. Multi-Device Beta >. Join Beta

12. Share your live location

Another useful WhatsApp feature is this one, which you can find in the attachments menu. WhatsApp allows you to share your location with anyone. This is great if you are on your way to meet someone or just want to feel secure while you travel.

  • Tap the Attach button to open the conversation. On the iPhone, it’s called the Plus icon; on Android it’s known as the U pin icon. Select “Live Location” from the menu and choose your start time.

13. Pin important chats at top (but within a limit)

WhatsApp allows you to pin up to three conversations at the top of your Chats section. These conversations are easy to reach no matter how busy WhatsApp becomes.

  • To pin a conversation to the top of your iPhone, swipe right on it.
  • Android users can tap and hold the conversation and then choose the “Pin” option. The same way, you can also unpin a conversation.

14. You can change the background of your conversation (and even make it darker)

You can make WhatsApp chats more interesting by changing the chat wallpaper.

  • Go to Settings > Chat > Chat Wallpaper, Select a New Wallpaper. Switch to dark mode on your iPhone or Android and then tap the “Choose Dark Mode Wallpaper”.

You can either choose from one of the pre-made wallpapers or any image from your gallery.

  • You can also change the wallpaper of a chat. Open the conversation on your iPhone by tapping the name in the top toolbar and then go to Wallpaper & Sound
  • Android: Open the conversation, tap on the three-dotted Menu button and select the “Wallpaper” option.

15. Ensure that you back up all chats

WhatsApp conversations and photos can be some of your most precious moments, so it is important to protect them.

  • Go to Settings > Chat > Chat Backup is available to enable data backups. The data on iPhone will be backed-up using iCloud. It will be backed-up using Google Drive on Android.
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