WhatsApp is the messaging tool of choice for many of us, but are you using it right? Our best WhatsApp tips will help you delete sent messages, read WhatsApp messages without the sender knowing, send GIFs and edit pictures and text, and even track your friends.
Delete sent WhatsApp messages
Last year WhatsApp introduced the ability to delete sent messages before they have been read, provided that it was within a seven-minute time frame.
To do so you simply select the message, tap the bin icon, and choose ‘Delete for everyone’.
Now there are rumours it’s extending this time limit to a little over an hour – but don’t wait for the rollout. We explain how to delete WhatsApp messages after the time limit in full details here.
Read WhatsApp messages without the sender knowing
- Disabling ‘Read Receipts’ in your WhatsApp settings will disable the blue ticks feature that shows a message has been read
- Aeroplane or Flight mode will prevent WhatsApp messages being marked as read, at least until you reconnect to the internet
- You can also use the WhatsApp Android widget or pull-down the notification bar for sneaky ways to read messages without the sender knowing
Track people on WhatsApp
WhatsApp is rolling out a Live Location feature that lets you track people in real time – with their permission of course – for up to eight hours.
Accessible via the paperclip icon in any WhatsApp chat thread (with individuals or groups), Live Location sharing can be stopped at any time.
Edit WhatsApp picture messages
The latest update to WhatsApp lets you doodle on and edit pictures before you send them. With a conversation open, tap the camera icon next to the text-entry field as usual and select an image from your gallery. Then choose one of the new icons at the top right of the display to crop the picture, add a sticker, enter text or draw a doodle. When your happy just tap Send.
Send GIFs on WhatsApp
To send a GIF, press the + icon, then Photo & Video LIbrary. You can select any video up to 6 seconds long, and you can also 3D Touch on a Live photo from your Camera Roll, swipe up and select Send as GIF.
You can even copy and paste a GIF from Giphy (which has a massive searchable library) if you also install the GIPHY Keys app from the Apple App Store. Once done, go to Settings > General > Keyboard and add a new keyboard. You’ll see GIPHY Keys in the list. Select it, then tap on it and enable Allow Full Access.
When you’re back in WhatsApp, switch to the other keyboard by pressing the world symbol, then search for your GIF. Tap on one to copy it, and paste it into the message.
Tag people in WhatsApp messages
It’s now possible to tag other members of a WhatsApp group message in order to get their attention even if they have muted the conversation. To notify any member of a group message that you’re trying to get their attention simply type @ and select them from the list that appears.
Format text in WhatsApp messages
After many years of plain text support, WhatsApp has finally rolled out formatting support, enabling WhatsApp-ers to add bold, italicised and strikethrough formatting options to their messages.
Once users are running version 2.12.535 on Android and 2.12.17 on iOS, it’s fairly easy to do. Simply open a chat and follow these instructions:
- Bold: Add asterisks to either side of the text (*bold*)
- Italics: Add underscores to either side of the text (_italics_)
- Strikethrough: Add tildes either side of the text (~tilde~)
Back up WhatsApp
For some time now, WhatsApp has offered the functionality to back up all your chats and media in case you change (or loose) your smartphone. This is automatically done once every few days/every week in most cases, but you can also make a manual backup if need be.
To manually back up your messages on iOS, open the WhatsApp Settings menu and tap Chats > Chat Backup and tap ‘Back Up Now’ (select ‘Include videos’ if not already checked too). The backup should begin shortly after. It’s slightly different for Android users – head to Settings > Chats > Chat Backup and tap ‘Back Up’ to create a backup via WhatsApp servers, or log in with your Google account and backup via Google Drive.
To restore chats directly from a backup for whatever reason, simply uninstall and reinstall WhatsApp. When you open the app after the reinstall, you should be prompted to restore your most recent backup. Read next: How to restore chats from a backup
Turn off WhatsApp last seen
Unless you disable the feature, WhatsApp will display to all your friends when you were last online – making those awkward messages that little bit harder to avoid. Don’t worry as there is a way to disable the timestamp and disappear into the shadows, although the catch is that you won’t be able to see when any of your friends were last online. It’s only fair, right?
On iOS and Android devices, simply head to the Settings menu, then tap > Account > Privacy > Last Seen Timestamp and make sure ’Nobody’ is selected. You should then be free to access WhatsApp without others seeing when you were last online.
Use WhatsApp on your tablet or PC
Thanks to the introduction of WhatsApp Web, a web interface allowing users to access their WhatsApp messages via an internet browser, users can now use WhatsApp on an iPad, PC or Mac. On a PC or Mac simply head to web.whatsapp.com and scan the QR code using the QR reader built into WhatsApp for iOS and Android. This will link your account with the PC/Mac and allow you to send and receive messages from your smartphone.
It’s slightly different for iPad users though, as while the WhatsApp Web will work in Safari, it’s not a great experience. Developers have created WhatsApp Web ‘apps’ available on the App Store, which bring a nicer user experience and even push notifications to iPad users. Read next: How to use WhatsApp Web
Mute a WhatsApp group chat
It has been five or so years since you left Uni, and your mates thought it’d be a good idea to create a group chat with (what feels like) 15 million people constantly sending messages. We’ve all been there, right? The good news is that you can mute the inane chatter for eight hours, a week or even a year if you’ve got no plans to join in with the ‘banter’.
It’s a fairly easy thing to do to, simply open the annoying group chat, tap the name of the chat at the top of the app, tap ‘Mute’ and select the duration of the mute.
Turn on or off WhatsApp read receipts
Just like with the ‘Last Seen’ timestamp, WhatsApp will also let your friends know when you’ve read their messages, and just like the timestamp feature, this too can be disabled. It’s worth noting that disabling the feature will mean that you won’t know if/when messages you’ve sent have been read by the recipient, and group message read receipts will still be sent regardless.
Head to the Settings menu, tap Account > Privacy and toggle the ‘Read Receipts’ option off.
Find out who is your best WhatsApp friend
Ever wondered who you speak to the most on WhatsApp? We have too, and thanks to WhatsApp’s storage breakdown available for iOS (Sorry Android!) users, you can find out exactly how many messages you’ve sent in total, and to each person. Simply head to Settings > Account > Storage Usage and you’ll find the total number of messages at the top of the page followed by a list of chats ranked on most > least messages.