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WhatsApp tips and tricks: 9 ways to master messaging

Update: New tips and tricks

Authored by: Robert Zak — 1 month ago

WhatsApp needs no introduction. It's the world's most popular instant messaging service, and for all its security flaws and privacy issues, we love it. As a show of appreciation for WhatsApp, we've decided to chalk up a list of WhatsApp tips and tricks to help AndroidPIT readers get the most out of it.

WhatsApp ligacoes
Read on for our nine top tips to help you become a WhatsApp whizz. / © ANDROIDPIT

Stop WhatsApp images appearing in your camera roll

If your friends send you loads of stupid pictures on WhatsApp, and you don't want them mixed in with all your amazing photos, it is possible to keep WhatsApp images separate so they don't appear in your camera roll.

  • Download a file explorer, such as ES File Explorer
  • Navigate to sdcard/WhatsApp/Media
  • Enter the folder you don't want shared (in this case, WhatsApp Images)
  • Tap the plus button at the bottom of the screen
  • Name the new folder .nomedia

That should stop any media in that folder from showing up in your camera roll.

Use a file explorer to stop images from WhatsApp showing into your camera roll. / © AndroidPIT

Lock WhatsApp

If you're keen to keep your WhatsApp private, you can use any number of security apps to set a passcode for the app. AppLock is a popular choice.

Switch your WhatsApp chat history between phones

If you haven't received the update that allows Google Drive backups yet, and you need to move your WhatsApp history over to a new device, it's a pretty painless procedure. All you need is a microSD card and a few minutes to spare.

  • Insert a microSD card into the device that has WhatsApp on it
  • In WhatsApp, go to Settings > Chats and calls > Back up chats
  • Remove the SD card and place it into your other device
  • Install WhatsApp on the other device
  • WhatsApp should detect the backup and prompt you to restore it, which you should do

If you need to move the backup, use a file explorer to find '/sdcard/WhatsApp' and move it to the correct folder.

It's easy to make and transfer WhatsApp backups. / © AndroidPIT

Get desktop notifications for WhatsApp chats

You'll need the WhatsApp Web Chrome extension to get WhatsApp desktop notifications. Then, all you need to do is install a simple add-on called WAToolkit.

After installing it, you will see a new icon in your browser toolbar. Hover your cursor over it to see the most recently received message, or right click for more options. You'll also notice the WAToolkit options button in your WhatsApp Web tab. The best part? WAToolkit will notify you of messages on your desktop even when Chrome itself isn’t running.

  • Install WhatsApp Web on PC
  • In the WhatsApp Web browser window, go to Options > Notifications and ensure that Desktop Alerts is ticked
  • Install the Chrome browser extension WAToolkit
  • Make sure the background notifications box is ticked, like in the image below
whatsapp web tips 3
You can tick the 'Wide text bubbles' box in the WAToolkit options to fit more messages on your screen. / © ANDROIDPIT

Send private messages in bulk, BCC-style

Privacy on the internet is a hard thing to hold onto, but even the famously unprivate WhatsApp has a few features that let you do things on the down-low. Want to send out a group message without everyone in the group seeing who else received that message, and then seeing every subsequent response to the message? That's what the Broadcast feature is for, and using it is simple:

  • Tap the Options icon at the top right (three dots).
  • Tap New broadcast
  • Enter the names of all the contacts you want to send your private message to.
  • Tap Create, write your message, then send it.
androidpit whatsapp broadcast
Go to Options and tap 'New broadcast' to send out a mass message without everyone seeing the recipients. / © ANDROIDPIT

Hide 'Last seen', profile photo and status

Getting thrown into a big group chat filled with party guests and people you don't know can be bewildering. Suddenly, your profile picture is staring back at a chatroom full of strangers, who can also see your status and when you're reading messages. If I wanted a whole flock of strangers ogling and judging a photo of me, I'd have gone on Tinder. Here's how to have better control over who sees this information on WhatsApp:

  • Tap the Options icon at the top right of WhatsApp
  • Go to Settings > Account > Privacy
  • Go through the Last seen, Profile photo, and Status options, then set their visibility to 'Everyone', 'My contacts' or 'Nobody', depending on how much privacy you want.
androidpit whatsapp privacy
Make sure people only see the info you want them to see using WhatsApp's privacy settings. / © ANDROIDPIT

Mute annoying WhatsApp group chats

We've all been in that position where we've somehow been dragged into a group chat that we either didn't really want to be in in the first place or just don't want to receive notifications from every couple of minutes. Rather than just leave the chat, which may be offend some people, you can simply mute the chat so you stop receiving notifications from it. 

  • In WhatsApp, tap the Chats tab
  • Tap the group you want to mute.
  • With the group open, tap the Options icon at the top right
  • Tap Mute, then select the amount of time you want to mute the group for. You can also untick the Show notifications box so that you never hear from the group again until you decide otherwise.
androidpit whatsapp mute group
Are you being harassed by notifications from an annoying group chat? Go into the chat and mute it. / © ANDROIDPIT

Create a homescreen shortcut for your favorite chats

Do you have certain friends with whom you have constant stream-of-consciousness conversations, where you're non-stop WhatsApp'ing all day, every day? If so, then you can create a shortcut icon to those conversations, which will appear on your Android homescreen. This means you can jump straight into chats with your BFFs and important groups.

  • In WhatsApp, tap the Chats tab.
  • Tap and hold the conversation you want to create a shortcut for.
  • When the list of options appears, tap Add conversation shortcut
  • A shortcut displaying your contact's profile picture will now appear on your homescreen. Tap it to jump straight in and start chatting to them.
androidpit whatsapp shortcut
If you want constant quick access to certain chats, tap the 'Add shortcut' option to have it appear as an icon on your Android homescreen. / © ANDROIDPIT

Recover deleted messages

By default WhatsApp backs up your messages every day at 4am. This means that if you've deleted any messages since then, but before the next auto-backup, you can still recover them. To do this:

  • Uninstall WhatsApp from your device (Settings > Apps > WhatsApp > Uninstall).
  • Reinstall WhatsApp.
  • Type your phone number into WhatsApp, then it should notify you that it's found a backup of your chats.
  • Tap Restore to get your deleted messages back.
androidpit whatsapp backup
To recover deleted messages, you'll need to reinstall WhatsApp, then restore the messages from your backup. / © ANDROIDPIT

What's your best WhatsApp tip? Let us know in the comments below. 

A tech aficionado since he first picked up a NES controller, Robert has written about technology, videogames, and film across a range of sites and magazines, including Den of Geek, Gamasutra, and Computeractive. At AndroidPIT, he'll be bringing you the latest Android news and reviews from the front line in the UK.


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