What a furor WhatsApp caused with a colour change in its double ticks.
An update earlier this year confirmed what we’ve always suspected (but never bothered confirming) all along – namely that the ticks represent when your messages are delivered, and confirm that they’ve been read.
On the flipside, this incident also inspired us to dig deeper, and we’ve gathered up a bunch of features hiding in the nooks and crannies of WhatsApp.
Prepare to level up your IM attributes:
1. BEGONE, BLUE TICKS OF MISERY
Sometimes you’ve only got time for a quick glance, taking a little time to formulate a response as you carry on with the rest of our day. Ideally without having the sender realise that we actually looked at said message five hours ago, as otherwise they’d think we’re ignoring them. That’s the privelege the blue ticks take away.
Recently though, the chat app has realised the error of its ways and silently come up with a workaround. The liberty of message-mulling is ours again.
How: Users can just access Privacy via Settings and disable Read Receipts.
If you’re that desperate though, you have to download the beta and head to your Android phone’s settings, enable Unknown Sources to install the APK file as it’s not in the Google Play Store yet.
There, now it’s time to iron out the kinks in your friendships that the blue ticks have caused.
2. SEE WHEN YOUR MESSAGES ARE READ
In addition to finding out the exact time your messages are delivered, you can also choose to see the exact time your message was read if you choose to stick with the ticks.
How: Go to any of your WhatsApp chats, tap and hold on any of the messages you’ve sent in that chat, followed by the Info option. For iOS users, you can also drag towards the left to reveal a window which will show the time your message was delivered and subsequently read.
It works for group messages too with the window listing the time each participant read the message.
3. TIED TO YOUR NUMBER
If you’re overseas and you get a new data sim, there’s no need to go through the hassle of registering the new number attached to the SIM and faff around adding contacts. Just carry on using WhatsApp with your regular number.
How: When you put your new SIM in and activate WhatsApp, you’ll be prompted by the messaging service to register the new number. But doing so will mess up your contacts list. Just ignore the pop-up or cancel it, and your WhatsApp should work linked to your old number, while using your new data SIM.
[Image credit: Hongkiat.com]
4. SENDING PUBLIC MESSAGES PRIVATELY
If you’ve got a generic announcement to make – an invite to a weekend braai or an intervention about your friend’s unhealthy obsession with KFC – and you don’t want to do it on the loudmouth platform that is Facebook, this feature works in pretty much the same way as BCC-ing people in an email.
Your recipients will get the message as if it was a privately composed one, oblivious to the fact that you’ve sent the exact same invite to 342 other people. Sincerity? What’s that?
How: On the top left hand corner of your WhatsApp Chats window, just below the search bar, you’ll notice a Broadcast Lists. Tap on it for the option to create a new list of contacts you want your message to go out to, and message away like you would normally.
5. BACK IT UP
How: iPhone users get the option of backing their chat history to iCloud automatically on a daily/weekly/monthly schedule. If it’s only selected chat histories you desire, click on the chat you want, then the user’s name and finally email conversation to yourself.
Android users will find the file within the WhatsApp folder in their phone. Make sure that file, found in WhatsApp > Databases and named msgstore.db.crypt7, is copied and transferred to the exact same folder if you wipe your phone or get a new Android device.
6. SHORTCUTS TO CONVERSATIONS
How: Tap and hold on the chat (group or individual) of your choice and a tab will pop up. Select the Add Conversation Shortcut option and the chat in question will appear as the person’s profile photo on your mobile desktop. Unfortunately this only applies for Android users and not iPhone ones. Sorry guys.
7. SAVING MEDIA
When you’re on a 1GB data plan, every MB counts. You don’t want to be slapped with a hefty bill at the end of the month from sending stupid shareable memes and screenshots of every little thing. There’s a way to make sure that all that heavy-duty image sending won’t eat up what little complimentary data you might have in your plan.
How: Go to Settings, then Chat Settings and then Auto-Download and tweak the settings for how you want your received media to be downloaded. Choose Wi-Fi if you don’t want to overload your data plan. Alternatively, you can trigger downloads manually by switching Auto-Download to Never. You can also save the hassle of having to clean up your camera roll every so often by tweaking Save Incoming Media off.
8. KEEPING GROUP CHATS ON THE DOWN LOW
As WhatsApp becomes the go-to chat app for more and more people, the likelihood of making group decisions gets carried over as well. So if you’re always getting added to new group chats filled with strangers (you social butterfly, you), you might want to keep certain details private until those strangers become friends.
How: Head to Settings, Privacy, and then tweak your Last Seen, Profile Photo and Status to retain a bit of mystery. Choose to share them with Everyone, or only your Contacts, or Nobody at all. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do about hiding your phone number.
9. MUTE GROUP CHATS
We’re all in at least a few group chats at any one time, created because someone (likely the group admin) was bored. People tend to get overzealous in chats, especially since WhatsApp allows group conversations of up to 50 participants. Who hasn’t woken up to the horror of 100+ unread messages fuelled by a night of boredom?
How: To prevent yourself from being woken up by the constant lighting up of your smartphone screen, you can (a) either flip yourphone over and ignore it or (b) Mute the offending group chat. Tap on the group chat of your choice, then the name to bring up Group Info where you will find the option to Mute the chat for eight hours to one week or a year. Alternatively, you can exit it altogether.
10. STAYING SELECTIVELY NOTIFIED
Not all group chats are created equal, as some are filled with nothing but white noise. And it’s exactly those group chats you want to ignore until you get some down time to sieve through everything that’s been said. On the flipside, there are the group chats you want to stay on top of like ones deciding dinner plans for the night and so on. Here’s how you can stay selectively notified.
How: Go to the significant group chats, tap on the name to bring up Group Info and then Custom Notifications. There, you can select a custom message alert for the group chats of your choice. All you have to do now is remember which alert tone you assigned to which group chat. This customisation is only applicable for group chats though.
11. FIND OUT THE TRUTH ABOUT WHERE YOUR FRIEND IS
We’ve all been a victim of that “on the way” lie when the person in question is still in bed. To prevent yourself from ever getting duped again, insist that the contact shares their current location with you by tapping on the arrow icon next to the text box and then Share Location. There’s also a way of preventing them from manually entering their l
How: The way the location appears is a clue. If it’s a real GPS-based location, the location share will appear as a dropped pin, but if it’s a location they entered, its address will appear beside the dropped pin. Feel free to call them out on it.