WhatsApp tips and tricks: 14 ways to master messaging

WhatsApp needs no introduction. It’s the world’s most popular instant messaging service, and 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 new4trick readers get the most out of it.

1. 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.

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

2. 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.

3. Switch your WhatsApp chat history between phones

An update that allows Google Drive backups should now have rolled out to all users. This is far and away the easiest method of moving your chat and media history between devices.

However, if for any reason you need to move your WhatsApp history over to a new device without using Google Drive, it’s still a pretty painless procedure. All you need is a microSD card and a few minutes to spare.

  • Insert the microSD card into the device that has WhatsApp on it
  • In WhatsApp, go to Settings > Chats > Chat backup
  • 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.

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It’s easy to make and transfer WhatsApp backups. 

4. 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
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Tick the ‘Wide text bubbles’ box in the WAToolkit options to fit more messages on your screen. / © ANDROIDPIT

5. 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
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The broadcast feature lets you send a mass message without everyone seeing the recipients. / © ANDROIDPIT

6. 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
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Make sure people only see the info you want them to see. 

7. 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 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
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Are you being harassed by group chat notifications? Go into the chat and mute it. 

8. Create a home screen 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 home screen. 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 home screen. Tap it to jump straight in and start chatting to them.
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Tap the Add shortcut option for quick access to certain chats from your homescreen.

9. 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 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

If you want to know how to recover other deleted messages on your phone, hit the link.

10. How to change your WhatsApp background

This simple little trick allows you to change the default wallpaper in WhatsApp. It’s purely an aesthetic feature, but it does make your conversations look a lot nicer.

  • In WhatsApp, tap the options (three dots) button and tap Settings
  • Tap Chats
  • Tap Wallpaper
  • Tap WhatsApp, to download the WhatsApp wallpaper pack, or Documents, to view your own images.
  • Select an image and tap Set Wallpaper
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Look at this cute wallpaper.

11. How to change the font size

If your eyesight is less than perfect, you can change the size of the text to make it even bigger. Or perhaps you want to shrink it so you can see more of the conversation on one page. Either way, here’s how.

  • In WhatsApp, tap the options (three dots) button and tap Settings
  • Tap Chats
  • Tap Font Size
  • Select your preferred font size
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The chat text is subtly smaller in this picture.

12. Hide the blue ticks

You can stop your contacts knowing if you have read their messages by hiding the blue ticks. It’s easy to switch them off, just bear in mind that this will mean that you won’t get see when contacts have read your messages either. They will remain switched on for group chats regardless.

 

  • In WhatsApp, tap the options (three dots) button and tap Settings
  • Tap Account
  • Tap Privacy
  • Untick the Read receipts box
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You can hide the message read ticks, but you won’t know when others have read your messages either.

13. Star messages to quickly view them later

If there’s a particularly important message in one of your chats that you want to be able to refer back to easily at a later date, then just long press on it, then press the star icon at the top of the screen. When you want to view it again, you can now just tap the trio of dots at the top right of the WhatsApp window, and press on Starred messages. 

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Navigate to the starred messages section by tapping the three dots icon. / © ANDROIDPIT

14. Use Google Now to send messages

This is a near hands-free way to send a message in WhatsApp. Assuming you have Google Now enabled (which you should) just say, “OK Google”, and then, “send WhatsApp message to (insert name)”. After that you just dictate the message you want to send and Google Now will do the rest.

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Google Now offers the easiest way to send WhatsApp messages. 

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

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