There are loads of messaging services out there today, but WhatsApp offers loads of features and is very widely used – the Facebook-owned app claims to have over two billion users worldwide, which is quite amazing.

So here are some secret tips that you might not know mixed with some standard tips for new WhatsApp users.

General WhatsApp tips and tricks

Send your location to a contact

WhatsApp allows you to send photos and videos to contacts, as well as share a contact or a document, but you can also send your location. This is very handy if you meet a friend somewhere, especially if you opt for the Share Live Location option, which allows your contact to see your live location for the duration you choose so they can follow you. The durations are fixed at 15 minutes, 1 hour or 8 hours.

iOS: Chat > Specific chat > Press the “+” to the left of the message box > Location > Share live location > Select the duration.

Android: Chat > Specific chat > Tap on the paperclip on the right of the message box > Location > Share live location > Select the time interval.

You can see everyone you share your live location with by opening Settings > Account > Privacy > Live Location.

Search all your chats

Someone may have sent you their address or you may remember talking about a specific program or movie, but you don’t want to scroll through them all your messages to try to find what you are looking for. A search bar sits at the top of all your chats on iOS. On Android, there is a search icon.

You can type anything in the search bar, from the beginning of a city name if you are looking for an address to a specific word, and all chats containing that word will appear below as specific messages. When you tap the search bar, you’ll also see a list of options, from Photos to Audio, allowing you to narrow down your search.

By clicking on a given result, you access the part of the conversation you had.

Search a specific chat

If you want to search in a specific chat rather than all your chats, this is also possible. Maybe you had a conversation about a specific meeting place, or the person sent you their alternate contact number or address, for example.

iOS: Chats > Specific chat > Tap on contact information at the top > Chat search > Type in the search bar that appears at the top of that specific chat.

Android: Chats > Specific chat > Open the menu at the top right > Search > Type in the search bar that appears at the top of this specific chat.

Find the person you talk to the most

Who is really your favorite person? It may not be what you think. There’s a way to find the people you’re messaging the most and see how much storage each person is taking up, among other things.

iOS and Android: Settings > Storage & Data > Manage Storage > You will see a list of contacts at the bottom in order of who is using the most storage.

Quickly delete all photos, GIFs, videos, messages or stickers from a certain chat.

It is possible to delete all messages, photos or videos, GIFs, contacts, locations, voicemails, documents and stickers from a chat. For example, you can delete all messages from a specific chat or a group chat, but leave all photos.

iOS and Android: Settings > Storage and data > Manage storage > Select contact > Manage > Select > Check the boxes next to what you want to delete (videos or images) > Tap on the bin to delete.

Files can be sorted by taking up the most space, newest and oldest if you tap the circle in the lower left corner after tapping the contact.

Quickly review and delete items to free up storage space

WhatsApp has made it easier to manage what’s taking up space on your device. Not only can you see which chats are taking up the most storage space as above, but you can also see which files are larger than 5MB and which files have been transferred multiple times.

iOS and Android: Settings > Storage and data > Manage storage. In the Review and Delete Items section, you can click the tab for files larger than 5MB or the tab for files transferred multiple times, and then select the ones you want to delete. As with individual chats, you can sort them by tapping on the circle in the lower left corner.

Save your data allowance

If you have a limited data quota, you don’t want WhatsApp to devour it entirely. Luckily, you can customize when media is allowed to download, and ensure calls use as little data as possible.

iOS and Android: Settings > Storage and data > Automatic media download > Switch to Wi-Fi only for each option to save your data.

Find out how much data you’re using

If you’re worried about your data usage, you can find out exactly how much you’re using. You’ll get a breakdown of the total number of messages sent and received, as well as data sent and received.

iOS and Android: Settings > Storage and data > Network usage.

Use WhatsApp on the web and desktop

WhatsApp is not limited to your mobile phone. There’s a web app that syncs everything from your phone and a desktop app too. Go to or download the desktop app from

You will then need to open WhatsApp on your phone > Settings > WhatsApp Web/Desktop > Scan the QR code on the browser or desktop app > Follow the instructions.

The web and desktop apps will display chats and alerts on your computer, making it quick and easy for you to respond. If you lose your connection, the web app will stop syncing until your phone connection is restored. To learn more about how this feature works, see our separate article.

Change your WhatsApp chat screen wallpaper

WhatsApp has a standard wallpaper, which appears in the background of all your chats. You can change this wallpaper though, with options including solid colors, your own photos as well as a collection of images from WhatsApp itself.

iOS: Settings > Chats > Chat wallpaper > Choose wallpaper library, solid colors or photos.

Android: Settings > Chats > Chat Wallpaper > Choose Wallpaper Library, Solid Colors, Gallery, Default or No Wallpaper.

WhatsApp Privacy Tips & Tricks

Enable Disappearing Messages

If you enable the Disappearing Messages option, all new messages in a chat will disappear after seven days. Remember that messages can always be saved elsewhere. You can read more about disappearing messages in our separate article.

iOS and Android: Specific chat > Click on the name of the person at the top of the chat > Disappearing messages > Activated.

Send an image or video that disappears

It is possible to send an image or video that disappears when the recipient has watched it once. This is ideal for photos of a password or bank details, for example, which contain sensitive information. When the recipient closes your image, it disappears, but remember that they can take a screenshot. You can read a full analysis of this feature in our separate article.

iOS: Specific chat > Tap on the “+” next to the message input field > Choose “Camera” to take a photo or “Photo and video library” to select a photo > Choose the photo > Tap on the “1” next to the blue send arrow > Tap the blue arrow to send.

Android: Specific chat > Tap on the paperclip next to the message input field > Choose “Camera” to take a photo or “Gallery” to select a photo > Choose the photo > Tap on the “1” to side of the blue send arrow > Tap the blue arrow to send.

Require Face ID or Touch ID to unlock WhatsApp

If you want double security for your WhatsApp chats, it is possible for iOS users to configure their WhatsApp account to require Face ID or Touch ID authentication when opening WhatsApp, even if your device is already unlocked.

You will still be able to reply to messages from notifications and answer calls if WhatsApp is locked. It is also possible to set the duration for which you want the screen lock function to be triggered.

iOS: Settings > Account > Privacy > Screen lock > Activate the option Require Face ID / Require Touch ID > Select the duration (Immediately, after one minute, after 15 minutes or after one hour).

How to see and turn off the Last Seen feature

The Last Seen feature of WhatsApp allows you to see when someone last viewed WhatsApp, and also allows users to see when you viewed WhatsApp for the last time. If a contact hasn’t disabled this feature, it appears below their name at the top of an open chat. To deactivate last control:

iOS and Android: Settings > Account > Privacy > Last seen > Switch to Nobody.

Hide blue ticks

These blue ticks can get you in a whole lot of trouble, especially when you don’t respond instantly and someone sees that you’ve read their messages. You can turn them off, but it’s worth noting that if you do, you won’t get a return receipt for your messages either.

Apple users: If you ask Siri to read the message, the blue checkmarks do not appear, which can be a good way to read a message without the sender knowing. Android users: If you read your messages in notifications, the sender won’t see the blue ticks.

iOS: Settings > Account > Privacy > Disable receipt reading.

Android: Settings > Account > Privacy > Disable read receipts.

Prevent people from seeing your messages

Ever passed your phone to a friend and instantly freaked out about the messages they might see? Yes, neither do we. For those who have, you can disable message preview on iOS so that only the contact’s name appears, rather than their biography, or you can disable notifications altogether.

iOS: Settings > Notifications > Disable preview / Settings > Notifications > Disable display of notifications.

Android offers a range of notification controls. In the WhatsApp application itself, you can disable priority notifications, i.e. those that appear at the top of the screen. You can also control system-level notifications to keep the details private or suppress them altogether.

Android: Settings > Notifications > Disable the use of high priority notifications.

Hide your profile picture

You may not want everyone to see your profile picture, especially if you are in several groups where you don’t know all the members. Or maybe you feel like being a little mysterious for the day. In any case, you can choose whether everyone, no one or only your contacts see your photo.

iOS and Android: Settings > Account > Privacy > Profile photo.

How to block a WhatsApp contact

There are many reasons why you may want to block a contact, so we won’t ask you why. We’ll just tell you that if you block a contact you won’t be able to send or receive messages or make or receive calls from them and that even if you unblock them you won’t see any messages sent to you during that he was stuck.

iOS and Android: Chats > Specific chat > Tap the contact’s subject at the top > Scroll to the bottom > Block contact.

Prevent images and videos from appearing in your gallery

Sharing photos and videos on WhatsApp is great, but maybe you don’t want them added to your phone’s gallery. On Android, a folder is created by default in the gallery, while on iOS it saves to your Photo Roll. If you don’t want this, you can turn it off.

iOS: Settings > Chats > Disable Recording in Camera Roll.

Android: Settings > Chats > Disable display of media in the gallery.

Change image/video autosave preferences for specific cats

It is also possible to change image and video autosave preferences for specific cats. You can, for example, make sure your family pictures are always backed up, while you’d rather not have all the pictures from a group chat in your gallery or your photo roll.

All chats are set by default (disabled) unless you change them individually, but you have the option to always save a contact’s pictures and videos or never save them.

iOS: Chat > Specific chat > Tap the contact or subject at the top of the screen > Save to photo list > Always or Never.

Download and view your WhatsApp data report

If you want to download and view the data that WhatsApp, property of Facebook, collects on you, you can download and view a data report.

iOS and Android: Settings > Account > Request account information > Request a report.

Tips and tricks for WhatsApp chats

Reference and reply to a specific message

Have you already talked about several things in a WhatsApp chat and you need to reply to a specific message? WhatsApp lets you reply to a particular message, presenting it above your reply so that whoever you’re messaging can easily see what you’re replying to.

iOS: Chats > Specific chat > Specific message > Swipe from left to right on the message > Type your reply and press send.

Android: Chats > Specific chat > Specific message > Long press > Reply.

Reply to a group message privately

It is possible to reply to a group message privately in your individual chat, without having to find the individual chat you have with that particular person.

iOS: Press and hold a message in a group chat > Select More > Reply privately. The message will appear in your individual chat with the text box below, as if you were replying to a specific message as above.

Android: Tap and hold a message in a group chat > Select the three buttons in the upper right corner > Reply privately. The message will appear in your one-on-one chat with the text box below, as if replying to a specific message as above.

Putting words in bold, italics or strikethrough

Sometimes certain words need to be highlighted and garish capitals are not enough. Don’t worry, WhatsApp lets you bold, italicize, or strike out any words or phrases you want.

iOS and Android: Add an asterisk next to the word or phrase to make it *bold*. Add an underscore on either side of the word or phrase to get _italic_. Add a tilde on either side of the word or phase for ~strikethrough~.

Send a voice note without hands

If you want to send a voice note on WhatsApp, rather than writing a message, you can press and hold the microphone to the right of the message input field. It is also possible to lock the microphone button so that you can record your message without having to hold your phone.

iOS and Android: Chats > Specific chat > Tap on the microphone to the right of the message area > Hold the microphone > Swipe up to the lock. The microphone will then be locked to recording until you send the message.

Accelerate the reading of a voice message

You can speed up the reading of a voice message by 1.5 or 2 times, which allows you to listen to long messages more quickly. It’s simple to do and it doesn’t change the pitch of the person’s voice.

iOS and Android: Chats > Specific chat > Tap the play icon next to the voicemail you want to speed up > Tap the 1x icon that appears to make it 1.5x > Tap 1.5x to make it 2x faster > Tap the 2x icon to go back to 1x.

Mark chats as unread

Ever been on the go, read a thread and completely forgot to reply to it? It happens to us all the time. It is possible to mark important discussions with dots to remind you to come back to them.

iOS: Chats > Swipe left to right > Mark as unread.

Android: Long press chat > Open menu > Mark as unread.

Pin a chat to the top of the page

If you tend to forget to reply to messages, you can also pin a chat to appear at the top of all your chats, including above news discussions and unread discussions, instead of just marking it as unread. It’s only possible to pin three chats, though, so don’t get too complacent with your answers.

iOS: Chats > Swipe left to right > Pin chat.

Android: Long press on the chat > Tap on the pin at the top of the screen.

Mute a chat or group chat

Group chats are sometimes the worst. You might not be able to leave the conversation, but you can mute notifications so you won’t be woken up every time someone adds their two cents.

iOS: Chats > Open the group chat / chat > Tap on the subject to get the Group info / Contact info screen > Mute > Select how long you want to mute it.

Android: Chats > Open chat > Menu button > Mute.

Archive your chats

Archiving chats allows you to hide a conversation on your chat screen. This doesn’t delete the conversation – it just allows you to remove it from your main chat screen without losing it, helping to organize your conversations.

You can archive groups or individual chats, and they will disappear until you scroll down from the top of the Chats screen and tap on the Archived Chats tab. You can also archive all chats.

iOS: Chats > Specific chat > Swipe from right to left > Archive / Settings > Chats > Archive all chats.

Android: Chats > Long press on the chat > Tap on the archive folder at the top right of the screen.

Back up your chats

To make sure you don’t lose any of your chats if you lose your device or switch devices, be sure to back up your chats to iCloud or Google Drive. Unfortunately, if you’re switching from iOS to Android and vice versa, there’s no easy way to transfer your chats, so be prepared to lose them. Also be aware that archived chats are no longer encrypted.

iOS and Android: Settings > Chats > Chat backup > Backup now.

Erase All Chats

If you want to keep all the contacts you chat with on your WhatsApp but want to erase all your messages, WhatsApp gives you a simple option to do so.

iOS: Settings > Chats > Delete all chats.

Delete all chats

Want a clean WhatsApp slate? Start from scratch by deleting all your chats. This means you’ll get rid of everything, not just chat content, but you’ll also have to start a new chat for each contact.

iOS: Settings > Chats > Delete all chats.

Bookmark important messages

Some messages are more important than others. Whether it’s a date you need to remember or a great restaurant you’ve been recommended. It is possible to bookmark these messages and find them easily in the Messages marked with an asterisk section.

iOS: Chats > Specific chat > Specific message > Double-click or hold down and press star.

Android: Chats > Specific conversation > Specific message > Hold down the finger and press the star.

Delete a specific message in a chat

Just as you can star a specific message in a chat, you can also delete a specific message in a chat. You can also “delete for everyone”, but you must do so within 1 hour, 8 minutes and 16 seconds.

If you choose to delete for everyone, a message will appear in the chat indicating that the message has been deleted, which, although suspicious, is better than the message you sent initially.

iOS and Android: Chats > Specific chat > Press and hold the specific message you want to delete > Press Delete.

Send a public private message

Have you ever had a free evening and wanted to ask several of your friends if they are around without having to open each chat to ask them separately?

You can send a public message to a list of contacts giving the impression that you have asked them individually. Great for saving time, terrible if they all answer yes.

iOS: Chats > Mailing Lists > New List > Add Contacts.

Android: Chats > Menu > New broadcast.

Find out how long you have been ignored.

There’s nothing more annoying than seeing those blue tics popping up with no response to follow soon after. If you want to torture yourself a bit more and know when your message was read and how long you were ignored, you can do that. But we don’t recommend it.

iOS: Chats > Specific chat > Specific message > Swipe from right to left.

Android: Chats > Specific conversation > Specific message > Press and hold > Press the information icon “i” at the top.

Tips and tricks on WhatsApp comfort and notifications

Ask Siri to read your last message, reply or send a new message.

Apple users can ask Siri to read all unread WhatsApp messages, once you have followed the steps to give access to the personal assistant. You can also ask Siri to reply to the message with your voice or start a new message to a contact.

iOS: “Hey Siri, read my last WhatsApp message” > “Hey Siri, send a WhatsApp message to [contact] ”.

See recent chats without opening WhatsApp

Apple users can see which contacts they have unread messages from without opening the WhatsApp application by adding the WhatsApp Recent Chats widget to their device. Up to four of your latest chats will appear in the recent chats widget when you swipe from left to right from your main home screen or lock screen.

The widget displays the circular profile picture icon with the number of unread chats you have with that particular contact. You can then click on the chat you want to read and WhatsApp will open to that specific chat.

iOS: Swipe left to right from your lock screen or main home screen > Scroll down to the Edit icon at the bottom > Add the WhatsApp Recent Chats icon > Rearrange the order of your widgets.

Customize notifications

There may be some contacts you want to know instantly if they are calling or texting you. To make sure they don’t blend in, you can change their specific alert tones so you know when that particular person has messaged or called you via WhatsApp.

iOS and Android: Chats > Specific chat > Tap on the contact’s name at the top > Custom tone.

Get shortcuts to specific conversations

Do you have a few very special people you talk to all the time via WhatsApp? We have them too. You can create a shortcut for specific conversations on Android, giving you easier access to the chats you need all the time.

Android: Chats > Specific chat > Menu > More > Add shortcut or Chats > Press and hold individual chat > Menu > Add chat shortcut.

Automatically add dates to your calendar

If you tend to forget dates mentioned in various chats, it is possible to automatically create an event directly from WhatsApp on iOS.

iOS: Press and hold date in chat > Create event.