These Hidden WhatsApp Features Are Game Changers

When it comes to technology, I like to keep my life pretty simple. That said, one of my personal favorite phone apps is WhatsApp, a messaging app that's popular mostly overseas, but is quickly catching on in the United States. Like many other apps and services, WhatsApp has some hidden features that can make your messaging life even easier than before — and they're definitely worth knowing.

What makes WhatsApp different from other messaging services? From the start, WhatsApp, which lets you send text messages, photos, and videos, make calls, and video chat, all within one app, is 100 percent free, even if you're traveling abroad. Let me repeat that for emphasis: Even if you're outside of the United States, WhatsApp is free. This means you don't get any of those terrible "international fees" for calling or messaging from someone back home, your long-distance significant other, your great aunt who loves to call you for hours on end, etc. The app is also great if you're worried about protecting your data and maintaining digital privacy — WhatsApp is double encrypted, which might be important not only if you're someone who simply values a lot of protection in your phone, but also if you're, say, traveling in an area where your personal information could put your safety in danger.

All of these cool points aside, WhatsApp is also super user-friendly and has lots of cool tips and tricks. You can check out some of my favorite WhatsApp hacks below:

1. Find Out Who Has Read Your Message

Yes, you can find out who has your read message on WhatsApp! You can use this feature both in single contact message chains and group texts. It's super easy to do: First, press down on the message you sent. Then, when an "i" pops up on your screen, tap on the "i" to reveal who read your message and when. In a chat, you also have the option of simply swiping your message from left to right to see the delivery and read notifications. Easy, right?

2. Disable Your "Last Seen" Information

Don't want people to know when you're reading their messages? Trying to downplay the last time you were on the app so you can avoid answering an awkward text? Luckily, WhatsApp lets you disable this feature. By default, WhatsApp shows "Everyone" on your contacts list the last time you were on the app. However, if you go into Settings, you can change this information to "No One." Enter the 'Settings' menu, go into 'Accounts,' then 'Privacy,' and change your visibility to "No One." Simple, right?

Pssst! Check out our podcast, The Chat Room, for all things internet.

3. Save Your Conversations

Perhaps one of the mose useful features of WhatsApp is that you can super easily save your conversations, timestamps and all. To do this, you simply go to 'Settings,' then 'Chat Settings,' then 'Backup Conversations.' Done.

4. Transfer Your Conversations

Consider this a backup to your backup: To send a conversation somewhere else, press down on the conversation in question, select 'Email Conversion,' choose whether or not you want to include data (photos, videos, etc.), then send it off via email, where it'll arrive as a text file. Use this as you will!

5. Block Specific Contacts

Gone are the days you need to contact your phone company to have someone's number blocked — WhatsApp can block someone's information with ease. Simply tap on the three dotted lines, select 'Options,' tap on 'More,' then 'Block.' This means this contact will not be able to contact you via individual or group chat. Easy as pie.

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