The best tricks in WhatsApp

Make catching up with friends and family members easier. From self-destructing messages to chat-specific wallpapers and safer settings, WhatsApp offers new and improved features. Here’s all you need to know…

Change your chat wallpaper for individual WhatsApp conversations

When you have a number of different chats on the go, it’s a good idea to change the background on each so it’s harder to message the wrong group. To spruce up individual chats, go to the conversation and open Settings by tapping the three dots in the top right corner. Choose the Wallpaper option and you can theme your WhatsApp chat without affecting your others.

Going on a group holiday? Get everyone excited with a photo of your destination as the background. Happily coupled up? What’s more romantic than hearts behind your lover’s messages. From solid colour to your sports club’s logo, or a book background for your reading group, create an ideal vibe with one of the simplest WhatsApp hacks.

Use WhatsApp wallpapers for Light and Dark Mode

The social media app can switch your WhatsApp background to match your phone settings, showing a brighter wallpaper when your device is in Light Mode than when you have it in Dark Mode.

To do this, you’ll first need to have your phone in Light Mode before you go to WhatsApp and open Settings. Press Change and browse light backgrounds. Press, Set Wallpaper when you’ve found a good one and swipe down on your mobile’s notification panel to toggle on Dark Mode. Now you’ll go back in again and select your dark wallpaper. You don’t have to have a matching pair of images but it could make a cool effect to see the same design transition from day to night.

Message hands-free using the voice note function on WhatsApp

The long-press days are over. When you’re recording your next voice note on WhatsApp, press the microphone icon as usual but then swipe up so you can take your fingers off the screen. When you’re sending a long message hands-free, you can concentrate on what you’re saying rather than on keeping your thumb down. Whereas before, if your thumb slipped off the voice note button mid-message, you’d have to start over or listen back and figure out when you got cut off, this just won’t happen.

Send WhatsApp messages that delete themselves 7 days later

Having a private conversation? Switch on Disappearing Messages and what you say will be taken off the record next week. Open the chat. Click the group chat name or friend’s, up the top of your screen, and among the options you can toggle this auto-delete feature on and off.

A small clock icon next to their profile picture will remind you that this setting’s switched on. While people can save your messages by forwarding them or taking a screenshot, so it’s not an entirely fool-proof privacy feature, it’s still a great way to declutter your chattier chats and save memory space on your phone.

Use keyboard tricks in WhatsApp for added emphasis

To use the old-school typewriter style font in your message, type three apostrophes. Want to change how a word or phrase looks? Either side of the text, add asterisks for bold, underscores to underline and wavy hyphens called tildes for a strikethrough line that crosses out.

Check your WhatsApp messages are actually private

Getting a green tick as the result of this test means end-to-end encryption is working and your messages are strictly between you and your friend. Open the specific chats you want to check and press their name or picture in the top left to open your contact’s profile settings. When you tap Encryption, you’ll see a QR code for your friend to scan with their phone and your unique encryption code, four columns of numbers, which you could choose instead to compare with your friend’s code.

Find out who’s read your WhatsApp group chat message

Want to see which WhatsApp user got the memo? Highlight your specific message by tapping and holding it, then tap the three dots for Info. If your friends are allowing read receipts and haven’t blocked you, you’ll see whether they’ve read your message in the group chat. It’s ideal if you’re changing plans last minute or working on a group project.

Show friends and family members your current location

Sharing your live location for 15 minutes, 1 hour or 8 hours on a map in real time, a feature on WhatsApp, means you’ll never fall off the grid. Your friends and family won’t have to keep checking in with you, sending WhatsApp messages asking where you are or how long you’ll be, as they’ll know exactly – until you press Stop Sharing.

To choose how long you can be tracked, open the chat, tap the paperclip icon, then Location and choose to Share Live Location. When a friend is making their way home, this is a great way for your group to see they're safe. And this also helps you trust that the kids are where they told you they’d be.

Set a custom tone for your important chats or favourite person

Know who’s messaged you when your phone’s across the room just by listening to the notification sound. WhatsApp currently has 50 beeps, songs and chimes that you can set for people in your contact list, ranging from the sci-fi (Asteroid, Alien) to the super urgent (Atomic Bell).

To set one that suits someone’s personality or how you feel about your favourite groups, open your chat and press the top bar to see their profile in more detail. Tap Use Custom Notifications and change their tune.

Hide your profile picture for your WhatsApp account

Whether you’re feeling shy or aren’t keen on colleagues glimpsing your private life, it’s easy to tweak your WhatsApp settings so certain people see a generic silhouette profile picture rather than your selfie. To open your settings, go to your Account, then Privacy and choose Profile Photo. Here you can decide to let Everyone, My Contacts or Nobody see you, and changes are instant.

Always mute notifications from your WhatsApp contacts

Rather than having to mute notifications for 1 year, you can now choose to do so for Always. It’s a new option in your WhatsApp settings that lets you pause notifications and focus for as long as you like.

Distracted by your phone pinging or vibrating? Open the chat you want to shush and tap the bar at the top of your screen, then tap Settings. You can toggle on Mute Notifications for 8 hours, 1 week or Always.

How to edit photos in WhatsApp

Go to the Status tab in the middle up the top of your WhatsApp screen and add or snap a picture. Using the toolbar in the top right, you can add text with the ‘T’ button and change the type or colour font or press the pen button and doodle. Choosing the smiley face button lets you add stickers, including your own custom designs.

To place a filter over the top of your picture, swipe up and experiment – Chrome, Film and Pop can add warmth to your image, or you can go black and white or subdue colours with the Cool filter. You’ll have all the WhatsApp tricks you need to create the perfect picture, no need to open up another social media app first.

Turn your selfies into a range of custom WhatsApp Stickers

To create these in minutes, download the free Sticker Maker app. Choose the selfies you want to use from your phone’s photo gallery, so the Smart Select feature can cut out the background and neaten up your sticker with a border. All you have to do is save your finished creation and tap Add To WhatsApp.

Now you can use it in your chats and surprise your friends with a mini-you for every reaction and occasion. Everyone can use emojis and Gifs on WhatsApp, so if you really want to get laughs and make your replies standout, especially in group chats, this is the way to break the ice when chatting with new people or send wordless replies with a personal touch to your favourite person.

iPhone users, you can copy and paste from your photo album

Next time you fancy sending a group of images at the same time, go to your iPhone’s photo album, select all the ones you want and press Share – the square icon with an upwards arrow in the bottom left of your screen. And tap Copy Photos. Afterwards, open the WhatsApp chat and press Paste in the text bar where you’d usually type your message. All the photos you copied will appear, ready for you to edit them should you want to, before you hit send.

By choosing your photos before opening WhatsApp, you’re saving yourself the time of sending them one by one and the risk that you’ll accidentally select and send a photo without meaning to. It’s a useful feature on an iOS mobile device. Android users, perhaps you’ll have this power soon, keep an eye on the Google Play Store for app updates.

Plus, look out for more WhatsApp tips and tricks on the way

To make the app as convenient as possible and give you more control, WhatsApp is said to be launching six new features in the near future. You could sign into your account on twice as many devices – that’s four, all at the same time. And if you want to logout, you’re in luck because this option looks set to replace the Delete Account button. Want short videos to watch while you’re waiting for a reply? WhatsApp’s trying to add Instagram Reels too. Meanwhile, those images you’re sending could delete themselves after a while should the settings change as expected.

You could also speed-listen to voice notes meaning you could speed through 1.5x or 2x faster. Alternatively, Read Later might also be available and it’ll perhaps have a Vacation Mode. It’ll work a bit like WhatsApp’s Archived Chats feature but better, so you could stop getting notifications until you’re ready to catch up on the chat.

Related articles

Useful links