The Complete Guide to Keeping Your Privacy While Using WhatsApp

We are in the midst of both a social media boom and a time when privacy protection and improving productivity are hot topics. WhatsApp is one of the biggest messenger platforms in the middle of this culture shift. Given its widespread adoption, you may want to restrict your information sharing, even if it’s only a little. If you use WhatsApp Business, then you have more reason to control the information you share, as it impacts your business directly.

In this article you’ll learn how to stay in control – and if necessary under the radar – while using WhatsApp.

1. Turn Off Your “Last Seen” Timestamp

Since WhatsApp is an instant messaging app, it makes sense to let your contacts know when you were online last. But not everybody wants this feature.

After all, it’s easier to turn off this feature than to explain to your friends why you haven’t been responding to their messages, even though you’ve been online.

Note: If you turn off this feature, you will also lose the ability to see your friends’ last seen timestamp.

1. Open Settings on WhatsApp.


2. Select “Account,” then choose “Privacy.”


3. Click on “Last seen.” If you intend for only your contacts to be able to view your last seen timestamp, choose “My contacts” (only the phone numbers you have saved to your device).


If you want to keep your privacy absolute on this one, then choose “Nobody.”


2. Prevent People From Viewing Your Profile Photo

If you just want your close friends or family members to view your profile picture, the following shows how to prevent others from seeing your profile photo.

1. Go to “Settings -> Accounts -> Privacy.”

2. Choose “Profile Photo,” and set your permission levels as usual. Choose “My contacts” to allow only your contacts to view your photo.


3. Choose Who Can View Your “About” Message

The WhatsApp “About” message is like a mini personal statement. A good number of people may have sensitive notes written in the statement, meaning they don’t want everyone to be able to view it. If you fall into this category, then follow the steps below.

1. Go to “Settings -> Accounts -> Privacy.”

2. Choose “About.”


3. Choose “My contacts” to allow only your contacts to view your “About” message or “Nobody” to hide it completely.


4. Restrict Who Can View Your Status Updates

The WhatsApp Status feature allows you to share pictures, notes and short videos on your account. Because this media is sensitive and private, most people will prefer to restrict the people who can view it. Here’s how to go about it.

1. Go to “Settings -> Accounts -> Privacy.”

2. Choose “Status.”


WhatsApp provides three ways to modify this privacy setting:


  • My Contacts: Allows only your contacts to view your status.
  • My Contacts Except: Lets you blacklist specific contacts on your account from viewing your status.
  • Only Share With: Allows you to whitelist certain people on your contact list to be able to view your status.

5. Share Your Live Location

This is perhaps the most sensitive feature of WhatsApp. It allows you to share your present location to a contact for a specified amount of time. Currently, you can share your location for up to eight hours. Think of it as allowing someone else to track you via your device for up to eight hours!

1. Open a chat window with the contact you want to share your live location with.

2. Click on the attachment icon and select “Location.”


3. Click on “Share live location,” and choose the time limit. Add any extra messages, then click the “Send” button.


4. Check if you are sharing live location with any contacts by going to “Settings -> Accounts -> Privacy” and clicking on “Live location.”


If you are currently sharing your location, you can cancel it from here. Click on “Stop sharing” to cancel.

6. Blocking Contacts

If you feel offended or bullied by any contacts on your WhatsApp messenger, then block them ASAP. The “Block” feature should be used to protect your privacy and mental health from stalkers and bullies online.

1. Click on the contact you wish to block.

2. Click on their name to show their details. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Block.”


3. To unblock a contact, go to “Settings -> Accounts -> Privacy.”

4. Click on “Blocked contacts.”


5. Select the contact you wish to unblock, and complete the unblocking process.


7. Hide Read Receipt Status

WhatsApp provides a feature that allows your contact to know when you have read their messages. It’s known informally as the blue tick feature.

Whenever you open a message on WhatsApp, it updates the person on the other end by changing the color of the “read receipt” marks to blue. Here’s how to hide your “Read Receipts.”

1. Go to “Settings -> Accounts -> Privacy.”

2. Click on “Read receipts.”


3. If you check it, the feature is turned on. Uncheck it to turn it off.

8. Use Notifications to Read Messages in Stealth-mode

The WhatsApp floating notification window is a perfect way to read messages without your contacts’ knowledge. It only shows up when you are outside the WhatsApp application and allows you to read messages without ticking them as read.

1. Go to “Settings -> Notifications -> Popup notification.”


2. Choose one of the four options presented.


  • No popups: will not display any popups
  • Only when screen on: will show popups only when your screen is on
  • Only when screen off: will show the popups only when your phone is idle
  • Always show popups: shows popups every time

Wrapping Up

WhatsApp provides adequate options to configure how much information about you that people can access. Each of these methods is explained in this article. Ensure you put these tips into practice to secure your privacy online.

Nicholas Godwin
Nicholas Godwin

Nicholas Godwin is a technology researcher who helps businesses tell profitable brand stories that their audiences love. He's worked on projects for Fortune 500 companies, global tech corporations and top consulting firms, from Bloomberg Beta, Accenture, PwC, and Deloitte to HP, Shell, and AT&T. You may follow his work on Twitter or simply say hello. His website is Tech Write Researcher.

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