By Dave Avran
November 7, 2017
THIS week we conclude our series on whatsapp tips and tricks. By now you already know that the Facebook-owned messaging service experienced an hour-long global outage last Friday. While no online service is immune to the occasional hiccup, this outage was notable for its global scale which impacted WhatsApp’s 1.2 billion user base and made worldwide news.
16. Make calls
WhatsApp is more than just a run-of-the-mill instant messenger. You can use it to make calls too.
How: Make sure you’re using the latest version of WhatsApp. You should see a new calls tab alongside the usual Chats and Contacts. Just send a voice call invite to another WhatsApp user and you’ll be chatting away in no time.
17. Instantly add dates to your calendar
It’s easy to forget appointments when you’re a busy bee. You make vague plans for drinks, settle on a date, then promptly forget about it as the conversation rolls on. This handy little shortcut makes sure you commit to an appointment.
How: Just state a date and you get an automatic link to add it to your calendar. It also recognises words like ‘today’, ‘tomorrow’ and days.
But it’s still best to use specific dates, just in case you get the day wrong. No more excuses for forgetting dates anymore, then. At least, not for iOS users. Android users have to wait a little while longer.
18. Use Whatsapp on the web
WhatsApp Web is the best creation since…WhatsApp itself. It’s not an entirely new feature (as any smug Android user will tell you), but their gloating days are over, as it’s now available on iOS too.
How: To enable inconspicuous chatting on the web while you do your work, all you have to do is go to Settings and tap on WhatsApp Web. Then head to web.whatsapp.com on your computer and scan the QR code that appears using your phone. Commence chatting on the sly without downloading anything. Handy, and also very, very distracting.
19. Save data on calls
Making calls via WhatsApp is a very convenient feature, but it can also consume a lot of data. Thankfully, there’s a new option to help those of us with data shortage problems.
How: Pop into Settings then Chats and Calls. Right at the bottom, you’ll find Low Data Usage. Turn that on to decrease the amount of data used during calls made via WhatsApp. We’d still advise using WhatsApp calls sparingly on data if you’re on a limited data plan, but you can still save on calls when connected to Wi-Fi abroad.
20. Locate group chat
You can find old group chats by searching for individual members that were in the chat group, rather than the group name itself. This is useful for when you want to revisit old topics, as chances are you’ll remember who was in the chat.
How: Just tap on any individual chats, and tap their name for more information. From there you’ll be able to see all the groups you have in common with said individual, even if they go way back.
21. Back up everything including video
There was a time when you could only backup images in your chats, but not videos. Now that’s changed.
How: Get into Settings, then Chats and Calls, and pop into Chat Backup. This is the control centre for backing up your wordy memories.
You can choose when you want Auto Backup to happen (but make sure you disable backing up using data within your phone’s settings or there will be hell to pay). You can also choose to include videos in your backup by toggling Include Videos.
Have the habit of reading messages then forgetting to reply to them? Now you have no excuse to neglect them as there’s a new Mark as unread feature which lets you mark chats with a blue dot so that you can come back to them later.
How: Just swipe any of your chats to the right and the option to Mark as unread will show up. Tap on it and a blue dot will appear on the chat as a visual marker. Once you’re done with it, just swipe the chat to the right to unmark it.
Android users can achieve the same thing by long-pressing on a chat.
22. Stop people from accidentally reading your messages
Theoretically, all messages on WhatsApp are private – but not when you leave your phone on the table, and a new message notification pops up. How many times have you unintentionally read someone’s message just because you’ve curiously looked over when their phone screen blinked to life with a new message notification?
Admit it, we’ve all done it, and sometimes read something we’ve regretted.
How: Go to Settings, then Notifications, and disable Show Preview. Now you can gossip in peace, without anyone accidentally reading your conversations by glancing casually at your phone when a notification comes in. Your notification still reveals who has just messaged you, without divulging any of its super secret contents.
24. Reply directly from a popup
Oh, new message! Swipe down the notification bar, tap the message and reply. Sounds simple, right? It is, but there’s an even faster way – cut to the chase and reply directly from a notification.
How: Go to Settings, Notifications, then Popup Notification, and choose from four different options. You can change this setting for both individual messages and group messages respectively. Unfortunately, this feature is only available for Android for now.
25. Send an attachment
If you need to quickly send a document to a colleague, and email isn’t an option, it’s easily done. Just select the file you want from Google Drive, Dropbox or iCloud and WhatsApp will fling it onwards as a pdf.
How: Tap the + symbol > Document > select your cloud storage service of choice and then the file itself.
Hope you enjoyed this series as much as I enjoyed aggregating it.