WhatsApp, over the years, has grown to be by far the world’s leading mobile messaging app. Today, it boasts well over 1 billion users with new, distinct, and innovative features popping up almost every six months. I think it’s safe to say that no one will be knocking WhatsApp off its throne anytime soon. Even with the fact that most low end Windows Phones and BlackBerries no longer support WhatsApp (you know, because WhatsApp is so good, its developers can afford to be proud and picky), the user base doesn’t seem to be affected one bit, giving the app further credibility and overall appeal.
WhatsApp has numerous uses; the ubiquitous messaging, voice calls, and the recently added video calls. However, there are some hidden things that the app is capable of performing; uses that aren’t known to just everyone. Most times, upon getting to know these WhatsApp tricks, people marvel (as if they just discovered fire or something), while other times, the hidden uses seem useless. Nevertheless, here are 10 tricks you can perform on WhatsApp that not everyone knows about.
1. Read messages without the sender knowing
There’s a usual paradigm in messaging that you have to reply to a message once you see it. Ever been in a situation where you want to read a message without having to reply, or without making the sender realize you saw it? Apparently, now you can, if you follow these simple steps:
- Go to your phone network settings and disable your mobile data (or simply turn on flight mode)
- Go back to the message and read it
- Return to your settings and switch your mobile data back on (or in the case of flight mode, switch it off again)
When you do this, blue ticks (which indicate that you’ve read the message) won’t appear, due to lack of internet connection.
2. Operate without a SIM card
This trick is only available for those using tablets to run their WhatsApp account. You can actually run your WhatsApp account seamlessly without using a SIM card. However, you’ll need a nearby functional SIM. Simply install WhatsApp on the tablet, and during the verification process, save the number of the SIM. A message containing your verification code will be sent to that SIM, and you can simply enter the code in where appropriate. Your account is verified and you’re ready to go.
3. Create contact shortcuts
For contacts that you chat with frequently – family, friends, business associates, etc. – you could save yourself the stress of having to sift through your apps, opening WhatsApp, and sifting through chats to get to them. All you have to do is to create a shortcut for their chats on your phone’s homepage. Start by pressing on the contact and holding until a pop-up filled with options appears. Included in that pop-up is the ‘create chat shortcut’ option. Choose that option, and on your home screen, a shortcut for that chat will appear.
4. Extend validity
WhatsApp requires regular updates. If you don’t update your app by yourself, they’ll force you to do so by temporarily cutting you off. Most times, updates contain just little tweaks, and you spend a considerable amount of data and space for almost nothing. The process of extending your WhatsApp validity is quite complex, so follow closely:
- Head into your WhatsApp settings. Go to Account, then click on Change Number
- Enter your number as the old number. If you have a second SIM, put it as your new number
- Do this again, swapping the two numbers as old and new. This means your original number returns to its position
- Bam! Your WhatsApp account’s validity is extended for a whole year.
5. Hide last seen
Your ‘last seen’ feature shows people the last time you were on WhatsApp. If you’re looking to hide that, maybe from stalkers or other weird people, just go to Settings, then Account, and then Privacy. From here, you can change whatever settings you want to change relating to your privacy – your last seen, profile picture, status, etc.
6. Voice control
Voice control means you don’t have to type a single thing. There’s a microphone-shaped icon on your WhatsApp keyboard panel. Speaking clearly and directly into the speakers after pressing this icon will activate voice control, and your words will be typed as said. If you’re on the go and you don’t have the time to type, this feature can be very nifty.
7. Directly reply to messages
Most times, you might wish to reply to people as chats go on, especially in group chats where people speak in droves, and someone else might have taken your turn before you even had the chance to finish typing. If you’re looking to reply to someone, all you have to do is to press their message for about two seconds. An option board will pop up, including the option to reply. Click this, and their message will move on top of the space where your words will appear as they are typed. After you reply, simply post your message and it will be duly shown.
8. Successfully change phone numbers
Changing SIMs often means that you have to start a new WhatsApp experience. However, there’s a way you can continue using your old account with an entirely new SIM card. To migrate, head to Settings, then Account, and finally, Change Number. Once you enter the old and new numbers in their respective spaces, your account will be moved successfully.
9. Send edited texts
Apart from normal texts and fonts, you can make special edits to them. Pay attention:
- To make a text bold, add an asterisk (*) before and after the text (e.g. *asterisk*)
- To put a text in italic form, add an underscore (_) before and after the text (e.g. _underscore_)
- To strike a text out, add a hyphen (-) before and after the text (e.g -hyphen-)
10. Camera gimmicks
The new version of WhatsApp comes with two special camera effects. When taking a picture with the WhatsApp camera, you can interchange the front and back cameras by double tapping the screen. You can also zoom in and out of your videos by sliding two fingers up (for zooming in) and down (for zooming out).