What a furor WhatsApp caused with a colour change in its double ticks.
Its latest update confirmed what we’ve always suspected (but never bothered confirming) all along - namely that the ticks represent when your messages are delivered, and confirm that they've been read.
On the flipside, this incident also inspired us to dig deeper, and we've gatherd up a bunch of features hiding in the nooks and crannies of WhatsApp.
Prepare to level up your IM attributes:
1. BEGONE, BLUE TICKS OF MISERY
We know how it is. You're at figure skating practice, your phone buzzes, and you glance down briefly before nailing a spectacular triple axle.
Sometimes you've only got time for a quick glance, taking a little time to formulate a response as you carry on with the rest of our day. Ideally without having the sender realise that we actually looked at said message five hours ago, as otherwise they'd think we're ignoring them. That's the privelege the blue ticks take away.
Recently though, the chat app has realised the error of its ways and silently come up with a workaround. The liberty of message-mulling is ours again.
How: Users can just access Privacy via Settings and disable Read Receipts. However, this feature is currently only available to Android users who are on the all new beta version of the app.
If you're that desperate though, you have to download the beta and head to your Android phone's settings, enable Unknown Sources to install the APK file as it's not in the Google Play Store yet.
There, now it's time to iron out the kinks in your friendships that the blue ticks have caused. The rest of us will just have to wait for a future update.
2. SEE WHEN YOUR MESSAGES ARE READ
Think the double blue ticks are the worst thing to happen to relationships since Last Seen? Think again. Here's another way you could annoy your mates.
In addition to finding out the exact time your messages are delivered, you can also choose to see the exact time your message was read if you choose to stick with the ticks.
How: Go to any of your WhatsApp chats, tap and hold on any of the messages you’ve sent in that chat, followed by the Info option. For iOS users, you can also drag towards the left to reveal a window which will show the time your message was delivered and subsequently read.
It works for group messages too with the window listing the time each participant read the message.
3. TIED TO YOUR NUMBER
If you’re overseas and you get a new data sim, there’s no need to go through the hassle of registering the new number attached to the SIM and faff around adding contacts. Just carry on using WhatsApp with your regular number.
How: When you put your new SIM in and activate WhatsApp, you’ll be prompted by the messaging service to register the new number. But doing so will mess up your contacts list. Just ignore the pop-up or cancel it, and your WhatsApp should work linked to your old number, while using your new data SIM.
4. SENDING PUBLIC MESSAGES PRIVATELY
If you’ve got a generic announcement to make - an invite to a weekend BBQ or an intervention about your friend's unhealthy obsession with KFC - and you don’t want to do it on the loudmouth platform that is Facebook, this feature works in pretty much the same way as BCC-ing people in an email.
Your recipients will get the message as if it was a privately composed one, oblivious to the fact that you’ve sent the exact same invite to 342 other people. Sincerity? What's that?
How: On the top left hand corner of your WhatsApp Chats window, just below the search bar, you’ll notice a Broadcast Lists. Tap on it for the option to create a new list of contacts you want your message to go out to, and message away like you would normally.
5. BACK IT UP
Worried about losing a year’s worth of messages? You don’t have to. WhatsApp knows how precious your chat history is to you and secures it all for you in the cloud.
How: iPhone users get the option of backing their chat history to iCloud automatically on a daily/weekly/monthly schedule. If it’s only selected chat histories you desire, click on the chat you want, then the user’s name and finally email conversation to yourself.
Android users will find the file within the WhatsApp folder in their phone. Make sure that file, found in WhatsApp > Databases and named msgstore.db.crypt7, is copied and transferred to the exact same folder if you wipe your phone or get a new Android device.
6. SHORTCUTS TO CONVERSATIONS
If there are certain people you chat to more often, it might be a good idea to create a shortcut for them directly on your homescreen so you don’t have to keep opening and closing WhatsApp.
How: Tap and hold on the chat (group or individual) of your choice and a tab will pop up. Select the Add Conversation Shortcut option and the chat in question will appear as the person's profile photo on your mobile desktop. Unfortunately this only applies for Android users and not iPhone ones. Sorry guys.
7. SAVING MEDIA
When you’re on a 1GB data plan, every MB counts. You don’t want to be slapped with a hefty bill at the end of the month from sending stupid shareable memes and screenshots of every little thing. There’s a way to make sure that all that heavy-duty image sending won’t eat up what little complimentary data you might have in your plan.
How: Go to Settings, then Chat Settings and then Auto-Download and tweak the settings for how you want your received media to be downloaded. Choose Wi-Fi if you don’t want to overload your data plan. Alternatively, you can trigger downloads manually by switching Auto-Download to Never. You can also save the hassle of having to clean up your camera roll every so often by tweaking Save Incoming Media off.