Updated: Aug 14
The WhatsApp platform is used worldwide for phone calls, text messages, photo/video sharing and business operations...and it's packed with nifty features for effective group communication.
The biggest advantage of WhatsApp is that both android and apple phones can send long messages without truncation or getting the pieces of the messages jumbled. However, some users are new to the platform and don’t know about the neat features which make this app ideal for our pop-up communications.
Here's a quick run-down of the functions I frequently use:
By holding down on a message, you’re able to add a ‘star’ to it for easy access later.
To find your starred messages, go into the chat and tap the top of the screen (either the individual’s name or the group name depending on the type of chat you’re in). This pulls up the settings menu where there is an option to see all starred messages.
Using the + menu at the bottom of the chat screen, select Location, and you’re able to share either your current location or your live location to make it easier to find each other when out and about.
It’s also possible to pick a pin in Google Maps and then use the share feature from within Google Maps to blow the pin into a WhatsApp conversation.
In a group chat, sometimes you need to send a private message to an individual. Hold down their latest text message and select “More” from the menu. The secondary menu gives the option to Reply Privately to the individual. This opens a new chat feed between the two individuals and the person who receives the reply also gets a copy of their text from the group feed so they know to which message you're replying.
Option to Delete Messages
Sometimes you make a mistake or plans change and you need to delete an older message. Again, hold down on the message and then select Delete from the pop-up menu. You can choose if the message is deleted just for you or for the whole group.
Did you lose a message? If you want to search through the old chats, click the top of the page (either the individual’s or group’s name) and the next screen has a search function. The app will highlight the text you type in and allow you to toggle between all the appearances of that text.
In an individual chat, you’ll notice a checkmark system at the end of your messages. The first check means that your device has sent the message to the server. The second check means the recipient’s device has received the message. And when the checkmarks turn blue, it means the recipient has opened the message. PS If you don’t want someone to know you’ve read their message, switch over to airplane mode before you read it, ha!
In group messages, there is only one checkmark to indicate the message has been sent from your device and is ready for the other devices to open. If you'd like to see who's read the group message, hold down the text within the chat to open the menu. Then select the 'info' option. This will bring you to a screen which shows which group members have seen the text.
Controlling Auto-Downloads (for images)
When photos are sent to a WhatsApp chat you're able to decide if you'd like to have those photos download over WiFi, cellular network, both, or not at all. On the main page of WhatsApp, select Settings and then select Storage & Data:
From here you can select how and when photos are downloaded:
Muting or Leaving the Group
If you’re ready to exit the group, click the group’s name at the top of the screen to open up the group settings. From here you can ‘mute’ the group for a certain time period, or if you’re ready to depart, scroll all the way to the bottom and click the Exit Group option. The group will be notified that your phone number has left the group chat.
Sometimes it's tricky to quickly add a new person to your phone contacts. With WhatsApp, you can generate a QR code for them to scan or a weblink that brings them straight into a conversation with your account. To access the QR code, go into Settings and click the QR icon next to your name (but not the name part, that links to where you can edit the picture and description).
To set up the WhatsApp direct link, you use the beginning URL of wa.me/ and add your phone number with country code and number (no preceding zeros). For example, a US number is 1+222-333-4444, my direct contact is https://wa.me/12223334444. A Mexican number of 52+1-999-888-7777 links as https://wa.me/5219998887777. To access someone directly on WhatsApp, just click the link.
These are not all the features of WhatsApp...but they are the ones typically used by our clients at our pop-up gatherings. Additionally WhatsApp offers video and document sharing, a desktop application (web.whatsapp.com which comes in very handy for business purposes or just watching your messages while you're online), and free international calls to other users of the platform. There's absolutely something for everyone!
Lastly, if you're brand new to the platform and need more of a step-by-step tutorial, here are a couple of options:
What other features of WhatsApp do you use?