WhatsApp is great for staying in touch with your friends and family, but it can also be not-so-great for exes, bosses, or stalkers trying to stay in touch with you. If you want to avoid awkward conversations, unwanted messages, or creepy comments, you need to learn how to use the app’s privacy features.
In this article, we will show you how to make yourself disappear from WhatsApp like a magician – or simulate an incognito mode as if the chat platform had such a thing.
Hide last seen and online status
If you are a busy bee who can’t always reply on time, then hiding your last seen will be the best way to make people believe that you aren’t simply airing them. Last seen can be toggled off from Settings > Privacy > Last seen and online. Here, set last seen to Nobody.
The same page also lets you turn off your online status. Set it to Same as last seen to use WhatsApp like a ghost and don’t get hit up by unwarranted “why are you still awake?” messages as you converse late into the night.
Turn off read receipts
Once you’ve rid yourself of the hassles caused by an exposed last seen, the next thing you’d want to turn off is read receipts. Aside from letting you reply to messages at your own pace without feeling pressured by others, turning off read receipts brings other benefits – you can play hard to get with your crush by making them wonder if you are interested or not.
Read receipts can be turned off from Settings > Privacy, then throwing the Read receipts switch off.
Limit status updates
While the feature to limit status updates to certain contacts or hide from certain contacts has existed for ages now, an update from February now lets you do the same for individual statuses.
When uploading a status you should see a new private audience selector at the bottom. Set it to “Only share with” and select your closest contacts to make them feel special by letting them in on your secrets or jokes.
Or you can go wider and limit all your statuses from Settings > Privacy > Status.
Hide profile photos
WhatsApp cares about your privacy and so it protectively defaults to your profile picture visibility to contacts only. You can go a step further and set it to “Nobody” and leave people scratching their heads wondering if you’re even on WhatsApp.
This can be done via Settings > Privacy > Profile photo > Nobody.
After you’ve turned off all of the above, the only thing left to reduce your WhatsApp footprint to near zero is hiding your About. This can be done via Settings > Privacy > About. Doing so will help if you’re too lazy to update it all the time or if you’re just trying to appear mysterious.