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WhatsApp Safety

All you need to know about reporting, blocking and privacy


Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in life


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WhatsApp is a really popular messaging app, compatible with iPhone, Windows Phone, Android, Blackberry, Nokia S40 and Nokia S60. It’s used to send messages, images and videos between users of the app as well as video calls.

It’s a handy way to stay in touch with friends and family for free, but it’s also important to know what safety features it has. Here’s the rundown of how to stay safe and look after yourself on WhatsApp:

Privacy

There are a few pieces of information that you can choose to display publicly or keep private on WhatsApp. You can find these settings by selecting the gear icon on the bottom right corner of your screen. They are:

  • When you last used WhatsApp
  • Your profile picture
  • Your status
  • Read receipts 

Screenshot of privacy settings on whatsapp

You can decide if you want this information to be visible to ‘Everyone’ (everyone who uses WhatsApp), ‘My Contacts’ (everyone in your address book) or ‘Nobody’ (so it will only be visible to you).

To change these settings, select Settings > Account > Privacy, and you will be able to change them here. FYI, if you turn off your read receipts or turn off your 'last seen', you won't be able to see other people's.

Blocking

Blocking someone means they will no longer be able to contact you through WhatsApp. You might do this if someone has been sending you unwanted messages that you just don’t want to receive any more.

The blocking process is slightly different depending on which operating system you use:

Screenshot of how to block people on whatsapp

iPhone
On iPhone, there are two ways to block a contact.

  • Use the Block button which is displayed when you get a message from somebody who is not in your address book. 
  • Go to Settings > Account > Privacy > Blocked, then tap the Add New button to add contacts from your address book to your Blocked list.

Blackberry
Go to Settings > Account > Privacy Settings > Blocked Contacts. This page displays all contacts that you have blocked. Press the button, then choose Block New Contact to select a contact you wish to block. If you wish to block an unknown number that has sent you a chat, you can select the chat of the unknown number, press the button, and choose Block.

Windows Phone
On Windows Phone there are two ways to block someone.

  • To block an unknown number that has sent you a message, open the chat with that number. Tap the three dots in the bottom right hand corner of the screen. Select block and tap yes.
  • To block a contact, in the main chats screen, tap the three dots in the bottom right hand corner. Select Settings > Contacts > Blocked contacts. Tap the (+) to select contacts to block.

Android
To block someone on Android, open WhatsApp and go to your Chats screen. Select Menu > Settings > Account > Privacy > Blocked Contacts. Select the Add blocked contacts icon in the top right.

Reporting

There’s no option to report users to WhatsApp. All you can do is block this person, by following the instructions above.

Archiving

If you no longer wish to view a certain conversation on your main chat screen, but don’t want to delete it either, you can archive the conversation. This means you will still be able to access it at any stage in the future if you wish, but do not have to view it on your main screen. The process for this is a bit different on different phones, depending on which operating system you use.

iPhone

  • In the Chats screen, slide your finger across the chat you wish to archive, from right to left.
  • Tap More, then select Archive.

Blackberry

  • In the Chats screen, select the chat you wish to hide.
  • Press the Blackberry button and select Archive Chat.

Windows Phone

  • In the Chats screen, press and hold the chat you wish to hide.
  • A menu will pop up. Select archive.

Android

  • In the Chats screen, press and hold on the chat you wish to hide.
  • A menu will pop-up. Select Archive conversation.

Location

Your location isn’t automatically visible to anyone on WhatsApp. People can only see it if you send it to them, so be careful to only send it to people you trust!

screenshot for sharing location in whatsapp

Help

If you need any extra help or support of WhatsApp, you can check out the FAQ on their website, or contact them on support@whatsapp.com.

Security

WhatsApp communication between your phone and WhatsApp servers is encrypted, so it’s not easy to hack. However, remember that if your phone is being used by someone, they could always read your messages. So be careful about whoever has physical access to your phone.

Deactivation

To delete your WhatsApp account, open WhatsApp and go to Settings > Account > Delete My Account.

Screenshot of how to delete your whatsapp account

You can find out more about staying safe on Whatsapp from their FAQs.

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Published January 19th, 2015
Last updated February 3rd, 2017
Tags whatsapp internet safety safety online safety
Can this be improved? Contact editor@spunout.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.

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