Germans prefer to chat via WhatsApp. But app settings have their pitfalls. A chain letter currently scares many users. What’s behind?
A chain letter is currently circulating that WhatsApp has secretly changed the privacy settings of chat groups. “This means that any WhatsApp user – even if you don’t know them – can add you to any group without your knowledge or consent,” the threatening message read. As a result, spam emails and even hacker attacks threatened. Such a message should scare off some users.
You should do this regularly: Check data protection settings
There is no reason to panic. In truth, “secret change” is a default setting on WhatsApp. But apparently not all users know that you can change them – which is regularly recommended by data protection officers.
In fact, WhatsApp introduced group privacy options in 2019 to put an end to spammy invitations. Before that, it was actually possible to add any WhatsApp user to a group against their will and abuse the feature for all kinds of nonsense. The victims could do nothing more than leave the group and block the contact.
How to change group settings
Group settings for WhatsApp are always set to “Everyone” by default. This means that after reinstalling the app, anyone can add it to a group. To change this, follow these steps:
Open WhatsApp settings.
Tap on “Account”.
Then on “Privacy”.
Tap the “Groups” entry at the bottom.
Control who can add you to a group.
Confirm the selection with “Done”.
By the way: When it comes to software, it’s usually worth checking the settings once in a while. After a major update, app settings may revert to default values.
In this case, however, it is a rumor that the settings were changed in secret and without user interaction. The mentioned chain letter is obviously designed to sow panic and mistrust – and is particularly popular with users who were unaware of data protection options or simply forgot settings they set years ago.
The best thing to do is to take the opportunity to check all the WhatsApp settings. t-online summarizes the most useful tips and tricks with which you can avoid annoying problems and optimize WhatsApp.
Save disk space and data volume
Everyone is in one of those groups where videos of more or less funny cats are constantly shared. Your smartphone’s memory is almost full, but you’re not sure which cat is using the most memory? Take a detour into WhatsApp settings. All chats and their memory usage are displayed under “Storage & Data” then “Manage Storage”. Click on each chat to see which media files are using the storage. Tap Choose, then tap the content you want to remove. If you wish, you can select “Select All” below. The selected content is deleted by pressing the trash can symbol.
To prevent images from being downloaded as soon as they arrive, you should check the settings under “Storage and Data”. There you can specify that videos are only downloaded when there is a WiFi connection, for example, in order to save data volume.
Share Live Location
You meet a friend and want to give him your current location, but you don’t know the address? WhatsApp offers a simple feature that allows you to share your location once or for a limited time.
Simply go to the respective chat, tap the “+” symbol at the bottom left, and then select “Location”. Then you can decide whether you want to “Send your current location” or “Share live location” which is constantly updated. If you choose the latter, you can choose whether it should be shared for 15 minutes, one, or eight hours. The message then ends automatically.
Did you send your boss a message that was actually addressed to someone else? WhatsApp messages can now be deleted. If you notice the misstep within the hour, just press and hold the accidentally sent message, select “Delete” and then “Delete for everyone”. This retrieves the message. Instead of the bad message, the only thing left is “this message has been deleted”.
Avoid the WhatsApp camera
Quickly take a group selfie with the WhatsApp photo feature and then share it directly with other group participants? Better to take your time and switch to the smartphone camera application. As a rule, these take much better pictures. In addition, the recordings remain in better quality in the photo gallery.
If you just want to send a quick note, WhatsApp’s photo feature is sufficient. By the way, if the front camera appears first, just double tap the screen and WhatsApp will switch to the rear camera.
Group chats in particular are notorious for a high volume of messages. But especially when you have to concentrate on an important task, they get on your nerves quickly. To avoid leaving the group right away, you can simply disable them.
Simply select the chat, click on the name above to go to the overview, and go to the “Mute” tab. You can now choose whether you want to disable chat for eight hours, a week, or even an entire year.
Record hands-free voice messages
If the voicemail gets a bit long, keeping your finger on the microphone icon can get quite tiring over time. If the finger then slips and the recording is interrupted, the discomfort is great. WhatsApp has also created a remedy for this.
Start recording as usual by long-pressing the microphone icon. After a few seconds, a small padlock will appear on your screen. Slide your finger a little higher. The recording is now “locked” and the finger can be removed. After finishing the voice message, just tap on the paper airplane icon in the lower right corner, which is used for sending messages.
Enable two-step verification
Two-step verification offers more security. WhatsApp also supports this security feature. With such verification, the user usually receives a numeric code on his mobile phone after entering his password. With WhatsApp, you have to think of a six-digit code.
If you want to configure WhatsApp on a new mobile phone, you must enter this code. Although this can also be hacked, your data is still more secure than without code. If you forget it, it can be reset by email.
Enable 2-Step Verification in Settings under Account, then 2-Step Verification.
Call up to seven friends via WhatsApp and save data volume
WhatsApp calls are cheaper, especially for smartphone users without a calling plan. Up to eight WhatsApp users can call and even see each other at the same time.
Start an audio or video call in the upper right corner of the chat history as usual. If the desired participant has picked up, you can now click on the “Add contact” symbol with the little plus in the upper right corner.
You can also initiate a group call directly. To do this, open a corresponding group chat. If the group has eight members or less, just tap the phone or video symbol to directly start a group chat. For larger groups, there is a telephone receiver with a “+” on the top right instead. If tapped, you can select up to seven participants for a group call.
Warning: A call via the mobile network consumes a lot of data. In the settings, you can therefore activate the switch “Use less data for calls” under “Storage and data” in the “Network” area. However, call quality suffers.
Customer service through WhatsApp
You can spend hours in customer service queues. Since WhatsApp offers companies to manage customer service through Messenger, you can safely save time in the future.