WhatsApp is an amazing communication app used by billions of people around the world, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t realize that the way they use it compromises their privacy, control, or enjoyment could it.
Which is really crazy as many have spent hundreds if not thousands of pounds on one of the best iPhones or best Android phones only to then expose themselves to unnecessary risk and not take advantage of some of the great, groundbreaking features available to them.
So here we list the 6 most common mistakes people make when using WhatsApp – so check the list and make sure you don’t make them.
By default, WhatsApp will do this automatically Download all media posted in chats to your device’s image gallery. Not only does this eat up your phone’s storage space continuously, but it also completely sabotages your image gallery and any connected cloud-based storage libraries like Google Photos. It’s one thing to have a few images sent to you and then manually save them if you actually want to keep them, but it’s another to literally bombard your gallery with every piece of media everyone Posts in a chat, no matter how mundane or irrelevant, without your letting them. Would you like to save 57 pictures of a WhatsApp contact’s renovated kitchen on your phone? Now disable automatic media downloads in WhatsApp’s settings menu.
2. Let every old person see your personal data
This is, in our eyes, an absolutely critical mistake that a lot of people make – they have their last seen profile photo, information about groups, status information and even live location toggled to be visible/accessible to “everyone”. This literally means what it says, giving everyone, no matter how tangent to you, full access to your most personal information on WhatsApp. How you look, what you do, when you were last active, where you actually are and more is now accessible to Joe Random even if you don’t know who they are. Worse, if you also leave the group setting on Everyone, anyone can add you to any group without your permission. We recommend showing such information only to “my contacts” or “no one” to maintain your privacy and control.
3. No use of WhatsApp’s biometric security
Did you know that WhatsApp has built-in biometric fingerprint security? Yes, we thought so. So many people we speak to here at T3 have no idea it’s an option for them, which is a shame large majority of modern smartphones have built-in fingerprint readers and can add a nice extra level of security to your private WhatsApp messages. Without security enabled, anyone can pick up your phone while you’re not looking and browse your messages, contacts, pictures, and audio recordings. Enabling Fingerprint Unlock is an easy toggle option in WhatsApp’s settings menu, so make sure you toggle it now.
4. Don’t enable WhatsApp’s default message timer
Another great WhatsApp feature designed to increase your privacy is the “default message timer,” a feature that surprisingly few people use. This is a bug because the default message timer allows you to choose a period of time to clear your chat histories, with choices of 24 hours, 7 days, and 90 days. This means old, dated messages that are no longer relevant can be deleted to protect your privacy. We think the 24 hours is a bit much to be honest as sometimes it’s useful to remember what was said in a chat, but a week or 90 days deletion seems wise.
5. Sharing sub-optimal quality photos
Have you ever sent or received images in WhatsApp only to open them on your computer, or tried to print them only to find that their quality seems poor? The problem is that the quality of your WhatsApp photo upload is probably set to “Auto” or “Data Saver”. These modes will reduce the quality of each image uploaded, which is fine if you just share quick snaps that will only show up in a WhatsApp chat and then never again, but if you want to share high quality images with friends and family on WhatsApp, so they can print them out, and then make sure that setting is toggled to “best quality.” Of course, more data is used when uploading, but at least the image quality is retained.
6. Do not enable two-factor authentication
Finally, WhatsApp has built-in two-factor authentication, which once activated creates a huge additional barrier for hackers trying to hack into your account. Yes, two-factor authentication means it takes slightly longer to log into WhatsApp every time, but it could be the difference between using the app risk-free and leaving your name, address, appearance, and family details exposed to hackers do. Turn it on now.