Happy 10th birthday, WhatsApp: Here are some easy tips to make the app more useful

WhatsApp remains the most popular messaging application with over 1.5 billion users across the world. — Stock picture from pexels.com
WhatsApp remains the most popular messaging application with over 1.5 billion users across the world. — Stock picture from pexels.com

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 28 – A decade ago on Feb 24, two former Yahoo employees, Jan Koum and Brian Acton, launched a messaging application called WhatsApp.

It was to, basically, send notifications to friends.

But it soon evolved to an instant messaging app, which quickly made BlackBerry Messenger and text messages redundant.

It is now an invaluable part of the lives of over 1.5 billion people in 180 countries. 

Over the years the app, which was acquired by Facebook for a whopping US$19 billion (RM77.2 billion) in 2014, has added numerous features including video calling, group chats and stories that has made it the world’s most used texting app.

To commemorate its decade-long journey, here's a look at some features you may boast of knowing:

Go to the settings and find out when your messages were read. — Screengrab via WhatsApp
Go to the settings and find out when your messages were read. — Screengrab via WhatsApp

Find out when your messages were read

Well, there’s nothing more irritating than waiting for a response to your text message for several hours, especially if the person has disabled the blue ticks feature.

But there’s a handy way to find out when your message was actually read and how long you’ve been ignored for.

On Android, simply hold down on a message you’ve send and select info.

Alternatively, on iOS, swipe left on the message and it’ll show you the time it was read.

Lookout for the ‘Starred Messages’ tab to view your bookmark messages. — Screengrab via WhatsApp
Lookout for the ‘Starred Messages’ tab to view your bookmark messages. — Screengrab via WhatsApp

Bookmark important messages

You don’t have to scroll through hundreds of messages to find your appointment time or a particular info that was sent to you days ago.

How? Simply hold down the message and bookmark it by tapping on the star icon.

To view your starred messages, on Android tap on the menu button then go to Starred Messages section.

iOS users may select the Star tab along the bottom of your screen. 

Give your words a dash of typohraphical emphasis using the asterisk, underscore and tildes signs. — Screengrab via WhatsApp
Give your words a dash of typohraphical emphasis using the asterisk, underscore and tildes signs. — Screengrab via WhatsApp

Make words bold, italic or strikethrough

To give your words a sprint of typographical emphasis, WhatsApp lets you to customise your text with bold, italic and strikethrough effects.

To bold text in WhatsApp, add an asterisk either side of the word and phrase (*bold*); italicize text with an underscore on either side (_italicize_) and create strikethrough text with tildes on either side of the word (~strikethrough~).

Select who can view your profile picture from the setting. — Screengrab via WhatsApp
Select who can view your profile picture from the setting. — Screengrab via WhatsApp

Hide profile picture from certain people

If you prefer to limit your profile picture visibility to your contacts only, WhatsApp allows you to choose if everyone, nobody or only your contacts can view your profile picture.

How? Go to Settings > Account > Privacy > Profile Photo.

Turn of the ‘Save to Camera Roll’ feature to stop hogging your storage space. — Screengrab via WhatsApp
Turn of the ‘Save to Camera Roll’ feature to stop hogging your storage space. — Screengrab via WhatsApp

Stop images and videos from going into your phone gallery

Receiving photos and videos on WhatsApp is great, but you might not want it to hog your storage space.

On Android, all media are saved in a folder in the gallery by default, while on iOS, it is saved to your camera roll.

But, thankfully you can turn it off. Here’s how to do it:

Android: Settings > Chats > Turn off Show Media in Gallery.

iOS: Settings > Chats > Turn off Save to Camera Roll.

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