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WhatsApp, 3 settings you must change immediately

WhatsApp, 3 settings you must change immediately

If you want more privacy on WhatsApp, you should change three settings.

Many users are completely unaware of all the personal information they provide on the world's most popular instant messaging app. For this reason, we have selected some “remedies” so you can use WhatsApp in the safest way possible.

1) Hide your personal photo

When you set up WhatsApp, in addition to entering your name, you usually also upload a profile picture. From then on, anyone with your number can see this photo, not just your contacts.

To change this option: Go to Settings > Privacy > Profile Photo.

Here you'll find four options for who can see your profile picture: Everyone, My Contacts, My Contacts Except…, Nobody.

If you only have friends among your contacts, selecting “My Contacts” will be sufficient. Other than that, you can also choose not to share your profile picture with anyone or not upload it directly.

2) Hide last seen

If the option is not disabled, everyone can see when was the last time you were connected via WhatsApp.

When you receive a message, there are three different check marks that display different information for the sender. A gray check mark indicates that the message has been sent. Two gray check marks indicate that the message has arrived. Two blue check marks mean you've read the message. This last option is not optimal for those who want more privacy. If you don't want to show the read receipt:

  • Go to Settings > Privacy > Last Seen & Online.
  • In the “Who can see my last seen” section, select “Nobody”
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The only drawback is that from now on you will not receive read receipts via blue tick marks on messages you send.

3) Hide when online

Selecting “As Last Seen” in the “Who can see when I'm online” section will remove the option for others to see when you're online.

Warning: If you decide to delete location sharing, access to storage, or photos, you may lose important features. For example, you will no longer be able to send photos, use the internal camera, or share your location.

To further protect your data, we also recommend the following:

  • Do not sync your address book: When (re)installing WhatsApp, almost everyone uploads all the contacts stored in the address book, as well as the phone number, to the WhatsApp/Facebook server. From a data protection point of view, this practice is certainly questionable because, as we imagine, not all of your contacts will be asked whether they consent to it or not. WhatsApp works fine even if you reject the sync option during installation, just add new contacts “manually”;
  • Don't retreat to the cloud: It's convenient, but at least on paper it can be a target for hackers. If someone gains access to Google Drive or iCloud, they will also be able to access all WhatsApp chats stored in the backup.
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