WhatsApp is adding privacy features that allow you to leave group chats quietly, hide your online status, and prevent others from taking screenshots of photos meant to be viewed only once.
What it means
The privacy features will improve your ability to control your visibility in conversations and keep prying eyes away from how frequently you check in on the app.
WhatsApp’s new features will be available roughly a month before Apple’s iMessage, which will include message editing and unsending with iOS 16.
On Tuesday, WhatsApp announced three new privacy features, one of which will allow you to leave a group chat without alerting everyone else.
The Meta-owned company claims that it will add the ability to leave groups silently, which means that administrators will still receive an alert but everyone else in the group chat will not. This could be especially useful for larger group chats, such as those themed around an event or a hyperactive chat that you no longer find engaging.
3 New WhatsApp Features will also soon allow you to hide your active online status from specific people, and when enabled, the app will not display the exact times you are available within the app to those individuals. Currently, the app displays your online status to anyone who has access to your profile within the app. WhatsApp can also display when you were last active, which can already be hidden from other users via the app’s privacy settings.
WhatsApp will add the ability to leave groups silently and hide your online status later this month, and its third feature, which is currently in testing, will prevent others from screenshotting messages that are intended to be viewed only once. This has been a major issue for apps that promote ephemeral messaging, such as Snapchat, which has previously combated the issue by sending a notification when a message is screenshotted.
It’s important to keep in mind that while it should be helpful, it is not completely foolproof; even an ephemeral message can still be recorded using a different device, such as a different phone or camera. Even after WhatsApp introduces the screenshot-blocking feature, anyone sending sensitive information should still be cautious.
A month before the anticipated release of iOS 16, which will update iMessage with features like editing and unsending messages, WhatsApp introduces a new wave of features. Only Apple devices that support iMessage will be able to utilize either of those iOS 16 features. By replacing the previous text with a notification that a message was unsent, unsending a message will function similarly to how deleting an existing message currently works in WhatsApp and other chat apps.