WhatsApp is the most popular instant messaging platform for chatting and making audio / video calls. The popularity also comes with security risks that many hackers try to steal your private information. While WhatsApp team monitors and blocks inappropriate groups and account, it is also your responsibility to use the app properly to protect yours privacy. In this article, we will explain simple tips to increase WhatsApp privacy while using the app in iPhone.
Protect Your WhatsApp Privacy
Since the app is primarily used on smartphones, we will explain how to protect your mobile app with the settings from iPhone. The latest WhatsApp mobile app versions allows a Face/Touch ID validation and link up to 4 other devices. This helps to use the linked devices without keeping your mobile app online. Since the connected devices can work independently and WhatsApp desktop app has different settings, make sure to protect your desktop app carefully.
1. Enable Screen Lock
The first and foremost way of protecting your WhatsApp privacy is to enable “Screen Lock” option. With this WhatsApp will prompt you to unlock with your Face/Touch ID even though your iPhone is already unlocked. No one can grab your phone and open the app without your Face or Touch ID. You can enable “Screen Lock” by going to “Settings > Account > Privacy” and scroll down to the bottom of the screen.
2. Enable 2 Step Verification
Second tips to increase your WhatsApp privacy is to setup 2 step verification. Go to “Settings” section and enable “2 Step Verification” under “Account” section. You need to enter six digits code that is required while registering your phone number with WhatsApp again. This will help to avoid misusing of your phone number for registering account with WhatsApp.
You also need to provide an email address which would help to reset your account in case if you forgot the PIN. Learn more about setting two step verification in Google.
3. Disable Media Downloads
The dangerous feature with WhatsApp is that it will automatically download the received media files to your iPhone’s photo stream. This will be annoying when a private picture or video you received in a WhatsApp group appears on your Photos app. Since iPhone automatically sync files with iCloud, any of your family member using a different device with same iCloud account can see the photos and videos that you have received from WhatsApp chats.
Go to “Settings > Chats” and disable “Save to Camera Roll” option to stop automatic saving of media files to your iPhone.
4. Manage Notifications and Archives
Next is the app notification that can reveal confidential information when you use notification previews. You can use notifications without preview so that you will get an alert at the same time no other can accidentally read your private messages. Go to “Settings > Notifications” in WhatsApp app to manage your notification settings. Turn off “Show Preview” option to disable notification previews.
One of the biggest problems in being part of WhatsApp group is that some members consistently send messages even at midnight. If those messages are not important for you, simply mute the group and archive it. Though this will move the group under “Archived” section and disable notifications, you can still view the new messages by checking the group in “Archived” section. In this way, you can avoid distracting messages and read them later when you have time.
5. Restrict Visibility of Account Details
Go to “Settings > Account > Privacy” section and WhatsApp allows to share the following details about your account:
- Last seen status
- Profile photo
- About section
- Who can add you in groups
- Status update
You can share these details with everyone or only to your contacts. Alternatively, you can select “Nobody” to completely hide your details from all people. We recommend, you select “My Contacts” or “Nobody” instead of sharing your details with everyone. This will especially protect your data by preventing unknown people adding you in scam groups.
6. Use Disappearing Messages
This feature in WhatsApp allows you to send self-destroying messages that will be automatically after the set time. Many people misunderstand this and use while sending messages to unknown or unreliable contacts. In contrary, you need to use this with the trusted contact for sending confidential information. Receiver can take a screenshot and the message will be safely deleted for all. It is also possible to send disappearing messages in group chats. You can enable this feature under “Settings > Account > Privacy > Default Message Timer”. You can select 24 hours, 7 days or 90 days so that the sent messages will be automatically deleted after this time.
Remember, the settings here will start working on all your new chats and will not impact any old conversation. So, you may need to enable and disable this feature whenever needed to send protected data to reliable contacts.
7. Backup Account Data
You can easily backup the chat in WhatsApp by going to “Settings > Chats > Chat Backup” section. We recommend using auto backup option with daily, weekly or monthly schedule based on importance of your data. this backup will be stored in your iCloud account which you can restore while changing the phone or number. You can also enable “End-to-end Encrypted Backup” to secure your backup content with additional layer of protection.
8. Post Responsibly
Finally, be a socially responsible person when using WhatsApp account. Consider other’s privacy while sending messages to individuals and group chats.
- Remember to use WhatsApp Business account if you want to discuss business related topics in chat. Do not use personal account for handling your business topics like hosting team meetings.
- Avoid sending messages during off time and sending inappropriate content to larger groups.
Unfortunately, WhatsApp privacy is always under scrutiny due to the tracking nature of its parent company Facebook (now known as Meta). However, you can take care of the above mentioned options and protect your privacy while using WhatsApp in iPhone or any other smartphone.