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Your 10 most burning WhatsApp questions, answered

Fabrizio Ferri-Benedetti

Fabrizio Ferri-Benedetti

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Sometimes it can feel like WhatsApp was designed by a sadist. Honestly, the amount of drama that a messaging app can produce is ridiculous. Have they read my message? Can they see if I’ve read theirs? What a stressful nightmare!

10 WhatsApp questions and answers

Your 10 most burning WhatsApp questions, answered

Of course, it’s possible (and probable) that WhatsApp was designed with the best intentions, and that you’re freaking out for no reason. Although, on top of knowing when someone read your messages, there are plenty of other potential mishaps and confusion that the WhatsApp messaging service can produce for any discerning smartphone user.

Determined to clear up some of these mysteries, we’ve thoroughly investigated and compiled a list of the most frequent and distressing issues about how to use WhatsApp, that people Google, in a bid to help you keep your stress level at a minimum.

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1. Can I stop somebody knowing I’m on WhatsApp?


With WhatsApp it is all about the contacts you have in your phone’s contact list. Even when you block a contact, they’ll continue to have you in their contact list, if they still have your number in their phone book. The only way you won’t show up for the other person is if they don’t have your phone number saved in their phone.

WhatsApp Contacts Help

This means it has nothing to do with who you can see in your WhatsApp contact list as that doesn’t reflect the numbers, they have in their contact list on their phone. If they have your phone number, they’ll be able to see you have WhatsApp. As far as we’re aware, there is no way to delete your number from somebody else’s phone remotely.

If you don’t want somebody to know you’re on WhatsApp, don’t give them your number and don’t send them any messages.

2. Can I appear as invisible on WhatsApp?


The WhatsApp FAQ page is quite clear. Unless you block a contact, there is no way to hide when you’re online or typing. You can, however, stop sharing your “last seen” status and read receipts that show when you’ve read a WhatsApp message. Doing this, however, will stop you from being able to see the corresponding statuses from your contacts.

WhatsApp Privacy Settings

To change these settings on both Android and iOS iPhones you need to open WhatsApp, then go to Settings, then Account, and finally land on the Privacy settings menu. You’ll then be able to toggle your privacy settings including when you were last online and who can see your profile picture etc.

3. If someone is given my old number, will they be able to download my messages and see my contacts?


They won’t see contacts or be able to access old chats – that data is saved on your phone – but they can receive messages sent to your old number (without knowing who sent them).

WhatsApp gets its contacts from your phone book, so it’s unlikely that the person taking your old number will have the same contact. On the other hand, if the other person has WhatsApp installed, your friends will see that this person isn’t you.

To avoid any problems, WhatsApp recommends the following:

A) Post a status update with your new phone number.

B) Tell everyone you’ve changed your number using a broadcast message.

New WhatsApp Broadcast

C) Delete your account using the following methods:

Android phones: Settings > Account Info > Delete my account

Apple iPhone and iPad: Settings > Chat > Advanced > Delete my account

Deleting the account removes all chat history on your mobile, payment information, and participation in WhatsApp groups. It will make your account disappear.

4. Is WhatsApp free or paid for?

WhatsApp is free. The app used to have rolling free trial periods, but these long since been scrapped. Making money from WhatsApp is a problem that has dogged Facebook ever since it bought what is now the most popular messaging app on planet earth. Soon, however, we’ll see ads showing up on the WhatsApp Status page and there is also the new WhatsApp Business app, which charges businesses to use the platform to communicate with clients and customers.

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5. Is there a way to delete contacts forever?


To delete contacts, simply remove them from your phone book. If you then want to stop that person messaging you at all, you’ll have to block them.

But remember, if they have you in their phone book, then they’ll still see you on their contact list.

6. Is there any way to tell if someone has read my messages?


Theoretically, there is no way to know for sure if someone’s read your message, but the introduction of the double blue check mark indicates just that. Here’s a quick summary of what WhatsApp’s icons mean:

Clock: The message hasn’t left your phone yet, meaning there’s either a problem with data or Wi-Fi connection. You can delete the message before it’s sent.

Single grey check mark: The message has been delivered to the WhatsApp server. It’s left your phone but hasn’t yet been received by the other person.

Double grey check mark: The message has been delivered to the other person’s phone, but they haven’t necessarily read it yey.

Double blue check: A new icon that indicates that the message has been read (or at least opened in your conversation) by the recipient.

In addition, if you hold down on the message and tap Info, you’ll be able to see what time the message was delivered, and what time it was read. Remember though, that just because the message is ‘read’, doesn’t mean that the person has definitely read the message. Chances are they have, but they may also have left open your chat and gotten the message without actually reading it.

7. If I block a person, can they tell?


A common symptom of blocking is that you can’t see the “last seen” or “online” status. As we’ve already seen though, this might be because they’ve deactivated those privacy settings.

Whatsapp Block contact

Another result of blocking is that messages are left with only one tick and never get a second, although this could also be due to other causes, like the phone being turned off or lost.

If you know it’s neither of these reasons, the chances that you’ve been blocked are high, but it’s still not 100%. If you really want to know, you’re going to have to try calling them or sending them a message.

8. Is there any way to silence a group and still receive messages?

You don’t need to.

When you mute a group, you’ll keep receiving the messages, you just won’t receive notifications when you get them.

To silence a group, just tap the menu button (on Android) or info (on iPhone) and press Mute or Mute Group. It’s a useful feature to prevent your phone from vibrating incessantly.

9. When you invite someone to a group, will they be able to read previous messages?


When you enter a group, you can only see messages from the point you entered the group. You don’t get access to the chat history or any media sent before you joined the group.

10. If I delete a message or photo on my phone, is it deleted from the other person’s phone too?


If only it were that simple. As it turns out, a message, photo, or sound sent through WhatsApp will be delivered as soon as the first green tick appears. There is a window, however, from when you send your message that WhatsApp will allow you to delete the message from your own phone as well as from the phones of anybody who received it. You have exactly 1 hour 8 minutes and 16 seconds to delete the messages, images, and sounds you’ve sent. After that you won’t be able to and they’ll be the recipients’ phones forever.

Fabrizio Ferri-Benedetti

Fabrizio Ferri-Benedetti

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