WhatsApp is the most used messaging application on the planet. Its creators claim to have more than 2 billion users worldwide, a truly dizzying number. This application is part of our daily life and has changed the way we interact, but it also attracts the interest of many for us. Whether they are acquaintances who want to know if we are online, the last time we met or similar, to cybercriminals who take advantage of any breach to steal our personal information or keep our account. For all this, we explain everything you can deactivate to avoid spying on WhatsApp .
We know that there are ways to spy on a WhatsApp account , although the reality is that only a small number of the dozens of methods that can be found on the Internet work. In fact, taking advantage of people who seek to spy on the WhatsApp of a partner, friends or family is quite common, offering them applications plagued with malware or the like.
Guide to keep your privacy on WhatsApp
The information that WhatsApp collects from the user
- Your account information: mobile phone number along with basic information (including a profile name). In addition to email address, profile picture and others.
- Messages: Although WhatsApp ensures that “once your messages are delivered (including chats, photos, videos, voice messages, files and information about your location), they are deleted from our servers.”
- Use of payment services.
- Customer Service.
- Information about usage and logs.
- Device and connection information: hardware model , operating system, battery charge level, signal strength, application version, browser and mobile network. In addition to phone number, mobile phone operator or Internet service provider, language and time zone, and IP address .
- Location information.
Get account information
At any time we can ask WhatsApp for our account information, although this does not include messages. To achieve it, we must perform the following steps:
- In WhatsApp, go to Settings> Account> Request info. from my account.
- Tap Request report.
- The screen will display Request Sent.
We will receive the information in about three days. When it is available, we will receive a notification and we must access Settings> Account> Request info. from my account> Download report.
WhatsApp privacy settings
WhatsApp is configured by default with some options that can harm our privacy, such as who can see the profile photo or the last time we have connected. In addition, it allows you to activate a series of functions, such as two-step verification, to prevent your account from being stolen.
The company confirms that the default settings are:
- That any WhatsApp user can see your Read receipts, the time of your last. Once, your info. and your profile picture.
- Let your contacts see your status updates.
Next, we review everything that we can deactivate or change in WhatsApp. Most of the tweaks are in:
- WhatsApp> More options> Settings> Account> Privacy (on Android)
- WhatsApp> Settings> Account> Privacy (on iPhone).
Last connection time and Online
The information of last time and online indicate when was the last time your contacts used WhatsApp , or if they are online. We can choose whether or not to show the last connection, although we cannot hide that we are Online (or writing). Of course, you must be clear that, if you do not want to share the time of your last. Once, you won’t be able to see the last hour. instead of your contacts. You can make all WhatsApp users see the last connection, only contacts or no one.
By default, any WhatsApp user can see our profile picture. This is something we can change from the privacy settings. The options we have are those of all WhatsApp users , My Contacts or Nobody.
Another option that, by default, is shown to everyone. Here we can reveal our State, groups that we have in common with another person or the telephone number. It can be configured for all WhatsApp users , My Contacts or no one.
The famous blue double Check that has given so much to talk about. WhatsApp marks messages in three ways:
- Gray check: The message was sent successfully.
- Gray Double Check: The message was delivered to the recipient’s device.
- Blue Double Check : The recipient has already read the message.
Many people do not want to reveal this information. Again, this is something that is enabled by default. To change it, we must deactivate the Read receipts in Settings> Account> Privacy . It must be made clear that this option does not deactivate the read receipts for group chats or the playback confirmation for voice messages.
WhatsApp statuses are the equivalent of Instagram Stories and we can upload photos, videos or phrases that will be visible for 24 hours. Again, we can limit this to being seen only by My Contacts or exclude contacts that we do not want to see. We can also further restrict privacy and “Only share with …” . Defining us the people who will be able to see the States.
Possibility of adding us to groups
A relatively recent option is the possibility of being added to Groups. Before, anyone could put us in the group, leaving us the only option to leave it if we did not want to be. Now, we can define who can invite us to add ourselves to the groups. The options are: All, My Contacts or My Contacts, except … especially if we have especially heavy friends or acquaintances.
Real time location
The location in real time is an option that we can activate from the chat so that our contact can see where we are. This is useful for guiding a person who does not know where to go or for similar things. It is possible that we have left the option activated and some contact may know where we are. To do this, in Real-time location we will control that we are not sharing it with any chat.
The Blocked option , within the Privacy Settings, allows us to define contacts who will not be able to call us or send us messages. Properly managing this blacklist can improve our privacy.
A weak point of WhatsApp privacy is in the use of WhatsApp Web . It is not that this alternative to view the messaging application in a browser is insecure, but it can pose a privacy problem if we leave the session open on public or acquaintances computers.
To verify that we only have active the sessions that we want to have (the one on our computer, etc.) or none, in Settings / Settings> WhatsApp Web / Desktop. There we have a list of devices with open sessions, if we do not know what they are or we want to close them directly, we can go one by one or click on Close all sessions.
Two-step verification or 2FA
Two-Step Verification is an optional feature that adds even more security to your account. When you activate two-step verification, any attempt to verify your phone number on WhatsApp must be accompanied by a six-digit PIN that you can set when activating the function.
Activating it is as simple as visiting WhatsApp> Settings / Configuration> Account> Two-step verification> Activate. In addition, they will give us the option to enter an email address , something recommended to continue accessing in case of forgetting the PIN. This code must be entered to recover the account or change mobile, a protection to prevent account theft.
Fingerprint or facial recognition
In the Screen Lock option we can use Touch ID or Face ID to open WhatsApp on iPhone or fingerprint on Android. To do this, in Settings> Account> Privacy we will look for the options Lock screen or Lock with fingerprint and activate them.
Reply privately in a group
Although we are speaking in a group, we may need to respond privately to a specific person. To do this, we will press and hold the message we want to reply to in the group chat and click on More or the three upper points to access the option Reply privately . With this, we will reply to the message in an individual chat with that person.
Empty chats or delete chats
Improving privacy is also emptying the content of chats or even deleting them completely. This is possible in WhatsApp with an option that does this job automatically. In Settings> Chats> click on Empty all chats or Delete all chats.
They prevent them from reading your messages in notifications
For us to receive a WhatsApp message while we are teaching something on our mobile to another person is something extremely normal. If we do not want them to know the content of the messages, we can edit the configuration. To do this, you can avoid in Settings> Notifications> Preview on iPhone or in Settings> Notifications> uncheck Notifications in high priority on Android. We also have these options on Android.
Avoid Automatic Media Download
Photos we receive may compromise privacy. Luckily, we can configure the automatic download of this content in Settings> Data and storage> Automatic download, on Android, or WhatsApp> Settings> Data and storage, on iPhone.
Export or send conversations
The conversations that we may have with any of our contacts is perhaps what WhatsApp users want to protect the most. And it is that the fact that the messaging app has become the most used communication tool, means that the application’s chats can contain a lot of private data or confidential information that we do not want to fall into the hands of third parties.
Protecting access to WhatsApp with our fingerprint or with a PIN is one of the safest way to prevent someone from entering our mobile and being able to read our conversations. However, if we do not have that possibility or we simply want to delete compromised conversations or personal data from the application itself so that no one can see them, WhatsApp allows us the possibility of exporting chats . That is, we can choose which chats we want to export and send them to us by mail, for example, to be able to delete them from the messaging application without losing them.
To do this, all we have to do is go to the chat in question, touch the menu button and choose the More option. This will show us another menu where we find the option that interests us, Export chat . When tapping on it, we will be asked if we also want to export the multimedia files. We choose whether we want the photos or videos shared with that person to be sent to us and the process of collecting all messages and files will automatically begin, if applicable.
Finally, we choose the method or application that we want to use to send the chat. For example, we can choose the email address and this will make us receive the complete conversation with that person in our email address and as attachments, the rest of the images, videos or voice notes that we have shared with them.
After we receive it by mail or through the app that we indicate, we can delete the WhatsApp conversation and be sure that no one will have access to it.
Archive WhatsApp chats
The messaging app itself offers a function that allows us to “hide” a chat from the list of conversations on WhatsApp. We refer to the option to archive chat . What this function does is archive the chat that we select and archive it. By doing this, the chat disappears from the list of conversations and we can only access it if we slide all the way to the bottom in the list of conversations and touch on the Archived option.
Now, it is important to know that if the chat is archived and therefore not visible to the naked eye, the moment that person writes us a new message, it will be visible again among the last chats.
WhatsApp scams to steal your account
Stealing a WhatsApp account is easier than you think. It is enough that they make us believe that they need the number that we have received by SMS to take over the account . Luckily, this is something we can avoid with 2-Step Verification. Normally, we should be suspicious of messages like these:
- The message has misspellings or grammatical errors.
- You are asked to open a link.
- You are asked to share personal information (eg credit card or bank account numbers, date of birth, passwords, etc.).
- You are asked to forward the message.
- The message says that if you open a link, a new function will be activated.
- You are instructed to pay for the use of WhatsApp
Directly related to what we mentioned in the previous paragraph, WhatsApp asks us to:
“Never share the six-digit WhatsApp verification code that you receive via SMS, not even to a known person or an organization you trust. WhatsApp will never ask you to share your verification code with anyone. “
Adjusting all the above options will greatly reduce the possibility of being spied on, especially it will improve our privacy .