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6 settings to set in WhatsApp to protect your privacy

 


In the past two weeks, WhatsApp has seen a backlash after announcing an update of its privacy policy, as the idea that the app will force its users to share their data with Facebook has raised concerns among users, and they have begun to look for other alternatives, resulting in a rise in installations of competing applications such as Signal and Telegram.

WhatsApp provides end-to-end encryption by default to all users — more than 2 billion users at this time — meaning that what you send through the app remains limited to you and the people you communicate with, and no one, even those working on WhatsApp or Facebook, can read or extract the content of the messages you send, and what they can access is only the two phones that act as endpoints in the encryption setting, where the app is installed. WhatsApp is the most popular encrypted instant messaging app in the world.

But the problem lies in the metadata the app collects about you and may share with Facebook — with your consent of course — including: phone number, account image, usage patterns — including: features you use, groups you've joined, how you interact with others within the app, when you sign up for WhatsApp, the last time you've used the app, how often you send messages, and other information such as: use the status feature, device data, and more.  

You can see all the data the app collects about you with an article: "What data does WhatsApp collect about you and how do you enhance your privacy?"

WhatsApp collects a lot more data than its rival instant messaging apps – such as Signal, Telegram, and iMessage – but when compared to other apps — such as Facebook, Messenger, Google, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok — it collects very little data. So, if you're using these apps, WhatsApp isn't your real problem here.

WhatsApp is safe, and you can keep using it, but there are some settings you need to set to reduce the data it collects about you:

1- Stop the Last Seen property:


Last, Seen refers to the timing of the last time you used the app, allowing your contacts to know, but it's from the data the app collects about you and you can stop it through the following steps:

  • Go to WhatsApp on your phone.
  • Press the three-point icon in the top right corner, then press settings.
  • Click on the Account option.
  • Click on the Privacy option, and under the "Who can see my personal information" section, you'll find an option entitled Last Seen;
  • You'll see three options: Everyone, My Contacts, and Nobody, choose the third option.


 

 

2. Hide your account photo:


If you don't want anyone with your phone number to access your WhatsApp account photo, you can adjust it, and making your account photo private won't stop you from seeing anyone else's photos.

Press the three-point icon in the top right corner of the app interface, then press settings.
Click on the Account option.
Click on the Privacy option, then tap profile Photo, and select the (no one) option.

3- Prevent you from adding to WhatsApp groups without your permission:


WhatsApp allows people to add you to group chats without your permission, but now you can customize the settings to determine who can add you to the groups and will have administrators who can't add you to your invitation option group instead.

  • Press the three-point icon in the top right corner of the app interface, then press settings.
  • Click on the Account option.
  • Click on the Privacy option.
  • Click on the Groups option, you'll see 3 options: (everyone) everyone: anyone can add you to groups, (contacts) My contacts: all your contacts can add you to groups, and (contacts except...) My contacts except: All your contacts can add you to groups except the people you select.
  • If you select the third option, select anyone you don't want to be able to add to the groups.


4- Prevent WhatsApp from accessing your location:


Your smartphone's GPS makes it easy for you to perform a lot of tasks such as: find where you want to go, get traffic alerts, and share your current location with contacts across many apps, including WhatsApp.

But the location of important data that apps collect about you for your targeting with ads, so you should check the privacy settings, and the geographic location of each app installed in your phone.

You can prevent WhatsApp from accessing your location through the following steps:

  • Go to Settings on your device.
  • Click on the App Management option.
  • Click on the App Permissions option, you'll see a list of all the permissions you've tested for apps.
  • Click on the Location permission, and you'll see a list of all the apps you've given you access to.
  • Look for WhatsApp, then select the Never (never) option to prevent it from reaching your site.


5- Hide WhatsApp cases or show them to specific contacts:


Status is one of WhatsApp's most popular features, with more than 500 million people using it every day. This feature allows WhatsApp users to share photos, short videos, and GiFs with contacts, and then automatically disappear after 24 hours, similar to stories in Instagram and Snapchat apps.

The app lets you share cases with all your contacts by default, but you can set the settings to share them with only the contacts you select, and to learn the steps in detail you can see an article: "How to hide WhatsApp cases or show them to specific contacts."

6- Prevent WhatsApp from automatically saving photos and videos on your phone:


You can also use media auto-download to automatically save photos and videos you receive from your phone's photo gallery by following the following steps:

  • Go to WhatsApp on your phone.
  • Press the three-point icon in the top right corner, then press settings.
  • Click on the Storage and Data Usage option.
  • Under the Media Auto-download section, you'll find three options: when using phone data, when using Wi-Fi, and (when roaming) when roaming.
  • Tap each option, and uncheck the checkbox next to photos, audio files, videos, and documents as you wish.

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