WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app in India, and has become synonymous with conversations on the smartphone. The app has a lot of handy features that make it convenient to use for its 200 million users in India – and 1.2 billion worldwide – but not every user knows them all. But fret not, as we are here to help out WhatsApp newbies and power users alike find features that will make their chats easier and more fun. Scroll down for seven WhatsApp features that you should definitely know about.
1. Easier text formatting in WhatsApp
WhatsApp users have had text formatting options such as bold italics and strikethrough for over a year, but the process was rather cumbersome. For example, you would have to type your text between asterisk marks to make the text bold in the message (for example, *turn text bold*), and between underscores for italics (for example, _underscore text_). This manual method is not the most convenient, and WhatsApp has fixed this with the latest beta update. Those on WhatsApp for Android beta 2.12.535 or later can just select the they want to format and select the option with three dots to choose if they want to use bold or italicise part of the text.
2. Forward the same WhatsApp message to multiple contacts
Originally, WhatsApp allowed users to forward messages in a chat to only one contact at a time. However, the company has since late last year added the provision to forward the same message to multiple users and groups at once. Just select the message, tap the forward button, and long-press to choose the contacts and groups you want to share to it with.
3. Send messages to multiple WhatsApp users as broadcast
There may be times when you want to send multiple people (who are not in the same group) the same message, and sending it one by one will seem like a tedious job. In such a situation, you can use the WhatsApp broadcast feature to send the message to up to 256 people in one go. The recipients must have you in their contacts though.
To try this feature in Android, tap the menu button on the top right of the screen (the one with three dots), choose the New Broadcast option, and select the contacts you want to send the message to. iPhone users can head to Chats, go to Broadcast Lists, tap New List, and just select the contacts you want to send the message to and type their message.
4. Call back and voice mails on WhatsApp
If you make a WhatsApp call and the user does not pick up, you can choose to call them back right from the calling screen. When the call is left unanswered or rejected, WhatsApp will show three buttons – Cancel, Call Back, and Record Voice Message. This way, you can call the person again from the same screen, or leave a voice message – which can be likened to a voice mail. The voice message will appear in the person’s chat with you, next to the missed call icon.
5. GIF search in WhatsApp
WhatsApp users have become accustomed to GIFs on the platform, but did you know you can send GIFs to your friends right from the default keyboard? The GIF search feature allows you to choose from Giphy’s extensive library to send to your contacts. On Android, to select the most appropriate GIF, open the emoji keyboard and tap on the GIF button. On the bottom-left of the screen, you will now see the search icon; just tap that and search for the best GIF to spice up your conversation using the right keywords. If you are an iPhone user, hit the + button (next to the chat box), open Photo & Video Library, and tap on the GIF search button on the bottom left to look up GIFs.
6. Siri can read your WhatsApp messages aloud
A new WhatsApp update for iPhones running iOS 10.3 or above allows Siri to read messages aloud, which can be quite useful while driving. WhatsApp for iPhone version 2.17.2 brings the Hey Siri integration, so when you get a new message on the app, you can say “Hey Siri, read my last WhatsApp message,” and the digital assistant will read aloud the last message you received. However, the message can only be read by Siri once, and the assistant won’t be able to repeat it a second time.
7. See what chats are using the most space
WhatsApp users on iPhone can see which chats are using the most space, usually with the people or groups where most media like photos/ videos are exchanged. This can help when you are running out of space and need to figure out which contact they have shared the most media files with. With the list of contacts at their disposal, they can start go about deleting the unnecessary media files to free up precious storage space.
To see who your most frequently contacted WhatsApp friends are, open Settings, go to Data and Storage Usage, and select Storage Usage. Here you will see the list of contacts with whom you shared the most data with, and get on with deleting/ uploading to the cloud the images, videos, GIFs, and documents you don’t need on the phone.