There is no doubt that most people today use WhatsApp as their default messaging tool.

This is simply because almost everyone is on this platform, something that can be evidenced by the more than 1 billion downloads the app enjoys on the Google Play Store as well as more than 800 active monthly users.

At the start of this year, WhatsApp added a web version and a voice calling feature to the platform, additions that tend to make this app indispensable. If you are one of the millions of people who have to deal with this Facebook-owned instant messaging app on a daily basis, here are some of the most essential tips and tricks that will help you improve your experience with this messenger.

Mute group and notifications

Notifications are very cool, but they can at times be a nightmare, especially if they are from an active group. However, it is possible to mute group chats as well as notifications. This will help you stay focused on whatever you are doing.

On your Android phone, open the group thread and tap on the menu button. From the menu, tap on Mute and choose the period you want the group chats to remain muted. Towards the lower end, there is an option for enabling and disabling notifications for the time you choose.

Check which group members have read your message

When in a group, you can easily check who has read your message. Just like the blue ticks and gray ticks represent read receipts in private chats, they do so in group chats too. To check who has read your message in a group chat, simply tap and hold on a message you sent and on top of your screen, tap on the info button. You will see who has read your message and who has received it.

Disable auto-download of media

WhatsApp involves sending of voice recordings, pictures as well as videos. These can take up a lot of your data if not monitored. The good thing is that WhatsApp provides a means by which you can limit the media being downloaded to your phone based on the type of internet connection you are using.

On your Android device, launch the app and tap on the menu to reveal the settings menu. Tap on this and check out the chat settings where you’ll find the “Media auto-download” option. Here, you can specify when you want WhatsApp to download images, videos and voice notes to your phone.

Change status message and profile picture using WhatsApp Web

WhatsApp Web recently received an update that makes it more of the phone app. It is now possible to change your profile picture as well as update your status message directly from the web version. You can upload a photo from your drive or use the webcam on your laptop. You can also change group pictures of groups you admin from this end.

Disable read receipts

WhatsApp comes with a default setting that allows users to know the time you read a message they sent you. Furthermore, the app allows everyone to view your status message, timestamp as well as profile photo by default. However, all these settings can be changed to fit your personal needs.

In the privacy settings of WhatsApp, you can quickly determine who views your profile photo and status message as well as disable your last seen timestamp. The read receipts, usually denoted by blue ticks, can also be disabled from this end, but it will mean that you won’t be able to see the same blue ticks on the messages you send to other people.

Technology Software 5 Essential WhatsApp Tips and Tricks that Every User Should Know