WhatsApp for Android users: Relaxed privacy set

How to keep your personal data from exposure

Delete your account before changing the number

What for: To prevent the next owner of the number from accessing your correspondence.

Your WhatsApp account is linked to your phone number. If you change the number, the system creates a new account. The account linked to your old number then remains active for 45 days from the last launch of the app. But your old number will have a new owner sooner or later, and if they log in to WhatsApp, they will see your profile photo and account details. If you do not want strangers to access this information, use the number change feature. To do so:

  1. Open the menu by tapping the three-dot icon in the upper right corner of the screen.
  2. Go to the Settings section.
  3. Select Account.
  4. Tap Change number.
  5. Read the instructions and tap Next.
  6. Enter the old and new phone numbers.
  7. Tap Next.
  8. If necessary, enable the Notify my contacts option and select the contacts to be notified about your number change:
  9. All contacts
  10. Contacts I have chats with
  11. Tap Configure… to manually select the users you need. Bear in mind that contacts in groups that you manage will receive a notification anyway.
  12. Tap Done.
  13. If the system prompts you to enter the two-step verification PIN, enter it.
  14. Tap Remove account and confirm your selection.
  15. Link your new number to the account.

The number change feature lets you import your profile info and settings into the new account. You will also retain access to the chat history but only as long as you use the same device.

Limit the visibility of your info

What for: To make your info visible only to you or your contacts.

Any person who has your phone number can view your WhatsApp profile info and message read receipts, as well as your online status and the time of your last visit. If you do not want strangers to view this info, you can hide it or restrict viewing.

To limit the visibility of your personal info:

  1. Open the menu by tapping the three-dot icon in the upper right corner of the screen.
  2. Go to the Settings section.
  3. Select Account.
  4. Tap Privacy.
  5. In the Last seen, Profile photo, and About sections, select the check mark next to My contacts or Nobody.
  6. Disable the Read receipts option.

Keep in mind that read receipts cannot be disabled in group chats.

Downside: If you disable the display of read receipts, you will also stop seeing read receipts from other users.

How to defeat spammers and trolls

Restrict contacts from sending you messages

What for: To keep out spam.

Any WhatsApp user who knows your phone number can send you a message. If you have been targeted by fraudsters or spammers, you can block the unwanted users. You can also block users from whom you do not want to receive messages for any other reason.

Blocked users will not know that they have been blacklisted. They will not be able to call you or view your status updates, and any messages they send will be marked as undelivered. You will not see those messages at all.

To block a user:

  1. Open the menu by tapping the three-dot icon in the upper right corner of the screen.
  2. Go to the Settings section.
  3. Select Account.
  4. Tap Privacy.
  5. Tap Blocked contacts in the bottom of the list.
  6. Tap the icon in the upper right corner of the screen and select the contact whom you want to block.

After blocking a user, you will not see his or her status updates or the time when the user was last online.

To unblock a user, tap the user’s name or phone number in the list and then tap Unblock <user name>.