WhatsApp privacy settings on Android: Relaxed level

Learn how to change your privacy settings on WhatsApp using Android. These steps adjust your privacy and security settings to Relaxed level protection.
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How to prevent your personal data from being exposed

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Delete your account before changing your phone number

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

The WhatsApp account is linked to a phone number. When you change the number, the system creates a new account. The account linked to your old number will remain active for 45 more days from the time of the last launch of the app. 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:

  1. Tap 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 Custom… 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 for a 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 your chat history, but only for 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, 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. Tap 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: By disabling the display of read receipts, you will also stop seeing read receipts from other users.

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How to defeat spammers and trolls

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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 you’ve blacklisted them. 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. Tap 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 you block a user, you will not see their 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 .


What would have happened if you had chosen another privacy level?

Privacy level
?

Relaxed

Basic privacy settings, maximum convenience.


Medium

A golden mean respecting privacy matters but preserving convenience.


Tight

A choice of security over convenience; instructions contain a lot of details.

Relaxed
Medium
Tight
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