WhatsApp is a really great app in many ways, and has made it possible to send text messages to people without worrying about the individual cost of messages. At its core, it’s a simple chat app that is as easy to use as it can be. And its cross-platform functionality and universal acceptance has meant that you can probably reach most people you know on WhatsApp.
But this very nature of WhatsApp also gives it a somewhat permanent character. Once WhatsApp is linked to your smartphone, you can’t switch it off or log out, without uninstalling the app altogether. As long as your phone is online, so is WhatsApp. This can be inconvenient, particularly if you want to take a break from the constant messages or you’re too busy to respond. There is however a way to go incognito on WhatsApp, and you don’t even have to uninstall the app.
Step One – Turn off visibility
The first step involves turning off visibility on the app. From the app settings, go into account, then privacy, and then set last seen, profile photo, about and status to ‘Nobody’, and read receipts to ‘off’. This way, your contacts won’t be able to see any information on you. However, if you open up WhatsApp, people will still be able to see you ‘Online’, which might make any attempts to be silent and incognito entirely futile.
Step Two – Turn off notifications
In order to help you avoid going into the app, you might want to switch off notifications. You can do this in two ways – switch off notifications and vibration through WhatsApp, and also switch it off on your smartphone. On WhatsApp, the Notifications tab in the settings menu has a bunch of options, which you can set to None. This will prevent any sounds or lights when you receive notifications from WhatsApp.
You will also want to disable notifications through your phone’s settings. Depending on the phone you’re using, the steps for this will be different. But in most cases, your phone’s settings menu will have an option for notifications, where you can disable notifications from certain apps. This will prevent the app from sending you notifications altogether, be it sound, LED notification light or even an icon.
Step Three – Ignore WhatsApp
This is the most important step, and doesn’t need any actions apart from pure willpower. Simply don’t open WhatsApp, because the minute you do, you’ll show as Online. Even with all visibility functions switched off, you can’t hide the fact that you’re online when you are in the app, and people will be able to see this if they’re on your chat. So the most effective way to go off WhatsApp is to, well, go off WhatsApp.
Some ways to help you do this is to delete the WhatsApp shortcut off your home screen, or hide it deep inside a folder with other apps in case your phone has a single-layered user interface. This again entirely depends on the phone you’re using, but many Android smartphones will let you hide apps even from the app drawer, or place them in ‘app lockers’ which make them difficult to find unless you know what you’re looking for. But the key here is to ignore the urge to log into WhatsApp entirely.
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Following these steps will help you take a break from WhatsApp. Once you’re done, all you need to do is reverse the steps – stop ignoring Whatsapp, turn notifications back on, and turn on visibility (the last step is optional). You’ll be back to messaging your friends and family faster than you can blink.