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How to manage your online visibility in WhatsApp

WhatsApp privacy settings on an Android phone
(Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

Online privacy is more valuable than ever these days. Whether you like to stay discreet or just dislike having people all up in your business, you can easily manage your visibility settings in WhatsApp to suit your needs. 

Here's how you can disable those annoying read receipts, hide your status from prying eyes, and alter other important online visibility and privacy settings in WhatsApp.

How to turn off read receipts in WhatsApp

While I used my Google Pixel 6 for this guide, the steps are identical across all Android smartphones, so you can follow them on any Android device. Let's begin!

1. Open WhatsApp on your Android phone.

2. Tap the three vertical dots in the upper-right corner.

(Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

3. Select Settings.

4. Head into the Privacy settings.

(Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

5. Turn off the toggle for Read receipts.

As soon as you turn off your read receipts in WhatsApp, you will no longer be able to tell when someone has seen your message and vice versa. This is indicated by the tick icon turning blue. Turning off read receipts does not disable double-ticks in WhatsApp.

Remember, one tick means the message has been sent, two ticks indicate that it has been delivered, and both ticks turning blue signifies that the recipient has seen your WhatsApp message.

How to change your last seen, profile photo, about, and status visibility in WhatsApp

To manage your other privacy settings in WhatsApp, repeat steps one through four stated above. Once you have entered your Privacy settings in WhatsApp, you will find individual sections for Last seen, Profile photo, About, and Status. Here's how you can manage each of these privacy options in WhatsApp on Android.

  • Last seen

(Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

After entering your WhatsApp privacy settings, tap Last seen. Choose from among Everyone, My contacts, My contacts except..., and Nobody.

The My contacts except... option is particularly handy, as you can exclude specific individuals from knowing exactly when you were last seen online in WhatsApp.

  • Profile photo

(Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

You will find the Profile photo privacy settings sitting right beneath the Last seen option. To control who can view your WhatsApp profile picture, tap that option and select from the same options.

  • About

(Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

The WhatsApp profile picture privacy settings are followed by the About section. This is the little customizable blurb that appears beneath your name in the app. If you don't want everyone to read it, you can select accordingly.

  • Status

(Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

Your WhatsApp status updates can generally be viewed by anyone who has your number and the app installed on their phone. This isn't the best privacy policy, and you can alter it by tapping Status privacy under the Privacy settings in WhatsApp.

Be safe out there

WhatsApp is a fantastic Android app for messaging and video calls, but it's not without fault. Be sure to keep yourself safe when using the app by making full use of the built-in privacy and security features. After reviewing and editing your online visibility options in WhatsApp, take some extra time to go through your security settings.

Setting up two-factor authentication in WhatsApp is a wonderful way to bolster your account safety. If you're looking for the most secure messaging app, WhatsApp may not be the right answer. Be sure to check out out Telegram vs. Signal vs. WhatsApp breakdown to figure out your best shot at having the safest texting app on Android.

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WhatsApp Messenger

Communicate with others using one of the most widely used messaging apps in the world. Now owned by Meta, WhatsApp brings you features like end-to-end encryption, VoIP audio and video calls, disappearing chats and media, and an easy-to-use interface.

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Namerah Saud Fatmi
Namerah Saud Fatmi

Namerah Saud Fatmi is a contributing writer for Android Central. She has a passion for all things tech & gaming and has been an honorary Goodreads librarian since 2011. When she isn't writing, she can be found chasing stray cats and dogs in the streets of Dhaka or slaying dragons in the land of Skyrim. You can reach her on Twitter @NamerahS.