WhatsApp comes with a ton of great features that make it the go-to messaging app for millions of people around the world. Among these is the ingeniously simple Read Receipts that let you know your message has been viewed. If you want to read a message without alerting the sender, however, there are simple tricks you can perform to give yourself plausible deniability.
To notify senders of their message's status, WhatsApp uses a series of check mark icons from the moment it's sent (one gray check), to its arrival (two gray checks), and finally when it's read (two blue checks). For those times where you'd rather read the message without letting the sender know, there are ways to view a message without tripping the app.
This method is pretty sneaky and involves turning off all your internet connections to cut off WhatsApp's ability to communicate. First, do not open the incoming message. Also, make sure to clear away any notifications that you may have gotten. From there, follow these steps:
- Turn off Wi-Fi and mobile data by enabling Airplane Mode.
- Open WhatsApp, tap the message in question, and read away.
- Once done, get out of WhatsApp and fully kill the app! (iOS help)
- After making sure that WhatsApp has fully closed, disable Airplane mode.
The message will still be marked as unread since WhatsApp was blocked from communication to and from your smartphone while Airplane mode was enabled. Just don't go back into the chat again until you're ready to go back on the grid.
This method is pretty pretty self-explanatory, but it's a great way to read short messages without having to open the app and alert the sender. Just make sure not to tap on the message itself while you're reading, as it'll transfer you to the app and notify the sender that you've gotten the message.
If you really value privacy and feel awkward about notifying people of when you've read their messages, WhatsApp gives you the ability to disable this feature for good. To do so, open the app and go to the settings page by either tapping on "Settings" in the lower-right corner (iOS) or tapping the menu button in the upper-right corner and selecting "Settings" (Android). From there, select "Account," then tap on "Privacy."
Now, simply tap on "Read Receipts" at the bottom of the "Privacy" page to toggle it off and finish up. Just bear in mind that turning this feature off will also prevent you from seeing if your messages have been read. In addition to this, the feature will still work within group chats, so you'll have to use either method outlined above to prevent the app from notifying senders.
This article was produced during Gadget Hacks' special coverage on texting, instant messaging, calling, and audio/video chatting with your smartphone. Check out the whole Chat series.