WhatsApp is introducing a way to hide your last seen status from specific contacts, as well as the ability to leave a group without notifying other users.
Last December, WhatsApp started hiding users’ online status from strangers by default. While this was a step in the right direction, it still allows your entire contact list to see whether you’re online or not. The upcoming WhatsApp update is supposed to fix this as it will let you choose which contacts see your status. So if you don’t want someone to know you’re ignoring their message, turn on the setting for that user and they’ll (hopefully) never know the difference.
WhatsApp is also rolling out another handy feature that will allow you to silently leave groups. Currently, the app (very annoyingly) notifies every user in the group that you’ve left, which may prompt some group members to send you a private message to ask why you left. The new feature is the digital equivalent of the Irish Goodbye – the act of leaving a party without telling anyone – and should help eliminate the awkwardness that comes along with leaving a chat.
WhatsApp says it will start rolling out these two features this month, and that it’s also working on a way to block users from taking screenshots of “view once” messages. Unlike disappearing messages, one-view messages don’t disappear after a set amount of time—they disappear after the recipient has viewed it once, like a photo or video sent via Snapchat. Adding a way to block screenshots can prevent users from saving or sharing confidential information with others. This feature is still in testing, but WhatsApp says it will start rolling it out to users “soon.”
WhatsApp made several other small but significant updates this year. In addition to introducing emoji reactions and introducing a way to speed up voice messages, the platform also began allowing Android users to transfer their chat history to iPhone.