WhatsApp just got a huge free upgrade, and it's a game changer

WhatsApp now enables you to silence unwanted calls

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

For all their joys, the rise of messaging apps has meant an increase in people who think it’s okay to spam you, creep you out, or act in other unwelcome ways. So I’m always pleased to see new privacy protections in the apps I use daily, such as WhatsApp.

The latest WhatsApp update, announced today, is therefore great news if you suffer the modern curse of unwanted calls.

Silence Unknown Callers does exactly what it says on the tin. If you want to screen your calls for whatever reason, simply turn the feature on and your phone will no longer ring to alert you of incoming calls. Their details and the time will still appear in the calls list and your notifications, so there’s no danger of blocking your best friend, favourite colleague or your mum. But, it’s a great way of getting rid of spammers and scammers, and a bit more elegant than my current method of never, ever answering my phone.

WhatsApp silence callers

(Image credit: WhatsApp)

Privacy Checkup makes it easier to see your safety options

WhatsApp has announced another useful new feature, Privacy Checkup. That’s designed to address a problem WhatsApp has been aware of for a while - a lot of WhatsApp users aren’t aware of all the tools the app now has, which is understandable when you think about how frequently it adds new tools and features. For example, you might not know about Chat Lock or encrypted private messages.

Privacy Checkup is designed to demystify that and ensure that you know about any tools and settings that can help protect your privacy. It’s not that different from the similar checkup you’ve probably seen in the Facebook app, and walks you through options including choosing who can contact you, what personal info you provide and are willing to share, and what protections there are on your account to keep everything private. 

If you haven’t delved into your WhatsApp settings for a while, it’s definitely worth using this new feature to make sure you’re not sharing things you don’t want to share with people you don’t want to share things with. 

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com).