Tech Tip – How To Save Time By Sending Public (But Private-Looking) Messages In WhatsApp

If you’d like to use WhatsApp to save time when asking a group of people the same question, making it look as though you’ve asked each of them individually and not having to open each chat to ask them separately, here’s how:

– For Android: Tap on Chats > Menu (three dots top right)> New Broadcast.

– Select the contacts for the broadcast list by tapping on their names (a green tick will appear).

– Once the list has been made, tap on the “Create” (big green tick) button. You will then be shown the number of recipients (and names) top left, with a message field at the foot of the screen.

– Compose and send the message to the list.

– To edit the recipients, or to delete the list, tap on the three dots (top right) and tap on ‘Broadcast list info.’

– To create the list in iOS – Tap on Chats > Broadcast Lists > New List > Add contacts.

Featured Article : Temporary Climb-Down By UK Government

In an apparent admission of defeat, the UK government has conceded that requiring scanning of platforms like WhatsApp for messages with harmful content, as required in the Online Safety Bill, is not (currently) feasible.

The ‘Spy Clause’ 

Under what’s been dubbed the ‘spy clause’ (Clause 122) in the UK’s Online Safety Bill, the government had stated Ofcom could issue notices to messaging apps like WhatsApp and Signal (which use end-to-end encryption) that would allow the deployment of scanning software. The reason given was to scan for child sex abuse images on the platforms. However, the messaging apps argued that this would effectively destroy the end-to-end encryption, an important privacy feature valued by customers. This led to both WhatsApp and Signal threatening to pull their services out of the UK if the Bill went through with the clause in it.

Also, some privacy groups, like the Open Rights Group, argued that forcing the scanning of private messages on apps amounted to an expansion of mass surveillance.


However, in a recent statement to the House of Lords junior arts and heritage minister Lord Stephen Parkinson announced that the government would be backing down on the issue. Lord Parkinson said: “When deciding whether to issue a notice, Ofcom will work closely with the service to help identify reasonable, technically feasible solutions to address child sexual exploitation and abuse risk, including drawing on evidence from a skilled persons report. If appropriate technology which meets these requirements does not exist, Ofcom cannot require its use.” 

In other words, the technology that enables scanning of messages without violating encryption doesn’t currently exist and, therefore, under the amended version of the bill, WhatsApp and Signal will not be required to have their messages scanned (until such technology does exist).

This is a significant climbdown for the government which has been pushing for ‘back doors’ and scanning of encrypted apps for many years, particularly since it was revealed that the London Bridge terror attack appeared to have been planned via WhatsApp.

Victory – Signal & WhatsApp 

Writing on ‘X’ (formerly Twitter), Meredith Whittaker, the president of Signal, said the government’s apparent climbdown was “a victory, not a defeat” for the tech companies. She also admitted, however, that it wasn’t a total victory, saying “we would have loved to see this in the text of the law itself.”

Also posting on ‘X,’ Will Cathcart, head of WhatsApp said that WhatsApp “remains vigilant against threats” to its end-to-end encryption service, adding that “scanning everyone’s messages would destroy privacy as we know it. That was as true last year as it is today.” 


Following the news of the government’s ‘spy clause’ climbdown, privacy advocates the Open Rights Group’ (ORG) highlighted the fact that on the one hand, the government had conceded that the technology that would have been needed to scan messages didn’t exist, while on the other hand appeared they to say they hadn’t conceded.  Describing the matter as an “omnishambles,” the ORG highlighted how during an appearance on Times radio, Michelle Donelan MP said that, “We haven’t changed the bill at all” and that “further work to develop the technology was needed.” 

What Does This Mean For Your Business? 

For apps like WhatsApp and Signal, this is not only a victory against government pressure but is also good news for business as, presumably, they will continue to operate in the UK market.

This is also good news for many UK businesses that routinely use WhatsApp as part of their business communications and won’t need to worry (for the time being) about having their commercially (and personally) sensitive messages scanned, thereby posing a risk to privacy and security, and perhaps increasing the risk of hacks and data breaches. It appears that the UK government has been forced to admit the technology does not yet exist that can scan messages on end-to-end encrypted services and maintain the integrity of that end-to-end encryption at the same time. It also appears that it may realistically take quite some time (years) before this technology exists, thereby making the victory all the sweeter for the encrypted apps.

The government’s climbdown on ‘clause 122’ (the ‘spy clause’), is also being celebrated by the many privacy groups that have long argued against it on the grounds of it enabling mass surveillance.

Tech Tip – Sharing Your Location In WhatsApp

If you’d like an easy way to let others know where you are, e.g. a group of friends on a night out, or as a safety precaution, you can choose to share your location on WhatsApp. Here’s how:

– Go to ‘Settings’ on your phone.

– Tap ‘Apps’ (or scroll down on iPhone).

– Select ‘WhatsApp,’ ‘Permissions,’ and ‘Location.’

– Select ‘Allow only while using the app’ (or ‘Ask every time’).

– To turn location sharing off again, follow the same route to permissions and select ‘Don’t allow.’

Tech Tip – Disable Read Receipts In WhatsApp

WhatsApp shows blue ticks to indicate when your messages have been read by the recipient. If you want to disable read receipts and prevent others from seeing when you’ve read their messages, you can turn off this feature. Here’s how:

– Go to WhatsApp settings (the three dots, top right).

– Select “Privacy”.

– Toggle off the “Read receipts” option.

Tech Tip – Using WhatsApp As A Personal Note-Taking Tool

Using WhatsApp as a personal note-taking tool allows you to conveniently store and organise your thoughts, links, and important information and provides a fast and accessible way to capture and retrieve notes whenever you need them. Here’s how to use WhatsApp as a personal note-taking tool:

– Open WhatsApp on your mobile device and create a new chat by tapping on the ‘New Chat’ icon.

– Instead of selecting a contact, search for your own phone number or name in the contacts list.

– Tap on your own contact to start a private chat with yourself and treat this chat as your personal note-taking space.

– Write down important information, ideas, links, or draft messages that you want to save for later.

– Use the text input field to type your notes or paste links. You can also use the attachment options to save photos, videos, or documents as notes.

– To keep your notes organised, you can create categories or use hashtags within the chat to label and group related notes.

– Whenever you need to access your notes, simply open the chat with yourself and scroll through the saved messages.

– Since WhatsApp synchronises across devices, you can access your notes from any device where you have WhatsApp installed.

Tech Tip – Customise WhatsApp Notifications

If you’d like to give notifications for a certain WhatsApp group you’re in a different as tone so you know when new messages arrive there without having check, here’s how:

– To set a custom notification sound for a specific group:

– Open WhatsApp, click on the group chat in question, and click on the group name at the top.

– Put a tick in ‘Use custom notifications’.

– Click on ‘Notification tone,’ select a tone (you will hear samples) and click on OK.

You can also use the custom notification feature for individual contacts.

Tech Insight: Viewing Deleted WhatsApp Messages

In this Insight, we look at how it is possible to uncover and read deleted messages on WhatsApp, and what a number of privacy features on the app mean for business users.


WhatsApp have made changes as regards message deletion that focus on giving users more control, such as:

– Delete messages for everyone. This allows users to delete messages they’ve sent to an individual or group chat. This can be helpful if a user has sent a message to the wrong chat or the message containing a mistake, and for group admins who need to remove problematic messages in a chat. To use the feature:

– Open WhatsApp, go to the chat with the message to be deleted and click ‘Menu,’ click ‘Delete message > DELETE FOR EVERYONE > DELETE FOR EVERYONE > OK’

– Delete messages for yourself. With this feature, users can delete their copy of messages they’ve sent or received from their phone. This has no impact on the recipients’ chats, recipients will still see the messages in their chat screen and, after clicking on delete, users have 5 seconds to undo the action by clicking Undo (before the message is permanently deleted). To use this feature:

– Open WhatsApp, go to the chat with the message to be deleted and click ‘Menu’ within the chat message. Click Delete message > DELETE FOR ME.

– Chat Lock is designed to protect users’ “most intimate conversations“ behind one more layer of security. Locking a chat takes the thread out of the inbox and puts it behind its own folder that can only be accessed with the user’s device password or biometric, like a fingerprint. It also hides the contents of that chat in notifications.

– Most recently, the ability to edit a message within 15 minutes of sending, e.g. if they contain a mistake, if the sender has second thoughts, or if they’ve been sent to the wrong person. To edit messages, users can long-press on a sent message and choose ‘Edit’ from the menu for up to fifteen minutes after. Edited messages will display ‘edited’ alongside them.

How To Read Deleted Messages 

There are, however, ways for users to uncover and read deleted messages in WhatsApp. For example iOS users can delete and re-download the WhatsApp app. After ensuring messages are backed up on iCloud:

– Delete WhatsApp from the phone, redownload the app from the App Store, and sign back into the account.

– A message will appear asking if you want previously backed up messages to be restored. If you select this option, all messages will be restored, including deleted ones.

For Android (11 and above) users, senders can view deleted messages by using the Notification History feature. This involves clicking on smartphone ‘settings,’ ‘apps and notifications,’ and selecting ‘use notification history.‘ This displays all notifications received by the device, including messages sent to the user via WhatsApp which were later deleted by the sender.

Android users can also try restoring WhatsApp messages through a database. This can be done by opening a file browser, going to the WhatsApp folder, clicking on ‘database,’ holding down the ‘msgstore.db.crypt12’ file and hitting ‘edit name’. From here, it’s a case of changing the name to ‘msgstore backup.db.crypt12’ (so it’s not overwritten), going to Google drive and tapping on the three lines (top right), clicking on ‘backups’ and erasing the WhatsApp backup. Finally, users can delete the WhatsApp app and install it again whereupon they will be prompted to recover WhatsApp through a local backup and can choose ‘msgstore.db.crypt12’, and click ‘Restore’ to restore all messages, including those deleted by the sender.

What Does This Mean For Your Business? 

WhatsApp is known to be a secure end-to-end encrypted app anyway, which is widely used by business (2 billion+ people use it) because it’s free, effective, instant, secure, and convenient. Security concerns could include the fact that it’s Meta-owned, it has shown malware vulnerabilities (patched last year) and, like other digital messaging services and email, is also vulnerable to phishing scams. That said, most business users trust it and are now invested in using it widely, and WhatsApp has introduced other features to keep business users on-board, e.g. multipole devices using one account.

However, governments (including the UK Government) have for many years been wanting ‘backdoors’ and some kind of access to WhatsApp that would essentially destroy end-to-end encryption and create wider privacy and security risks. Now, with increased competition from other encrypted apps like Telegram and Signal, and also with pressure now mounting as legislation is introduced to try and force a way in for governments (e.g., aspects of the Online Safety Bill, which prompted WhatsApp to threaten to bar UK users), it’s perhaps no surprise to see WhatsApp giving users more ways to personally manage the privacy and security of their messages. Some aspects, such as Chat Lock have even led critics to say that WhatsApp’s becoming a platform for ‘relationship cheaters’. It seems however, that there are still ways around certain aspects of privacy, and the above insight shows that it is possible for users to view deleted messages without too much difficulty.

Tech Tip – Creating and Sharing WhatsApp Call Links

If you’d like a way to create and share a WhatsApp call link so that anyone with a WhatsApp account can join your call by opening the link, here’s how:

– Tap the ‘Calls’ tab and tap ‘Create Call Link’.

– Select your call type, video, or voice.

– Tap ‘Copy Link’, and send the ‘Link via WhatsApp’ to share in WhatsApp, or ‘Share Link’ to share it in another app.

Each time you create a call link the URL is different and secure, so no one can guess your call links.