If you’re a long-time user of popular messaging application WhatsApp, then chances are you might have found yourself added into a group chat against your will. Perhaps you’ve left a toxic group, only to be re-added again. Or maybe your app is filling up with pointless chat groups that you don’t want to be a part of, cluttering your UI. Even worse, some scammers or spammers add thousands of contacts completely at random to promote useless content.

All of this is about to come to an end. WhatsApp will now allow you to block people from adding you into a group chat without your consent. No more awkward conversations about why you no longer want to be part of your best friend’s group chat and the nine-thousand daily pictures of their kids.

This change to the Facebook-owned messaging app lets you decide whether or not you want to join a group. You’ll be able to set your app to 3 different settings: ‘nobody‘, ‘my contacts‘ and ‘everyone‘, which control who can add you into a group chat. Previously, strangers could add you to a group simply by knowing your phone number. This meant that spammers could simply guess numbers at random, adding heaps of strangers into a group and flooding them with messages. What’s more, those within a group would also be able to see each other’s phone numbers.

It’s a big step in the right direction towards preventing spammers from inundating people at random with advertising or malicious links, and will help to keep peoples’ phone numbers private in future.

To enable this feature on your phone, simply follow the below steps:

  1. Open the Apple App Store or Google Play Store on your iPhone or Android device, respectively;
  2. Check that your WhatsApp application is up to date — if not, then update it now;
  3. Open the application and navigate to the Settings menu, then into groups;
  4. Select one of the abovementioned settings to decide who you’d like to be able to add you to groups.

It’s that simple. If you can’t see the option to do so yet, then you may have to wait a little longer. Facebook have confirmed that the feature is now available for some users, but others will have to wait as they continue to roll it out to everybody globally in the coming few weeks.

This is the second recent addition to the features available in WhatsApp, after we recently learned the app would be gaining a reverse image search. Once this feature comes into play, it’ll be another weapon in the fight against scammers, as you’ll be able to check whether a supposed promotion or giveaway is legitimate or has been linked to a previous scam.

Don’t forget that there are other useful features hidden away in the menu system for WhatsApp that users frequently forget to visit. If you go to Settings and then Privacy, you can control whether or not your contacts can see the last time you were online. You can also limit visibility of your About page and Status, as well as ensuring that you aren’t sharing your Live Location with anyone. This menu will also let you block users if somebody’s being unpleasant.

For more information about using WhatsApp for free communication, even without a text messaging plan, get in touch with WiseGuys on 0808 123 2820, or drop us a comment below.