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WhatsApp Adds QR Codes and Animated Stickers

WhatsApp has introduced a number of new features. These include QR codes for adding new contacts and animated stickers to make messaging more fun. These new WhatsApp features will be rolling out over the next few weeks, so keep an eye out for updates.

New WhatsApp Features to Make Use Of

In a post on the WhatsApp Blog, the company explains that while its “focus remains on providing a simple, reliable and private way for people to chat with friends and family,” it’s still looking for ways to push WhatsApp forward in terms of usefulness.

First up are QR codes which you can scan to add new contacts. Previously, you had to type in someone’s name and phone number to add them as a contact. Now, you can just scan their QR code to add them to your contacts. Which is both quicker and easier.

WhatsApp has also added animated stickers you can send while messaging people. As the name suggests, these are stickers (which you can already find alongside emojis and GIFs) that are animated. Allowing you to express yourself better in a message.

The other, smaller, new WhatsApp features are: Dark Mode is now available on WhatsApp Web and the desktop app, WhatsApp has improved the way group video calls work, and WhatsApp Status (how to use WhatsApp Status) is now available on KaiOS.

Other WhatsApp Features You Need to Know About

With more than 2 billion users worldwide to consider, WhatsApp doesn’t make changes lightly. So these new features will have been tested thoroughly before launch. Adding QR codes is particularly useful, as it takes the pain out of adding new contacts on WhatsApp.

While humans tend to be mostly interested in what’s shiny and new, there are some well-established WhatsApp features that all users should know about. These include how to disable read receipts, how to back up your chats, and how to silence notifications.

Read the full article: WhatsApp Adds QR Codes and Animated Stickers

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How to Use WhatsApp Web on PC: The Ultimate Guide

WhatsApp Web offers a quick and easy way to read and reply to WhatsApp messages on your computer. It lets you use WhatsApp online from your browser. And in this guide we show you how to use WhatsApp Web on your PC.

What You Will Need to Run WhatsApp Web

Largely speaking, it’s a simple process and you’ll have the necessary items at hand. But for the sake of thoroughness, here’s the list.

  1. An Android phone or an iPhone with a working rear camera.
  2. A laptop or desktop computer with any modern web browser, like Google Chrome.
  3. An active internet connection for both your phone and your PC.
  4. The latest version of WhatsApp.

Download: WhatsApp for Android | iOS (Free)

How WhatsApp Web Works

How to Install and Use WhatsApp Web on any computer

WhatsApp Web does not have all the features of the mobile app. In fact, it can’t work without the mobile app. You will need your phone to connect to and use WhatsApp Web.

This is, in essence, a clone or a mirror of what’s happening on your phone. If a message comes to your phone, you’ll see it in WhatsApp Web. If your phone doesn’t get a message because it doesn’t have an active internet connection or it’s switched off, then you won’t see it in WhatsApp Web either.

This makes WhatsApp Web inferior to other chat apps, but in some ways, it also makes WhatsApp Web more secure.

How to Set Up WhatsApp Web

Once you have these elements ready, setting up WhatsApp Web is simple:

  1. Open the browser on your PC and go to web.whatsapp.com.
  2. You will see a QR code that you need to scan to connect to WhatsApp Web.
  3. On your WhatsApp mobile app, tap Menu > WhatsApp Web to start the QR code reader.
  4. Point your phone’s rear camera to the QR code on your PC screen.

As soon as WhatsApp Web scans the QR code, it will connect your phone to your PC. In a jiffy, WhatsApp Web and WhatsApp mobile will be synced. You are now ready to use WhatsApp online through the computer.

What You Can Do With WhatsApp Web

  • Use your keyboard to type.
  • Access media (photos, videos, audio) in-line. You can also download any media directly to your PC. However, you cannot bulk download all media files; you have to manually click each.
  • View videos from Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube without leaving the chat window, through Picture-in-Picture mode.
  • Start a new conversation with any contact, or search for existing conversations.
  • View contact information.
  • Start a new group chat, talk in group chats, and view group information.
  • Connect multiple computers to your phone and save them for future. You can also remotely disconnect any browser from your phone.
  • Get or mute desktop alerts and sounds.
  • Share photos and videos, documents, and contacts.
  • Send emojis, GIFs, and stickers, as well as voice notes.
  • View WhatsApp Status updates from any contact.
  • Select multiple messages, and clear messages.
  • Reply, forward, star, or delete messages.
  • Edit your profile.

What You Can’t Do With WhatsApp Web

  • You can’t send a WhatsApp Broadcast.
  • You can’t make or receive WhatsApp Voice calls or WhatsApp Video calls.
  • You can’t post new WhatsApp Status updates.
  • You can’t share maps or your current location.
  • You can’t change media download settings, so all photos and videos sent to you are downloaded automatically.
  • You can’t use two browsers at the same time. While you can add multiple browsers/PCs to your phone, you can only use one at a time.
  • Settings are limited to notifications through WhatsApp Web and chat wallpapers.

Using Multiple WhatsApp Accounts

You can use multiple accounts with WhatsApp Web on one computer

Some folks have two numbers associated with two different WhatsApp accounts. You can still control WhatsApp online for both on a single PC.

To do that, you will need to open WhatsApp Web in two different browsers, such as Chrome and Opera. Alternately, you can open WhatsApp Web in an incognito window, but that automatically logs you out after an hour.

What Makes WhatsApp Web Special

WhatsApp Web is special because of the keyboard, you can finally type fast

So why should you use WhatsApp Web when it’s more limited than the phone? Because of the keyboard, of course.

If you want to engage in long conversations with someone, it’s easier to type using a keyboard. In fact, WhatsApp Web also works with WhatsApp Business, and you’ll be glad that you can take care of multiple customers through it.

You can use keyboard shortcuts too. The most useful two to remember are Ctrl + Shift + [ to go to the previous chat, and Ctrl + Shift + ] to go to the next chat.

How Safe Is WhatsApp Web?

While it initially got some flak for its lack of security, WhatsApp now boasts end-to-end encryption for all of its messages. This extends to WhatsApp Web as well.

Still, it’s a good idea to employ the best security practices for WhatsApp and understand how safe your photos are in WhatsApp, whether you’re using it your phone or using WhatsApp Web. For example, if you have to use WhatsApp Web on a different computer, always open it through an incognito window.

How to Log Out of WhatsApp Web

How to log out of all devices connected to whatsapp web

If you are using WhatsApp Web on your own computer, you can stay logged in even when you are done. It’s convenient.

If you are using it on someone else’s computer, then remember to log out after you are done using WhatsApp online. It’s best to do this on both the computer and the mobile app.

  1. To log out of WhatsApp Web through your computer, go to Menu > Log out.
  2. To log out of WhatsApp Web through your phone, go to Menu > WhatsApp Web > Log out from all devices. As the name indicates, this will close WhatsApp Web on any computer you are logged in.

Once you log out, you will need to run the WhatsApp Web QR Code scan again to reconnect to the device.

WhatsApp Web Tips and Tricks

The more you know about WhatsApp Web, the more astounded you will be by what you can achieve with it. In fact, we prefer it to the official desktop apps for WhatsApp since WhatsApp Web is more feature-filled, and even offers extensions.

There’s also a clever hack that makes WhatsApp Web worth using. Through WhatsApp Web, you can actually read your WhatsApp messages without marking them with blue ticks. It’s a sneaky one, but if you want to learn how to do that and more, check out our list of WhatsApp Web tips and tricks everyone should know.

Read the full article: How to Use WhatsApp Web on PC: The Ultimate Guide

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7 WhatsApp Web Tips and Tricks All Users Should Know

WhatsApp Web is the easy way to use WhatsApp on any computer in the world, as long as you have your phone to sign in. Once you know how to use WhatsApp Web on your PC, these tips and tricks will make WhatsApp Web even better.

Now that you know the basics of using WhatsApp Web, including what it can and can’t do, it’s time to enhance WhatsApp Web with some simple tips and tricks…

1. Learn WhatsApp Web’s Keyboard Shortcuts

keyboard shortcuts for WhatsApp Web

In order to take full advantage of using WhatsApp Web on your computer, you need to learn some keyboard shortcuts. These can make you a typing ninja who does everything a bit faster. Here’s a list of keyboard shortcuts that work in WhatsApp Web:

  • Ctrl + N: Start new chat
  • Ctrl + Shift + ]: Next chat
  • Ctrl + Shift + [: Previous chat
  • Ctrl + E: Archive chat
  • Ctrl + Shift + M: Mute chat
  • Ctrl + Backspace: Delete chat
  • Ctrl + Shift + U: Mark as unread
  • Ctrl + Shift + N: Create new group
  • Ctrl + P: Open profile status

Apart from these, you can also employ all of the universal Windows keyboard shortcuts, such as Ctrl + Shift + Equals to zoom and enlarge text. The same goes for Mac keyboard shortcuts too, of course.

2. Type and Search Emojis With a Keyboard

Instant messaging feels incomplete without emojis. But it takes forever to change from the keyboard to the mouse, click the emoji icon next to the text box, and then find the right emoji. There’s a faster WhatsApp Web trick for keyboard warriors.

While in the regular text box, type colon (Shift + ;/: Key) followed by the first two letters of the emotion you want to express. You will get a prompt of matching emojis that change with each letter you type.

:th will show this:

add emojis quickly in WhatsApp Web

:thu will show this:

type a colon followed by letters to see emoji previews in WhatsApp Web

Use the keyboard’s arrow keys to switch back and forth between the emojis displayed. Press Enter to accept.

You can also access the emojis, stickers, and GIFs button by pressing Shift+Tab when in any chat window. This will highlight the emoji icon, so press Enter to bring up the emojis, stickers, and GIFs menu. Press Tab and Shift+Tab to cycle through the three choices. Navigate within their menu with the arrow keys.

It’s a much faster way to type, and it will help if you familiarize yourself with the emoji to English dictionary.

3. Auto-Change Emoticons to Emojis (or Not)

Whatsapp Web auto-changes a set of text emoticons to emojis as a great keyboard shortcut

Some emojis don’t need the colon-and-type trick above because one of the best features of WhatsApp Web is to auto-convert them from the classic text emoticons. A helpful redditor extracted the full list of auto-converted emoticons, pictured above.

Again, learning these WhatsApp Web shortcuts for the keyboard will make your typing much faster if you practice them regularly.

That said, this auto-conversion can be annoying for some people, so there’s an easy fix to keep them as emoticons. All you need is a userscript called WhatsApp Emoticon Preserver.

  1. Install Tampermonkey, a cross-platform userscript manager, on your browser of choice.
  2. Go to WhatsApp Emoticon Preserver.
  3. Click the blue Install button.
  4. Refresh the WhatsApp Web tab in your browser.

Please note, this will show emoticon characters on your screen, but the recipient will still see them as emojis.

4. Use Multiple WhatsApp Accounts on the Same PC

How to use multiple WhatsApp Web accounts on your computer at the same time

Some people have two phones with separate WhatsApp accounts, or maybe you use a dual-SIM phone with multiple WhatsApp apps. If you want to run two WhatsApp Web accounts on your computer, you can’t just open two tabs in Chrome and sign in separately.

The best WhatsApp Web trick to use multiple accounts is to open an incognito window or different browser. So if you have one account signed into Chrome, start a new window in Incognito Mode, or fire up a second browser and go to WhatsApp Web through that. Log in as you normally would, using your other account to read the QR code.

In Incognito Mode, you can use WhatsApp Web for an hour before it automatically logs you out.

5. Read Messages Without Blue Tick Notifications

Use this WhatsApp Web trick to read messages without the blue ticks to notify the other user

As long as you have those blue tick marks enabled, people can see the exact time you read their text. You can switch off Read Receipts on your phone if you want to disable this, but there’s a cool WhatsApp Web trick to get around this.

If you are talking with someone on WhatsApp and want to read their messages without them getting a read receipt, here’s what you do:

  1. Open the chat in your WhatsApp Web window.
  2. Open a Notepad file (or any other window), and change its size so that you can see the full WhatsApp Web chat in the background.
  3. Click in the Notepad file and keep your cursor there. This is the critical step, as the computer thinks you are working in a different window.
  4. Messages will load in the background chat window, which you can see, without being marked as read with the blue ticks. Right now, they will be double grey ticks, meaning the messages are received by you, but not read.
  5. When you’re OK with marking them as read, click the WhatsApp Web chat window and those ticks will instantly turn blue.

The limitation of this method is that you can only read the content of one chat at a time. But how often do you really need to use this WhatsApp Web trick anyway?

6. Get WAToolkit Extension for Message Previews

WAToolkit is a Chrome Extension that makes up for missing WhatsApp Web features

In WAToolkit, Chrome users have an excellent extension to add extra features to WhatsApp Web. It adds two cool tricks to built-in WhatsApp Web features, including one that lets you again read conversations without triggering the Read Receipt.

  1. Background Notifications: When you get a new message in WhatsApp, you no longer need to switch to the WhatsApp Web tab to read it. The WAToolkit icon’s badge shows how many unread messages you have. Hover over the icon and you’ll be able to preview the messages, without registering them as having been read in your main chat.
  2. Full-Width Chat Bubbles: By default, WhatsApp doesn’t stretch a person’s chat bubble across the full width of the chat window. That’s why you get multi-line texts when it would easily fit in a single line of your wide desktop window. WAToolkit fixes this by changing the text bubbles to full-width.

Remember, you can also use Google Chrome extensions in Opera and other browsers.

Download: WAToolkit for Chrome (Free)

7. Enable Dark Mode for WhatsApp Web

Dark WhatsApp Web extension for Chrome enables and disables Dark Mode for WhatsApp Web in one click

Dark Mode is a hidden WhatsApp Web feature that the company hasn’t yet launched to the public. You will find articles online about how to change the code in a browser tab to enable Dark Mode, and it’s not too hard, but might seem daunting for some.

But the easier way is to download the Dark WhatsApp Web extension. It’s a neat WhatsApp Web shortcut to implement exactly what the code changes bring about, but without all that hassle. With one click, you can switch Dark Mode on and off in WhatsApp Web.

Download: Dark WhatsApp Web for Chrome (Free)

You Can Also Use WhatsApp Web on Apple Devices

All of these tips and tricks require you to use WhatsApp Web on a desktop computer, ideally through the Google Chrome web browser.

However, you can also trick your Apple devices into working with WhatsApp Web, so here’s how to use WhatsApp Web on your iPad.

Read the full article: 7 WhatsApp Web Tips and Tricks All Users Should Know

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How to Stop Telegram Saving Images to Your Phone Gallery

Telegram is much better than WhatsApp in countless ways, and here are the reasons why you should give Telegram a chance. For starters, it’s not owned by Facebook, which is one of the largest advertising companies in the world. So that’s a big plus.

As you’d expect, Telegram is packed with little tricks that make the messaging app even more enjoyable to use. One such feature is the ability to stop images you receive from being automatically saved to your phone’s picture gallery. So, in this article, we explain how that works.

How to Stop Telegram From Saving Photos

If your Telegram images are showing in your gallery and you don’t want them to, it is possible to prevent the auto-download process.

To learn how to stop Telegram from saving photos, follow the simple step-by-step instructions below:

  1. Open the Telegram app.
  2. Tap on the three horizontal lines in the upper left-hand corner of the window.
  3. In the new menu, select Settings.
  4. Scroll down to the Chat Settings section.
  5. Slide the toggle next to Save to Gallery into the Off position.

(NB: Changing this setting will not affect images that you have already downloaded onto your device.)

Unlike WhatsApp (which blurs images when you disable automatic downloads), you will still be able to see Telegram images on the screen in all their glory.

If you’d like to save a single picture to your gallery, open the image and click on the three dots in the upper right-hand corner. In the pop-up menu, choose Save to Gallery.

More Cool Things to Do With Telegram

Telegram is a multi-faceted app that is constantly added exciting new features. To learn about some of the other cool stuff that Telegram is capable of, check out our article listing the best Telegram features you should be using.

Read the full article: How to Stop Telegram Saving Images to Your Phone Gallery

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You Can Now Use Signal to Blur Faces in Photos

Signal, which uses end-to-end encryption on all messages, has added a new tool to its secure messaging app. The feature lets you blur faces (or anything other identifying features) in photos, making it more difficult for individuals to be identified.

This is in response to the current protests taking place across the US and beyond. And while Signal itself suggests covering your face before heading out onto the street, its blur tool offers an extra layer of protection when sharing photos online.

How to Blur Faces in Photos Using Signal

To blur your photos using Signal, first, open the app on your phone. Then, head to any of your current chats and tap the Camera icon. Select an image from your gallery, and tap the Blur icon (which looks like a soccer ball for some reason).

Tap the Blur Faces toggle on to have Signal automatically blur the faces from the photo. If Signal misses a face (or you want to blur something else out of the image) use the Blur Brush to do so. Finally, save the photo to your gallery.

All of the processing happens locally, meaning the original, uncensored images never leave your device. It’s important to note, however, that there are ways to unmask people in blurred images, and Signal cannot guarantee this will safeguard your identity.

You can read more about Signal’s new blur tool, including Signal’s reasons for releasing it, in a post on The Signal Blog. The feature is available in the latest version of Signal for Android and iOS (rolling out right now), so if you can’t yet see it, update the app.

Download: Signal for Android | iOS

Other Ways to Pixelate or Blur Your Images

While Signal is regarded as the most privacy and security conscious messaging app out there, it’s not the only one. So here are the best messaging apps for private chats. Meanwhile, there are plenty of other ways to pixelate or blur your images online.

Image Credit: Steve Banfield/Flickr

Read the full article: You Can Now Use Signal to Blur Faces in Photos

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The 6 Best Facebook Messenger Alternatives for Private Chats

If you’re trying to cut Facebook out of your life, Messenger is one of the apps you need to replace.

Its chats are not end-to-end encrypted by default, meaning that Facebook could access your chats if it wanted to. And because Facebook thrives on collecting as much data as possible, you’re probably not comfortable with the company spying on what you say to your friends.

So, with that in mind, we have compiled a list of Facebook Messenger alternatives which allow you to chat privately with family and friends. Once you’ve chosen one you’ll just have to convince your friends to sign up to it too.

1. Signal

If you’re looking for a super secure messaging client that’s also easy to use, Signal could be the one for you. Signal is an open source messaging service available on Android, iPhone, Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Signal is developed by Signal Foundation, a successor to Open Whisper Systems. The best part about Signal’s privacy is that the backend code is also open source and verifiable. A lot of secure messaging services only open source the frontend application code (“client-side”) while keeping the backend platform proprietary (“server-side”).

That’s not the case with Signal. This might seem like a small thing, but this layer of transparency adds more confidence and trust to the system. It’s one of the reasons why Edward Snowden has endorsed Signal. Regardless of how you feel about him, he certainly knows about privacy.

With the application itself, you’ll find all the features you’d look for in a messaging service. You can text, make voice calls, send pictures and videos, share documents, create group chats, and similar.

Signal is extremely simple to use. You sign up using your phone number and a one-time password that’s sent to you via SMS. Then, just give your name and you’re all set. There’s no email address or password to worry about.

Signal will ask your permission to look up your contacts, but it only uses this temporarily to see who you also know on Signal. Those details aren’t kept on Signal’s servers.

Download: Signal for Android | iOS (Free)

2. Telegram

Telegram has arisen as a hugely popular alternative to the more mainstream messaging apps. With over 400 million monthly active users at the time of writing, there’s clearly lots to love about Telegram.

You’ll find its interface familiar to Facebook Messenger, with a lot of the same features and characteristics—minus the bad parts. Telegram is available on every major platform including iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, and the web. The app’s UI is clean and simple to use.

When you’re looking for secure and private alternatives to popular messaging clients, Telegram is usually one of the first options to pop up. But while Telegram is open source, only the client-side code is available to the public. The server-side code is all proprietary, so you have to trust the company’s word on its security.

Some security experts criticize Telegram because it doesn’t use end-to-end encryption by default. For this, you need to open a Secret Chat with every person you’re talking to. Without it, Telegram works just like every other messaging service: keeping your messages protected on its servers, where it has access to all of your data. This conveniently allows you to use it on all your devices, though.

So why is Telegram on this list? Because it’s way better than Facebook Messenger. There are no annoying ads or stories. And Telegram boasts some really useful bots. Because the service is so popular, you’ll probably find that your friends are already using Telegram. If not, you can hopefully convince them to jump ship.

Download: Telegram for Android | iOS (Free)

3. Threema

Threema is a paid messaging app with a focus on privacy and gimmick-free features. It includes all of the essentials you’d expect, like group chats, voice calls, media sharing, and more. In addition to these standard tools, Threema lets you protect sensitive chats with a PIN, agree or disagree with messages using reactions, and choose whether to sync your contacts.

Everything is end-to-end encrypted to protect your privacy. However, Threema goes one step further, as it doesn’t require you to use your phone number or email address to sign up. The app provides you with a random ID instead, which can’t be connected to you. See Threema’s Security page for more information.

The app costs a one-time fee of $3, and doesn’t include any ads or other nonsense once you’re in. You can also use the app on the web after installing it on your phone.

Download: Threema for Android | iOS ($2.99)

4. Wire

Wire is intended for business-level collaboration, but features a basic free tier for personal use. It’s completely open source and features end-to-end encryption across all communication. The service has received independent audits from many security firms, so you can trust that it’s secure.

For chatting one-on-one or with a few friends, Wire is probably overkill since it’s intended as something more akin to Slack. But if you have a bigger group and want to set up secure communication with them, Wire could work.

Download: Wire for Android | iOS (Free, subscription available)

5. WhatsApp

With over two billion monthly users, WhatsApp is certainly the biggest messaging platform in the world. It’s owned by Facebook which may rightfully give you pause for thought. But for now, the app has managed to stay mostly independent from Facebook.

WhatsApp’s Status feature isn’t in your face all the time. There are no ads in the app. And even its business features are tastefully implemented.

There are two big reasons WhatsApp makes for a solid alternative to Facebook Messenger. First, WhatsApp uses end-to-end AES 256-bit encryption by default on all chats. As long as you (and the person you’re talking to) are running the latest version of WhatsApp, your chats are encrypted.

WhatsApp states its position on encryption clearly in the WhatsApp FAQs:

“WhatsApp has no ability to see the content of messages or listen to calls on WhatsApp. That’s because the encryption and decryption of messages sent on WhatsApp occurs entirely on your device. Before a message ever leaves your device, it is secured with a cryptographic lock, and only the recipient has the keys.

In addition, the keys change with every single message that is sent. While all of this happens behind the scenes, you can confirm your conversations are protected by checking the security verification code on your device.”

Also, WhatsApp uses the Signal Protocol end-to-end encryption system, which is the same open source setup used by Signal. Furthermore, you can use two-step authentication to secure the WhatsApp data on your phone.

So the world’s most popular messaging app, which is owned by Facebook, is also one of the most secure and privacy-focused messaging apps. This is ironic, but means that WhatsApp is better for privacy than you might at first think.

Download: WhatsApp for Android | iOS (Free)

6. Messenger Lite (Android) or Friendly (iOS)

If you can’t pull yourself away from Facebook Messenger because all your friends and family use it, you could try Messenger Lite instead.

The lightweight version of Messenger gives you all the essential messaging features (including media sharing) but does away with everything unnecessary. There are no ads, Messenger Day stories section, third-party apps, sticker store, or other such nonsense.

After switching to Messenger Lite, make sure you’re not continuously uploading your contact book to Facebook by going to Profile > People > Sync Contacts.

Messenger Lite is optimized to take up less space on your phone and use mobile data more efficiently, so it’s also great for older devices. While you’re still using Facebook’s service, it’s a better way to use Facebook Messenger if and when you have to.

Unfortunately, it’s not available for iOS outside of Turkey. We recommend trying Friendly instead, which is a lightweight wrapper on the mobile Facebook website. It lets you access Messenger without all the usual bloat. It’s free, with a small purchase available to remove ads.

Download: Messenger Lite for Android (Free)
Download: Friendly for iOS (Free, in-app purchase available)

More Facebook Messenger Alternatives to Try

In this article, we’ve looked at several apps like Messenger which focus on privacy. Hopefully, you can abandon Facebook Messenger and convince everyone you chat with to join you on an alternative app. But if that’s not an option, remember that you can use Messenger without Facebook.

However, if you still want to move away from Messenger but don’t like any of these options, here are some more Facebook Messenger alternatives to try.

Read the full article: The 6 Best Facebook Messenger Alternatives for Private Chats

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How to Text From Your Computer: 10 Apps to View and Send Text Messages

Despite the convenience of instant messaging, SMS still plays an important role for automated alerts and messaging people with older phones. If you use SMS often, you might want to check your text messages online so you can respond faster with your computer keyboard.

As it turns out, there are many ways you can view and send text messages from the comfort of your computer. Here are the best apps for checking your SMS messages on a computer. Note that all of these solutions are for Android only, unless otherwise specified.

1. iMessage (iOS, Mac)

imessage stickers

iPhone users only have one real option for viewing texts on a computer. Apple doesn’t allow alternative SMS clients, so you have to use the built-in Messages app. While there are a few downsides to it, the default messaging and SMS app does come with plenty of great features. One of those is cloud sync, which allows you to read or reply to SMS messages using your Mac’s native Messages app.

If you’re already using the Messages app but are unable to view the conversations from a Mac, you’ll have to enable iCloud Sync on your phone. To do that, go into Settings > [Your name] > iCloud and turn on Messages.

Sadly, Windows users with an iPhone don’t have any official option for checking their iOS texts. We’ll look at a workaround option below.

2. Google Voice (Web)

Google Voice

Google Voice users can view their messages through the official web app. You can compose new messages, and it even supports media previews. On the same page, you also have access to your Google Voice phone logs, voicemail, and more.

To use it, all you need to do is head over to the Google Voice website on your computer, sign in with your account, and you’re all set. If you don’t use Google Voice yet, you can get a number for free.

Unlike most other solutions on the list, Google Voice’s web app doesn’t require a constant phone connection, since all your conversations are stored on Google’s servers. Unfortunately, Google Voice is limited to the US for now.

Visit: Google Voice (Free)

3. Android Messages

Google’s default SMS app on stock Android, Android Messages, has a web client as well. It features a Material Design theme and a familiar two-column layout, with support for individual and group conversations.

In addition, you can enable dark mode from its settings. There’s an option for receiving notifications in your browser too.

To get started, open the Android Messages website. Once there, fire up the Messages app on your phone and under the three-dot menu, tap Messages for web. Follow the steps to scan the code and you should be online in a few seconds.

In case you’d like to install Android Messages and don’t have a compatible Android phone, try sideloading the latest APK file.

Download: Android Messages | Android Messages APK (Free)

4. Pushbullet

Apart from letting you quickly share files and mirror notifications from your phone to a PC, Pushbullet also has a dedicated SMS tab. You’ll find all your existing conversations there, and can view or reply with both text and media. It also supports starting new conversations.

If you didn’t enable SMS mirroring during Pushbullet’s setup process, launch the app on your phone. Then, swipe out from the left edge to reveal the navigation drawer and choose SMS. Enable SMS sync and you’ll be asked to grant the necessary permissions. Once that’s over, you should all set.

On your computer, there are multiple ways you can view your messages. You can download the desktop apps or browser extensions, or sign in at the Pushbullet website. Note that you’re limited to 100 messages per month unless you pay for Pushbullet’s Pro plan.

Download: Pushbullet for Android | Desktop (Free, subscription available)

5. Pulse SMS

Pulse is a third-party SMS client that offers lots of advanced features. This includes a wide range of themes to choose from, password protection, message scheduling, previews for web links, a ton of nifty shortcuts, and of course, the ability to get your texts on your computer. The Pulse web app functions a lot like Android Messages and comes with a modern, clean aesthetic.

However, these supplementary features are not free. For syncing your SMS conversations across devices, Pulse charges a monthly fee of $1, or $6 for a year. Alternatively, you can pay a one-time fee of $11 for lifetime access.

Download: Pulse SMS for Android | Web (Free, subscription available)

6. MightyText

If you’re looking for a comprehensive platform to use SMS on your computer, particularly for business purposes, try MightyText. Along with letting you text from your PC, MightyText has several extra utilities like an SMS scheduler, a multi-window mode where you can attend to numerous chats at once, and more.

MightyText can do a lot of what Pushbullet offers, including notification mirroring. Because the free version has a monthly cap for how many SMS messages you can send, you have to purchase the subscription for unlimited access. It’s available as a web app and an extension for nearly all browsers.

Download: MightyText for Android | Desktop (Free, subscription available)

7. AirDroid

airdroid access phone from computer

We’ve looked at AirDroid before, as it’s one of the best ways to access your Android phone from a computer. In addition to checking and sending texts, you can access photos, videos, and music, move files, and much more.

To get started with AirDroid, install the app on your Android device. Once it’s ready, go to web.airdroid.com on your computer and you’ll see a QR code. Tap the Scan icon at the top of the screen on your phone and scan the QR code to connect the two.

From there, just click the Messages icon in AirDroid to start managing your text messages. The free version has some limitations, but it’s fine for basic use. And while AirDroid offers an iOS version, it doesn’t let you access text messages.

Download: AirDroid for Android | AirDroid Web (Free, subscription available)

8. Your Phone (Windows 10)

Microsoft has updated Windows 10 to include a feature called Your Phone. This makes it easy to manage certain aspects of your device right from your computer, including text messages.

To set up Your Phone, first install the app on your Android device. Open it, then you’ll need to sign in with your Microsoft account and give it permissions to manage content. On your computer, go to Settings > Phone. Click Add a phone to open the Your Phone app and walk through the steps of signing in on your PC.

As long as you’re signed in on both devices and have them on the same network, you can use Your Phone to send messages, view photos, and even make calls. Unlike other offerings, it doesn’t have any limitations or a paid subscription. And like AirDroid, Your Phone also works on iOS, but it can’t sync text messages on that platform.

Download: Your Phone Companion for Android | Your Phone for Windows 10 (Free)

9. Email to SMS Extension (Google Chrome)

We’ve looked at all sorts of solutions for accessing your own text messages on your computer. For something a little different, check out a Chrome extension called Send Your Email to SMS.

This extension adds a simple Mobile button when you’re composing a new message in Gmail. Click it, then enter the phone numbers you want to send the email to. This will send the recipient(s) a copy of your email via text message.

It’s useful if you’re contacting someone who rarely checks their email, or if you work in Gmail all day and don’t want to open a separate app to send SMS reminders.

Note that this extension only works for numbers in the US and Canada.

Download: Send Your Email to SMS for Chrome (Free)

10. Screen Mirroring (All)

Screen Mirroring iPhone LonelyScreen

If none of the above work for your needs, you can always try the somewhat-clumsy solution of screen mirroring. This allows you to replicate your phone’s entire display on your computer and interact with it just like you were using it. Of course, this means you can view your texts on your computer by opening your SMS app.

There are many screen mirroring apps available, depending on what platforms you use. Some are free with limitations, while others are paid. To get started, see how to mirror your Android screen to a computer or how to mirror your iPhone or iPad on a Windows PC.

Now You Can Text From Your PC Easily

The majority of the apps we discussed are for Android users, since Apple doesn’t allow third-party SMS clients on iOS. But no matter whether you use SMS all the time or only once in a while, there’s an app here that lets you access your texts on your PC.

If this wasn’t quite what you were looking for, check out some free web services that let you send texts from another number. And see how you can put SMS to better use with these cool services.

Read the full article: How to Text From Your Computer: 10 Apps to View and Send Text Messages

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12 Discord Tips and Tricks All Users Should Know

Discord has become one of the leading chat platforms on the web. What started life as a service for gamers has built an impressive list of features that have helped it grow into other areas. Today, the app is used by everyone from businesses to crypto investors.

Using Discord is simple, but if you know where to look there is more to Discord than meets the eye. With that in mind, here are some Discord tips and tricks that all users should know.

1. Special Discord Integrations

discord integrations

Discord has some built-in integrations with other common apps. You just need to enable the connections to reap the benefits.

In total, nine different apps are supported. They are Twitch, YouTube, Blizzard Entertainment, Steam, Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, and Xbox Live. The features of each integration vary from app-to-app. However, they all provide a way to sync the data from the linked app directly into your Discord server.

To set up Discord integrations from your desktop app, go to User Settings > Connections and click on the apps’ icons.

2. Control Your Discord Notifications

discord notifications

If you are a member of lots of Discord servers, your notifications can quickly spiral out of control. Opening the app to discover thousands of unread messages isn’t helpful; you can’t possibly parse that amount of information.

Thankfully, Discord lets you take a granular level of control over your notifications. You can edit your preferences at the server level, the channel level, and the user level.

To edit your general notification settings (such as unread notification badges and desktop messages), go to User Settings > Notifications. If you want to turn off notifications for an entire server, right-click on the server’s icon and select Server Mute. Finally, if you only want to turn off alerts for a particular channel, right-click on the channel’s name and choose Mute [Channel Name].

3. Use Server Folders in Discord

In July 2019, Discord added support for server folders; it was a feature that users had been requesting for years. By using server folders, you can organize your list of servers on the left-hand side of the screen into more manageable groups. For people who are members of dozens of different groups, the folders make the app much easier to use.

To create a new server folder, drag one server’s icon on top of another server’s icon. And if you right-click on the newly created folder, you can rename it, change its color, and tweak other settings.

4. Use Markdown in Discord

One of the cool Discord tricks that not many people know is the app’s support for markdown. For the uninitiated, Markdown is a lightweight markup language created in 2004. It has many applications, but it is most commonly used to create rich text using a plain text editor. It means you can use markdown to format your messages the way you want.

Here are some of the most common markdown writing tips you should know about:

  • Bold: **[TEXT]**
  • Italics: *[TEXT]* or _[TEXT]_
  • Underscore: __[TEXT]__
  • Strikethrough: ~~Strikethrough~~
  • Code: `[TEXT]`
  • Hyperlink: [Hyperlink!]([URL])
  • Remove embeds: <[URL]>

Use these codes liberally, and you’ll be able to make your messages stand out from the crowd.

5. Set Up Discord Hotkeys

Discord hotkeys—called Keybinds—let you set which keys activate certain in-app actions. You can either set up a single key or a combination of keys.

They are available for the following actions:

  • Activate Overlay Chat
  • Push to Talk (Normal)
  • Push to Talk (Priority)
  • Toggle Mute
  • Toggle Deafen
  • Toggle VAD
  • Toggle Streamer Mode
  • Toggle Overlay
  • Toggle Overlay Lock

To set up keybinds, go to User Settings > Keybinds. Click on Record Keybind to enter your preferred combinations.

6. Use Discord Keyboard Shortcuts

As you’d expect, Discord offers a bunch of keyboard shortcuts. Expert users rely on them a lot; if you’re involved in lots of simultaneous chats, you need to be able to bounce between them quickly.

Some Discord shortcuts that are worth knowing include:

  • Switch servers: Ctrl + Alt + Up/Down
  • Switch channels: Alt + Up/Down
  • Cycle through unread messages: Alt + Shift + Up/Down
  • Mark channel as read: Escape
  • Mark server as read: Shift + Escape
  • Jump to oldest unread message: Shift + Page Up
  • Toggle emoji window: Ctrl + E
  • Toggle deafen: Ctrl + Shift + D
  • Answer a call: Ctrl + Enter
  • Edit your last message: Up

Keyboard shortcuts differ from hotkeys in that you cannot edit or remove them; they are hardcoded into the Discord app.

7. Install Discord Bots

discord bot example

Bots play an increasingly important role in lots of communications apps. You’ll find them in everything from Facebook Messenger to Telegram.

Discord is no different. There are hundreds of community-developed bots available—each of which is designed to fulfill a specific role on the server. For example, GAwesome Bot can be used to conduct polls and giveaways, GameStats lets you rank gaming stats and profiles against your buddies, and there’s even a quiz-themed bot called TriviaBot.

The bots are almost all free to install and use. You will only be able to add new bots to a server if you’re an admin, but you can add as many as you want to your personal rooms.

8. Buy Discord Nitro

discord nitro

If you find that the basic version of Discord is not meeting your needs, you should consider upgrading to the paid pro version, called Discord Nitro.

Discord Nitro introduces some cool additional features. For example, you can set up a custom Discord tag (for the duration of your subscription), share your screen in either 720p (60 FPS) or 1080p (30 FPS), increase the maximum file upload size (from 8MB to 50MB or 100MB), upload your own GIFs, and enjoy support for global custom emojis.

Discord Nitro costs $50/year or $5/month. There’s also a more expensive plan that introduces “server boosts”. The boosts are mostly gimmicks and don’t warrant the price of $10/month or $100/year.

9. Type Discord Chat Commands

Discord offers several in-app chat commands. They are only available on the desktop app and iOS; unfortunately, Android users are out of luck.

Check out some of these popular commands to get started:

  • /nick: Lets you change your server-specific nickname (assuming the permission is turned on). Enter your new nickname after the command.
  • /tenor and /giphy: Allow you to search the web for animated GIFs.
  • /spoiler: Hides your message so other users don’t see your spoilers for TV series and games.
  • /shrug: Gives the common ¯_(?)_/¯ output in the chat window.
  • [emoji]: Typing a before an emoji will enter the Unicode emoji picture rather than the Discord version.
  • s/[text]/[new text]: This command is a simple way to edit typos in your previous message. For example, s/bananna/banana would replace the misspelled word (bananna) with the correct version.

10. Edit Voice Processing Settings

discord voice settings

One of the most underused Discord tricks is to improve your own mic’s audio output by using the app’s powerful voice processing features. Settings you can toggle on/off include Echo Cancelation, Noise Reduction, and Automatic Gain Control. You can also use a beta noise suppression tool for your microphone.

If the person you’re chatting to is struggling to hear you, you should have a fiddle with these settings. They are all enabled by default, however, if you have a decent mic, they could prove to be more of a hindrance than a help.

11. Enable 2FA on Discord

discord 2fa setup

If you’re anything like us, you’ll be a member of dozens of different Discord servers across a wide range of topics. You don’t want someone to gain unauthorized access to all that information—it’s a window on your life, hobbies, and friends that needs to be kept out of the wrong hands.

One of the best ways to ensure the security of your Discord account is to turn on 2FA. When enabled, you’ll need to add an extra numerical code generated by a phone app or dongle every time you log in. You can enable 2FA on Discord by heading to Settings > My Account > Enable Two-Factor Auth.

To learn more about 2FA, check out our article explaining the pros and cons of various 2FA methods.

12. Enable Discord Developer Mode

discord dev mode setup

The Discord Developer Mode is primarily aimed at, well, Discord developers.

However, if you run your own server it’s worth turning on for one reason: you can use the tool to easily grab the unique multi-digit ID of users, individual messages, and servers. You can use them to further customize the Discord experience for your server’s members.

Turn on Developer Mode by going to Settings > Appearance > Advanced > Developer Mode.

More Discord Tips and Tricks Worth Knowing

In this article, we’ve discussed some of the best Discord tips and tricks everyone should use to squeeze more out of the app.

However, these are just the tip of the iceberg. If you want to learn more about using Discord, here’s how to find the best Discord servers and how to set up your own Discord server.

Read the full article: 12 Discord Tips and Tricks All Users Should Know

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How to Recover Deleted or Missing WhatsApp Messages

Do you need to recover deleted or missing WhatsApp messages? It’s certainly possible, and in this article we explain how to do it.

Instead of archiving a WhatsApp chat, you might have accidentally deleted it. What’s the difference? Archived chats are easy to recover from within WhatsApp, whereas recovering deleted messages isn’t so easy. But rest assured that you CAN do it.

In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to recover deleted WhatsApp messages on your iPhone or Android. We’ll then teach you how to set up an advanced WhatsApp backup plan to ensure you never lose any of your WhatsApp messages again.

Understanding WhatsApp Chat Backups

In order to retrieve deleted WhatsApp messages, you need to have enabled Chat Backup in the app’s settings. To reach this, just tap the Settings tab at the bottom on iOS, or open the three-dot menu at the top-right and choose Settings on Android.

From there, head to Chats > Chat backup. Here (under Auto Backup on iOS and Back up to Google Drive on Android), WhatsApp offers several backup frequencies:

  • Daily
  • Weekly
  • Monthly
  • Off

On Android, WhatsApp makes a local backup every night, but this won’t help you if you lose your phone. Which is why cloud backups are vital.

WhatsApp deletes older backup files as you create new ones. The iPhone app only keeps the latest backup file, while the Android version keeps “up to the last seven days’ worth” of backup files. Keep that in mind as you choose the right backup frequency for your needs.

By having daily auto backups, you’ll be able to easily recover messages soon after deleting them. On the other hand, weekly auto backups will allow you to go further back in time to recover deleted WhatsApp messages, at the expense of losing recent chat messages.

For a more advanced backup plan for Android devices, please scroll down to the “Advanced WhatsApp Backup Strategy on Android” section below.

How to Restore Archived WhatsApp Chats

On iPhone, if you archive an old chat, you can reverse the archival by shaking your iPhone and choosing Undo to recover the archived chat.

To unarchive a chat later:

  1. Scroll up in the chat list until Archived Chats appears.
  2. Tap on it, then swipe left on the chat you want to restore.
  3. Hit the Unarchive button that appears.

To unarchive a chat on Android:

  1. Scroll to the bottom of the chat list and tap Archived (X).
  2. Press and hold on the chat you want to recover.
  3. Tap the unarchive icon, which looks like a box with an upward-facing arrow.

How to Retrieve Deleted WhatsApp Messages

Wondering how to get back deleted WhatsApp messages after backing them up? Simply uninstall and reinstall WhatsApp on your device. When you reinstall the app, you will be prompted to restore your message history from the backup file. Tap Restore and you’ll retrieve everything from the latest backup.

This method of recovering deleted WhatsApp messages works on both Android and iOS as long as you have a backup. Keep in mind that it has to be within your selected auto-backup frequency, however. For instance, if you’ve set the app to back up daily, you can recover any deleted chats before the next daily backup occurs.

Recovering Deleted Media on WhatsApp

Hopefully, restoring your backup file allowed you to retrieve any deleted media from your chats. If that didn’t work, however, read our guide to recovering deleted photos from WhatsApp.

On Android, you can simply open a file explorer app and navigate to /WhatsApp/Media. From there, simply sift through the folders until you find the deleted files to want to recover. Check the above guide for additional methods.

How to Recover Older Deleted Chats in WhatsApp

Getting deleted messages back after a new backup has run is slightly more difficult. Your success will depend on your selected auto-backup frequency. Note that this process only works on Android devices, since it lets you access the local backup files.

Before we dive into the process, here’s an overview:

  1. Open a file explorer app on your device.
  2. Navigate to /WhatsApp/Databases.
  3. Rename msgstore.db.crypt12 to msgstore-latest.db.crypt12.
  4. Rename msgstore-YYYY-MM-DD.1.db.crypt12 to msgstore.db.crypt12.
  5. Uninstall WhatsApp.
  6. If Google Drive backups are enabled, open Google Drive, slide out the left menu, tap Backups, and delete the WhatsApp backup file.
  7. Reinstall WhatsApp.
  8. When prompted, restore from the backup file.

How to Recover Older Deleted WhatsApp Chats on Android

As mentioned before, WhatsApp retains several days of chat backup files. One is, of course, the latest chat backup. The others, depending on your auto-backup frequency, could be one day or many days old. In addition to the Google Drive cloud backup, WhatsApp stores these backups on your device’s local storage.

Open your device’s file explorer app (Files by Google is a good option if you don’t have one installed), and navigate to /WhatsApp/Databases. Depending on your device, the WhatsApp folder may appear under /sdcard/, /storage/, or similar.

Within that folder, you’ll find the various chat backup files. The latest one is named msgstore.db.crypt12, while the others look like msgstore-YYYY-MM-DD.1.db.crypt12. As you’d expect, YYYY-MM-DD represents the year, month, and date, respectively.

To retrieve WhatsApp messages deleted sometime between two backups, simply do the following:

  • Rename msgstore.db.crypt12 to msgstore-latest.db.crypt12. This changes the latest backup file, since you’re about to give an older backup its name.
  • Next, rename the msgstore-YYYY-MM-DD.1.db.crypt12 file that you want to restore to msgstore.db.crypt12.

After that, uninstall WhatsApp. If you’ve enabled Google Drive cloud backups, open the Google Drive app, slide out the left menu, and select Backups. You’ll see a WhatsApp backup file with your phone number in it. Tap the three-dot Menu to the right of this and choose Delete backup to erase it.

Doing this prevents WhatsApp from using the backup file from Google Drive instead of the local file you want to restore.

Now, reinstall WhatsApp. During the setup process, you’ll be prompted to restore from the backup file you’ve just edited—it will show as X days old instead of the most recent backup file.

That’s all you have to do in order to retrieve deleted WhatsApp messages from older backups. Once you restore those messages, feel free to start using WhatsApp as normal again.

Export Retrieved Messages and Return to the Latest Backup

If you only walked through the above process to restore a few messages, and don’t want to lose the latest messages, you can export the retrieved chat messages and then restore WhatsApp to the latest backup. You’ll have to run through the entire process again, but it’s not difficult.

To export messages, open the chat containing the messages you want to save. Tap the three-dot Menu button at the top-right, followed by More > Export chat. If the chat has media, you’ll see an option to export Without media or to Include media.

Including media will add all recent images as attachments, which obviously increases the size of the export file. You can export up to 10,000 messages with media, or 40,000 messages without media.

After you make your choice, choose an app on your phone to share the text file (and attachments, if applicable) containing your messages. You can email this to yourself, add it to cloud storage, or similar.

Repeat this for any other chats with messages you want to save. Once that’s done, follow the steps in the above section again. When you come to renaming the backup files, reverse the process:

  • Rename the existing msgstore.db.crypt12 (which contains the messages you retrieved) to msgstore-YYYY-MM-DD.1.db.crypt12, using today’s date.
  • Then rename msgstore-latest.db.crypt12 (the latest backup created when you started) back to msgstore.db.crypt12.

Uninstall WhatsApp, delete your Google Drive backup if needed, reinstall the app and restore from backup, and your latest chats will reappear.

Advanced WhatsApp Backup Strategy on Android

Because you can easily view and edit WhatsApp chat backup files on Android, it’s easy to manipulate them if you like. Renaming them allows you to keep as many backup files as you want.

All you need to do is rename a backup in the msgstore-YYYY-MM-DD.1.db.crypt12 format to something else, such as oct11.db.crypt12. Because this file doesn’t use WhatsApp’s naming convention, it’s now protected from being overwritten by WhatsApp.

Consider creating your own backup file in this way once every month or so. That way, you won’t lose tons of messages if you have to restore one of them. For even more safety, copy your backup files to cloud storage or your computer so that they’re safe in case your phone stops working.

Recover WhatsApp Messages to Preserve Memories

As you can see, it’s fairly easy to recover deleted WhatsApp messages. However, this is only the case if you’ve backed up your messages ahead of time. This is why the advanced backup strategy is worth setting up if you’re an Android user.

Now that you’ve set up a full backup for WhatsApp and know that you won’t lose any messages, it’s a good idea to learn more about how WhatsApp works. Check out our rundown of the best new WhatsApp features you might have missed.

Read the full article: How to Recover Deleted or Missing WhatsApp Messages

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12 Useful Telegram Features You Should Be Using

Whatever your reasons for using Telegram, it’s a solid messaging app. It makes for a great alternative to WhatsApp and SMS messaging, and if you can persuade your friends to join, Telegram is well worth using.

However, if you haven’t moved beyond the basics, you’re missing out on a lot of the best Telegram features. So in the article we details some lesser-known features of Telegram that you may have overlooked until now.

1. Use More Than One Phone Number

Have you ever needed to change your phone number but worried about transferring all of your contacts and other information to the new number? While this can be a lot of work, Telegram does it all for you. You can easily change the phone number attached to your account without losing any of your chats or contacts.

To change the number you use with Telegram, slide out the left menu, open Settings, and tap on your phone number under Account. Then choose Change Number and follow the instructions.

This will move all messages, clients, and media to your new mobile number. Plus, Telegram will automatically add your new number for all your previous contacts.

If you want to add a second number instead of migrating, Telegram also lets you use multiple accounts at once. On the left sidebar, tap your contact info to expand the account switcher and choose Add Account. You can use this to, for example, keep your personal and professional lives separate without having to use another messenger app.

2. Upload Multiple Profile Pictures

Speaking of multiples, Telegram allows you to upload additional profile photos. While the latest photo is the profile picture your contacts will see, they can swipe to see the rest of your pictures.

To upload new profile images, open Settings and tap on the camera icon. You can take a photo, upload an existing one, search the web for a new image, or remove your current photo. Tap your profile picture here to see everything you’ve uploaded.

3. Try Secret Chats

While all Telegram chats are encrypted, default chats are still stored on Telegram’s servers. This conveniently allows you to access your messages on multiple devices, but it might raise security concerns.

For maximum privacy, you can create secret chats that use client-to-client end encryption. These aren’t stored on Telegram’s servers, so you can only access them with your specific phone. If one party deletes a message, it disappears on both devices. And you can specify a self-destruct period for all media if you like.

Simply slide out the left menu to start a new secret chat.

4. Customize the Look of Telegram

In Telegram, you can adjust the default look’s colors and background. If you like, you can even set up your own custom theme to make your Telegram look exactly the way you want it to look.

To adjust the theme, go to Settings > Chat Settings on Android, or Settings > Appearance on iOS. Here you can change the text size, bubble colors, night mode settings, and similar options. Choose Change Chat Background to set a new wallpaper for your groups.

To create your own theme, tap the three-dot (Android) or plus (iOS) button at the top-right and choose Create new theme. Here, you can create your own theme to get the perfect look. For inspiration, you can download a Telegram theme file someone else has created and import that.

To find these, Android users can try the Themes for Telegram app. If you use an iPhone, have a look at the Telegram Themes subreddit.

5. Utilize Telegram Bots

Like many forms of digital communication, Telegram includes chatbots. Bots add useful functions both on their own and into your chats; they can do everything from checking the weather to playing games.

There are thousands of bots available on Telegram. We sorted through them and picked the best Telegram bots you should be using.

6. Enable Auto-Night Mode

Do you enjoy using both light and dark modes? Telegram has an auto-night feature so that the app doesn’t blind you at night. To use it, go back to to Settings > Chat Settings (Android) or Settings > Appearance (iOS). Select Auto-Night Mode to choose how it works.

You’ll have three options to choose from:

  • System Default (Android) or System (iOS): Matches the theme to your operating system’s current mode.
  • Scheduled: Night mode will start when the sun goes down and turn off when the sun rises again. If you like, you can instead set your own times for it to turn off and on.
  • Adaptive (Android) or Automatic (iOS): The mode will automatically switch based on the light level around you; you can define the threshold.

7. Mute Contacts and Groups

If you’re part of many Telegram chats—maybe you read our list of the best Telegram channels and joined a few too many—they can quickly become annoying. When this happens, you can always mute a chat without leaving it. This way, you can check it on your own terms instead of getting a ping for every new message.

On Android, tap the three-dot Menu button in the top-right of any Telegram chat and choose Mute notifications. On iOS, tap the contact or group name at the top of the screen and choose Mute. Then you can choose to mute the chat for an hour, eight hours, two days, or forever.

8. Share Your Live Location

Sharing your location lets others keep an eye on your progress to a destination or look out for your safety. In Telegram, open a chat, tap the paper clip button, and choose Location to share it.

You can choose to share either your current or your live location. Tap Send selected location for a one-time update about where you are. As you can see above, the app lets you manually change this before sending, so don’t trust locations blindly.

Share My Live Location continually updates for the period you specify: 15 minutes, an hour, or eight hours.

9. Connect With a Proxy Server

If you want to use Telegram in a region where it’s blocked, you’ll appreciate the Telegram function that allows you to connect via a proxy server. Most of the time, it’s better to use a VPN on your phone, but a proxy can still help you get around regional restrictions.

To use a proxy server in Telegram, open Settings > Data and Storage > Proxy Settings. Enable Use Proxy and you’ll need to fill in all the required information to add it. You can find server info online if needed.

10. Take Advantage of Chat Tools

Telegram offers a few other handy options in chats. You can delete any message by tapping it, then hitting the Trash icon at the top-right. The app lets you delete messages at any time—even messages that the other person sent in a chat.

Telegram also supports hashtags. If you tap a hashtag, you can search across Telegram for it. And using a hashtag lets all Telegram users find your group by searching for it.

Another great option in groups or channels is being able to pin messages. Tap a message and choose Pin to keep it at the top of the chat, where everyone can easily reference it.

There’s also a hidden menu that appears when you long-press on the Send button. Choose Schedule message to delay sending until a time in the future. You can also tap Send When Online (hidden under the three-dot menu on Android) to send the message when the other person is next active on Telegram.

Finally, if you don’t want to disturb the other person, choose Send without sound to silently deliver the message to the other party.

The cool features aren’t all so serious, though. Check out how to make your own Telegram stickers if emojis aren’t enough.

11. Take Control of Privacy and Security

Because Telegram lets you interact with people even if you aren’t in each other’s contacts, you may wish to make your account more private. To change privacy options, head to Settings > Privacy and Security. Here, you can change who can see your phone number, active status, and more.

Telegram also includes useful security options in this menu. Use Passcode Lock to keep people from reading your chats. You can review all Active Sessions and terminate any logins that you no longer use. And under Advanced, you can change how much time must pass with no activity from you before Telegram will automatically delete your account.

12. Save Messages You Want to Access Anywhere

Next time you want to quickly move a piece of media from one device to another, Telegram has you covered. The Saved Messages chat is your own personal cloud scratchpad for keeping a record of information that you can access on any device where you’re logged into Telegram.

To save a message from elsewhere in Telegram, tap it, choose Forward, and select Saved Messages to add it instantly. You can also paste text, links, images, and anything else you’d like from other sources.

This is incredibly useful for keeping track of an important URL, getting an image to another device without cloud storage, or keeping a record of important information. Tap the title bar at the top to browse by media type.

Use These Telegram Features to Become a Pro!

With these features, you’re ready to become an advanced Telegram user and take full advantage of the app. Telegram is a great all-around messenger, especially when you start using its best features and know everything it’s capable of.

If you’re not convinced yet, find out what Telegram is and why people love it. And if you also use Telegram on your computer, consider using one of the best Telegram desktop clients to gain access to even more features.

Read the full article: 12 Useful Telegram Features You Should Be Using