This past week may have left you stressed over the fact that Whatsapp will now be getting access to a lot more personal data that you could fathom, but you may be wrong. As far as permissions to tap into your data are concerned, you’ve already done so in 2016, and there are many ways you can actually boost your privacy settings, rather than switching to other messaging apps which might not be a very convenient option.
Furthermore, the data that Whatsapp collects include your phone model, software information, battery status, signal strength, time zone, IP address, usage, payment and transactions, status updates, group details, profile pictures, and your ‘About’ information.
If you still feel you’d like to go a step further in protecting your data, these are a few tips you could use!
Turn On Two-Factor Authentication
Using two-factor authentication is even more important on accounts that hold your sensitive personal information, such as photos and messages. The security method involves adding an extra step to the process when you log in to an account. In most cases, this involves using a security code generated by an app, a code sent via SMS or a physical security key. Entering a security code every time this happens would be impractical and frustrating. So instead, WhatsApp’s two-factor authentication, which can be turned on through the settings menu and then by tapping on account, uses a PIN.
The PIN will also be required anytime there is an attempt to add your number to a new phone or device. When you’re setting the PIN there’s also the option to add an email address that can be used to reset the code if you forget it.
Turn Off Cloud Backup
WhatsApp allows you to back up your chats and data as a handy way to move all your information to a new phone. These backups work by storing your data in Google Drive or Apple’s iCloud, depending on which operating system you use. The backups of your messages aren’t properly encrypted. That means if they’re accessed by someone else, the messages can easily be read. The process sort of defeats the point of the initial end-to-end encryption, which is why it’s a good idea to turn off cloud back-ups.
Strengthen Your In-App Privacy Settings
There are a few steps you can take to limit the ways people can interact with your account. These are all found through the settings menu, followed by tapping on Account and Privacy. At the most simple, you can turn off read receipts. More effective are the steps that stop people from adding you to groups. Under the Groups setting there is the option to limit who can add you to a group. By default, this is set as “everyone.” However, it can be changed to all of your contacts, or all of your contacts except some people who you block from doing so. Deciding to limit who can add you to groups doesn’t mean that you can’t join groups when people aren’t in your contacts. Instead, people wanting to add you to groups can request to do so via a separate message.
You can also turn off who can see your profile photo, the About section, WhatsApp status, and the time when you last looked at the app. When in the privacy settings you should also check whether you are sharing your live location with anyone.