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WhatsApp Begins Testing Granular Privacy Controls on Latest iOS Beta Update: Report

WhatsApp beta testers can now exclude contacts from viewing their last seen, about, and profile photo.

WhatsApp Begins Testing Granular Privacy Controls on Latest iOS Beta Update: Report

Photo Credit: Unsplash/ Dima Solomin

WhatsApp also began testing the same privacy controls with beta testers on Android last month

  • WhatsApp currently offers three privacy settings for profile information
  • Users can pick from Everyone, My Contacts, and Nobody
  • WhatsApp is now testing a “My Contacts Except...” setting

WhatsApp is reportedly rolling out new granular privacy controls to certain testers on the latest beta version of the app for iOS, that allows advanced management of privacy settings on the app. First spotted in development last year, the feature is designed to give users granular control over who can see their last seen, about, and profile photo on the messaging service. While some testers can now access these features on the beta versions for iOS and Android, WhatsApp is yet to announce when these privacy settings will be rolled out to all users.

According to a report by WhatsApp features tracker WABetaInfo, the Meta-owned messaging service has started rolling out the granular privacy controls for profile photo, ‘About' description, and ‘Last seen' on WhatsApp. Users who have signed up to receive beta builds via TestFlight can update to WhatsApp beta for iOS might see the features enabled in the app. The new settings appear to be enabled via a server-side switch, as some users may have to wait for 24 hours in order to see the new settings, according to the feature tracker.

whatsapp granular privacy controls wabetainfo inline whatsapp

WhatsApp's new privacy controls for users on the latest iOS beta version
Photo Credit: WABetaInfo

Users who have updated to the latest beta version can visit WhatsApp Settings and select Account, then tap on Privacy. Under each of three sections titled About, Last Seen and Profile Photo, users should be able to see a new option titled My Contacts Except... — which will prevent any selected contacts from viewing their profile photo, last seen, or about profile sections. Previously, WhatsApp would only allow users to choose among Everyone, My Contacts, and Nobody.

Excluding a contact from viewing when you were last seen on WhatsApp will hide their last seen from you, but this is not the case while excluding them from viewing your about or last seen, according to the feature tracker. The same is true for users on the beta version of WhatsApp for Android, who also received the same feature last month with WhatsApp beta for Android that rolled out on March 29. Gadgets 360 was able to confirm that the granular privacy controls were enabled and working on the latest version of WhatsApp beta for Android.

Earlier this week, WhatsApp announced a new Communities feature to help administrators gain better control over groups. With the new feature, multiple groups can be added to a Community, and admins can send a single message to everyone. WhatsApp is also bringing more improvements to the messaging service, including an increased file sharing limit, new reactions, and the ability to make group audio calls with up to 32 people simultaneously, according to the company.

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David Delima
As a writer on technology with Gadgets 360, David Delima is interested in open-source technology, cybersecurity, consumer privacy, and loves to read and write about how the Internet works. David can be contacted via email at DavidD@ndtv.com, on Twitter at @DxDavey, and Mastodon at mstdn.social/@delima. More
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