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WhatsApp’s new update makes it easier to avoid your friends

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WhatsApp is introducing a way to hide your ‘last seen’ status from specific contacts, as well as the ability to leave a group without notifying other users.

Last December, WhatsApp started hiding users’ online status from strangers by default. While this was a step in the right direction, your entire contact list will still be able to see whether you’re online or not. WhatsApp’s upcoming update should fix that, though, as you can choose which contacts can see your status. So if you don’t want anyone to know you’re ignoring their message, turn on the setting for that user and they’ll (hopefully) never know the difference.

WhatsApp is also launching another handy feature that allows you to quietly leave groups. At this point, the app (very obnoxiously) notifies every user in the group of your departure, which may lead to some group members privately messaging you to ask why you left. The new feature is the digital equivalent of the Irish goodbye – the act of leaving a party without telling anyone – and should help remove the awkwardness associated with leaving a chat.

WhatsApp says it will roll out these two features this month, and is also working on a way to prevent users from taking screenshots of “view once” messages. Unlike disappearing messages, once messages don’t disappear after a certain time limit – they disappear once the recipient sees them, a bit like a photo or video sent through Snapchat. Adding a way to block screenshots can prevent users from storing or sharing sensitive information with others. This feature is still being tested, but WhatsApp says it will be rolled out to users “soon”.

WhatsApp has made several other small, but meaningful updates this year. In addition to rolling out emoji responses and introducing a way to speed up voice messages, the platform also started letting Android users transfer their chat history to iPhone.

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