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When you’re using an app day in and day out, it’s easy to miss out on new features that get added. You get a notification for an update, you update, and you continue using it as you always did. But what did you get in all those updates? With WhatsApp, quite a bit.

The best social network or instant messenger app is the one which all of your friends and family use. WhatsApp has an incredible user base now, and after becoming one of the fastest growing social networks Here Are the Fastest Growing Social Networks You Need to Join Here Are the Fastest Growing Social Networks You Need to Join While Facebook holds the lion's share of the social market, new services like Kik, Snapchat and WhatsApp threaten to break Facebook's stranglehold on the social Internet. Read More , it’s now adding features to make it a solid, robust app.

Whether you know it or not, recent updates have brought some cool new features, from starring messages to backing up your chat logs to Google Drive. Most of these changes are reflected in the new WhatsApp for Android, but they should be available on iPhone soon enough. If you use WhatsApp, you need to know this.

‘Star’ Messages to Find Them Later

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When someone sends an important message on WhatsApp, you can’t save it. Finding it later can be a pain, despite the robust search engine in WhatsApp. One of our workarounds was to use hashtags to mark important messages 3 Secret Ways To Use Hashtags You've Never Tried Before 3 Secret Ways To Use Hashtags You've Never Tried Before The basic purpose of a hashtag, of course, is to find a list of all posts about a certain topic, but why not take it out of the Web services that already integrate it, and... Read More . But now, there’s a cool new tool.

WhatsApp now lets you ‘star’ messages. Long-press any message, choose the Star in the top menu bar, and move on. It’s exactly like a bookmark or a favorite.

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Later, when you want to look up any bookmarked message, go to Menu > Starred Messages and you’ll see them all, listed chronologically.

The starred messages can also be searched, so you can find all the important stuff you marked by some person. You can also ‘unstar’ a message later, so that the Starred Messages can be cleaned up easily.

Back Up Chats to Google Drive

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If you accidentally delete your WhatsApp chat history, you can restore it in a few steps Accidentally Deleted Your WhatsApp Chat History? Here's How To Get It Back Accidentally Deleted Your WhatsApp Chat History? Here's How To Get It Back A simple tap on the wrong option and your WhatsApp chat history is gone. How do you get it back? Read More . But what if you lost your phone, or got a new one, or had to reset your existing storage? While WhatsApp backs up chat history regularly, there’s now an easier (and better) way: Google Drive.

The new version of WhatsApp for Android lets you automatically backup your chat logs to Google Drive. Go to Menu > Settings > Chats and Calls > Chat Backup > Google Drive Settings and set it up. I’d recommend backing up daily (you can choose weekly, monthly, or manual), over Wi-Fi only (thus saving data costs), and including videos.

Remember, you can get 1 TB of Google Drive storage for free Google Is Giving Away 1 TB of Google Drive Storage For Free! Google Is Giving Away 1 TB of Google Drive Storage For Free! Want free cloud storage that's big enough to actually hold a lot of files? Here's how to get a LOT of space on Google Drive. Read More , so as far as WhatsApp backups go, you should be fine even if you upload all of the videos and photos.

Easier Way to Clear Chats

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If you’re already backing up those chats, there’s no reason for you to keep really old messages, is there? It’s time to clear things up, and WhatsApp has made it simpler than ever.

Go to Menu > Settings > Chats and Calls > Chat History > Clear All Chats and you’ll see three options: all messages, messages older than 30 days, or messages older than 6 months. Choose what you want and WhatsApp will do the rest.

You can do this same action with specific chats too, whether with individuals or groups. In any chat, tap Menu > More > Clear Chat and you’ll see the same three options. Simple, eh?

Mark Messages as Read or Unread

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You can now hide your WhatsApp status or when you were last seen 10 Awesome WhatsApp Tricks You Should Know 10 Awesome WhatsApp Tricks You Should Know Want to trick out WhatsApp so it's the best-looking, most amazing chatting tool on your phone? Here's how. Read More , which is great. But for your own personal usage, sometimes, you might want to mark a message as unread.

Think about it in email. The ability to right-click and mark as unread 9 Awesome Gmail Features You Probably Don't Use 9 Awesome Gmail Features You Probably Don't Use Several cool email features in Gmail have existed for a long time without anyone bothering to use them. Let's change that today. Read More is a great way to remind yourself that you haven’t fully registered an email, that you need to reply to it, or that it’s important in some way.

You can now do that in WhatsApp too. Choose a chat with any contact or group, long-press on it, and tap “Mark as Unread”—yup, as simple as that. You can do the opposite too—long-press a chat you haven’t read and you’ll see an option to “Mark as Read”, so it seems like you’ve read the message without ever opening the chat.

Do note that this doesn’t mean change the message’s status for your recipient. The recipient still sees that you have read the message. It only reflects as unread in your own phone.

Mark as read/unread has also made its way to WhatsApp Web on your desktop WhatsApp Web: Everything You Need To Know WhatsApp Web: Everything You Need To Know Along with supporting all mobile platforms, WhatsApp has now launched a web-based client, so you can finally use WhatsApp on your PC and sync with your phone. Read More .

Use Custom Notifications for People and Groups

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Some contacts and chat groups are more important than others, right? Well, then set a different type of notification alert for them. WhatsApp has rolled out custom notifications.

One of the cornerstones of blocking mobile distractions How to Do More in a Day by Blocking Mobile Distractions How to Do More in a Day by Blocking Mobile Distractions When you're trying to concentrate, distractions are a nightmare. It's time to block distractions and get things done with some free apps for Android and iOS. Read More is to allow the right people through and cut off everyone else, and that’s what this feature does. Open any chat, tap the title bar, and you’ll find an option for Custom Notifications.

In it, you can set the notification tone, vibration effect, popup notification, and the color of the LED light for new messages. For Whatsapp voice calls WhatsApp Voice Call: Everything You Need to Know WhatsApp Voice Call: Everything You Need to Know Popular instant messaging app WhatsApp has finally launched a new voice calling service, enabling users to make phone calls over the Internet. Read More , you’ll only get custom ringtones and vibrations.

Link Previews

This is a neat new feature that doesn’t really make you do anything special, but just adds to the overall experience.

When a link is pasted into a WhatsApp chat, you will now see a link preview with an image from the article, the headline, and the base URL—much like what you see on Facebook or Twitter.

If you’re the one sharing a link, you have the option to not include that preview, too.

What WhatsApp Feature Do You Want?

WhatsApp has come a long way from being a simple instant messaging app, but they can always do better. So if you could request the WhatsApp developers to add a new feature, what would it be?

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