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WhatsApp trick lets you read long messages without revealing yourself

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

A WhatsApp trick has become hugely popular after helping to avoid one of the most awkward things about the app.

WhatsApp – like many messaging platforms – tells people when a message has been opened and read. While that feature can be turned off, doing so comes with a host of disadvantages.

As such, it can be difficult to know what is going to be in a message before you actually open it. At that point, the “ticks” on the message will turn blue and the person you are chatting to will know you have opened it.

Some messages can be read from their notification, so that it is possible to know what it is in the message without opening the app and triggering those read receipts. However, if a message is too long, it will not fit in the notification, meaning that there is no way to see what is in it.

Unless, that is, you use a newly popular trick in the app that will let you see more of those messages without opening up the chat.

The trick is not new, but has rocketed around the internet in recent days, as people have delighted in a way of avoiding the awkwardness of opening conversations that they don’t want to respond to.

It requires you to add the WhatsApp widget to your home screen, which will then show those messages without actually opening the app. To do that, long press on the screen, select “widgets” from the menu, and choose the “4 x 1” WhatsApp widget.

When that is dropped onto the home screen, it will show a list of recent messages – including more text from those that you might not want to open up. Seeing them in there does not register as being “read” within the app, avoiding those potentially awkward blue ticks.

The trick only works on Android, and is not available on the iPhone. While iOS does allow apps to make widgets in a similar way, WhatsApp does not offer one.

It is possible to see more of a message than is in the notification preview on iOS, however. Long pressing on a notification will open it up in a “peek” view, which can show more of the text, as well as images.

And on both Android and iOS, it is of course possible to turn off those read receipts, so that the blue ticks won’t show at all. Click into the menus and choose the “privacy” option, where they can be turned off.

That does not work in group chats or voice notes, however. And turning off those blue ticks means you won’t be able to see anyone else’s, either.