WhatsApp is currently the go-to app for billions of people when they have to chat with someone or share stories. But several people are choosing to stay off it, largely because of the unfettered access Facebook has to their data. While the WhatsApp chats are end-to-end encrypted, Facebook may work around this technology to allow the chat data to serve as fodder for the advertisements in the app that the company is set to introduce sometime next year.
As such, you are left with two options – continuing to chat with contacts the way you have been doing all these years or simply delete the account (and the app). If you belong to the second category of users, WhatsApp deletion isn’t as painful as it may seem to many. Instead, staying on WhatsApp could prove to be what you may regret later, especially at the point in time when the parent company has been reported to have shared users’ data with companies such as Netflix, Microsoft, Amazon, Spotify, Sony and others.
The biggest fear among people behind quitting the app is to not be able to stay in touch with friends, relatives, and family. Fret not, as we will guide you on how you can cease your stint with WhatsApp without having to lose access your to the updates from your closed ones.
Right off the bat, let us first go through the steps you need to follow to get rid of your WhatsApp account:
Step 1 – Open WhatsApp and tap on the three-dot menu on the top right corner on Android. On iOS, just tap on the Settings tab located at the extreme right hand on the bottom.
Step 2 – Now, tap on Account, followed by a tap on Delete my account. Now, WhatsApp will ask (read convince) you to ‘change your number instead’, which you don’t have to pay attention to unless you have second thoughts on quitting WhatsApp.
Step 3 – Enter your mobile number registered on WhatsApp and tap on Delete My Account written inside a red button.
There, you did it. Was it painful? Did it hurt? No, right? Remember, deleting your WhatsApp account removes you from all the groups, erases message history, and chat backup on Google Drive. So, if you, in case, want to retain a copy of all your chats, simply email chats to your email address.
Now, let us move to the part that you have been searching for. How to still stay in touch with your friends and relatives, particularly when almost everyone is on WhatsApp? To answer this question, you will have to first understand that some people aren’t really concerned about how impactful data sharing is to their privacy. For such people leaving WhatsApp doesn’t seem like a retort. So, you may need to make peace with the fact that you cannot catch up with your friends.
There are two apps that have been highly acclaimed for their encryption technology and how its users feel their data is safe with the companies owning the apps. The apps in question are Telegram and Signal – both the apps recently rose to rank in the chart for chat apps on Google Play store and App Store.
Telegram has a similar UI to WhatsApp wherein you can chat with individual contacts, create a group chat, or even broadcast the message to a list of contacts. It has had the stickers even before WhatsApp made it mainstream.
Signal, on the other hand, is another encrypted app that offers similar features – one-to-one chats, group chats, video calls, audio calls, and more. It offers end-to-end encryption for the chats, which means whatever you talk over with your friends cannot be intercepted by anyone including the company itself. Both Telegram and Signal are free to use and offer no advertisements at the time of writing.
Other alternatives include the old-school sending SMSes from your phone. Presently, we are living in a time where the mobile tariffs are bundled with free SMSes up to 100 per day. This seems like an adequate amount of SMS quota for someone who is not glued to WhatsApp all the time. However, it may not be a full-time replacement for your ‘one-word’ chats – there are people who are oddly fond of sending individual words broken off from a sentence. For them, there is perhaps another alternative.
Smartphones from companies such as Apple, Xiaomi, Samsung, Vivo, and Oppo offer their own messaging service that is free of charge, but there is a catch. You can send unlimited free texts via your cellular connection only to the people who own a smartphone from the same company as yours. For example, iMessage works only on Apple devices, which makes it really limited to just a few people, especially in India where the budget category is far more inundated with smartphones than its extreme opposite premium segment.