How to reply privately to group messages on Whatsapp

Group messages are a staple part of any messaging app. For every group chat thread that you have on Facebook Messenger, or Snapchat, or Whatsapp, you likely have at least one private thread where you’re having an auxiliary conversation that goes with it. To make these private conversations easier to have, Whatsapp has a feature that lets you reply privately to group messages. Here’s how it works.

Reply privately to group messages

Open Whatsapp and go to a group thread. Tap and hold on a message within the thread. A bar will appear listing a few options, one of which is ‘more’. Tap it.

The bar will reveal additional options one of which is Reply Privately. Tap it and you will be able to reply to the person who sent the message in their own, private thread. When you do so, the original message will automatically be appended to the message that you’re sending much like it does when you reply or forward a message on Whatsapp.

It goes without saying that private replies are subject to the person who sent them. You can reply privately to a group message but only to the person who sent the message you’re replying to. If you want to change the recipient, you’re going to have to use the forward feature.

Whatsapp does have copy/paste like any other app so it wasn’t exactly impossible to have a private chat about something said in a group thread. The forward option is a viable one as well but this feature makes it easier to have private conversations. For a lot of people Whatsapp isn’t just a tool for casual conversations with friends and family. The app is so popular that it is often used as an unofficial communication tool in workplaces. Features like this make it more useful especially considering how actual productivity oriented messaging platforms have been falling behind.

Skype is slowly turning into a social platform and even Slack gets annoying if all everyone is doing is sharing reaction GIFs. Both these apps have incredible potential as well as the user base needed to corner work-place communication but they don’t always add the right features.

It’s worth mentioning that this is a somewhat new feature on Whatsapp. It’s available on both iOS and Android and it is possible that something similar may eventually be added to Facebook Messenger since both it and Whatsapp are owned by Facebook.

Read How to reply privately to group messages on Whatsapp by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to automatically stop Netflix on iOS after a certain time

Do you fall asleep watching Netflix on your phone? Unlike its web version, the Netflix apps don’t ask if you’re still watching. As long as the Netflix app is playing on your phone, the screen won’t sleep. If you do fall asleep with the app playing, your phone’s battery will drain to zero. There is a pretty simple way to automatically stop Netflix and sleep your iPhone after a certain amount of time.

Automatically stop Netflix

The trick lies with the Clock app on iOS. It has a built-in timer that, when it runs out, plays a tone to alert you the timer is done. If you scroll down the list of tones that you can set for a timer, you will see an option called ‘Stop playing’.

What this does is, it silently ends the timer and in the process it locks your phone. It doesn’t matter if something is playing on your screen. It can be the Netflix app or a music app, the timer will return you to your home screen and lock your phone when it ends.

To use it for Netflix, guess how long you will be watching it. Open the Clock app and go to the Timer tab. Set the timer to match your Netflix time. Tap the ‘When timer ends’ option, scroll down the list of alert tones and tap ‘Stop Playing’ at the end.

Watch Netflix or any other video streaming app like YouTube. It really doesn’t matter. When the timer runs out, you will return to your home screen and your phone will be locked.

You might wonder why apps like Netflix prevent the screen from going to sleep and that’s because if you’re watching something, anything, you do not want your phone going to sleep in the middle. It’s convenient when you’re watching and inconvenient when you fall asleep and need a way to close the app afterwards.

Apps, based on what they do, have the liberty to prevent the screen from sleeping. While it’s mostly media apps and video players that make use of this, games might also use it. Some games may use it because it is necessary for them while others may use it maliciously e.g., the longer the app remains on your screen, the more ads it can show you within the game.

We mentioned this works for literally any app so if you don’t fall asleep watching Netflix but instead go to sleep listening to white noise, or anything else, you can use the timer to lock your phone after you’ve fallen asleep.

Read How to automatically stop Netflix on iOS after a certain time by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to move the Down button on the Reddit app

Reddit doesn’t seem like an overly complex website to navigate but making its content easy to view on a mobile app is a challenge. The content variety is huge; you get everything from text based posts, videos, images, GIFs, to links. On top of all that there are the comments and the nested comment threads. The official Reddit app for both iOS and Android has a little Down button that helps to make navigation within threads easier but it can get in the way since it floats over the content. What few people might know, and Reddit user u/Neonlad discovered, is that you can move the Down button on the Reddit app. You can literally position it anywhere you want.

 Down button on the Reddit app

The Down button, if you don’t recognize it by this name, is the floating button with two arrows pointing down. To see it, you have to tap on a post and start scrolling through the comments.

Tap and hold on the button and it will grow larger so long as you’re holding it. Drag it to any part of the screen that you want, and then release it. The button will stick to wherever you dropped it.

The Down button on the Reddit app remembers its position after it has been moved. You can move it again whenever you need to. Each time, it will remember the last place it was dropped.

This is useful for both text posts and other post types. For text posts, the button is bound to be covering something up. It’s small so it can’t exactly hide an entire paragraph or even a sentence but if you’re trying to read a thread, it can consistently make for a poorer reading experience. The freedom to move it means you can position it somewhere that makes for better reading.

For other posts, those that aren’t text based, the freedom to move the button means the content is never hidden. Imagine every image on Reddit having an annoying button at the side. Sure, it might be on the side but it would nevertheless obstruct an image.

It’s obvious a lot of thought went into the app’s design and no doubt Reddit listened to feedback from its users while developing and refining it. It does seem that, since the app is complex, the on-boarding leaves a few things for users to discover on their own.

You can move the Down button on the Reddit app for both iOS and Android.

Read How to move the Down button on the Reddit app by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to hide and password protect photos on iOS

Apple consistently makes improvements to its camera app every year. New features are added and the Photos app gets a boost to incorporate them. The improvements never go beyond what’s needed to view photos and perform basic edits. Your camera roll isn’t really sophisticated even though iOS itself is. If you want to hide photos on iOS, you can but anyone who has access to your phone can unhide and view them. Real security would be to password protect photos instead of just putting them in an album literally named ‘Hidden’.

The Photos app doesn’t let you add a password to photos but the Notes app allows you to create password protected notes, and a note can include an image. You can use a password locked note in the Notes app to hide sensitive photos.

Password protect photos

The Notes app saves a decent quality photo but you should use this trick only for important images that you need to keep on your phone but also need to keep hidden. For photos that you need to preserve the quality of, we do not recommend using this method.

Open the Photos app and find the photo you want to hide behind a password. Open it, and tap the share button at the bottom left. From the action sheet, tap Copy.

Next, open the Notes app and tap the new note button. Give the note a title. This is optional of course but in the long run, it will help you identify the contents of the note. After you give the note a title, tap and hold on the note’s body until you see the paste option. Tap the Paste option and the image you copied from the Photos app will be pasted in the note.

Return to the main Notes app interface and swipe left on the note you just created. Tap the padlock button to lock it. You will have to verify the lock with either your passcode, Touch ID, or Face ID. Once you’ve done that, the note will be locked.

If someone has access to your unlocked phone, they will still need to unlock the note with one of the three security options. An unlocked iPhone doesn’t mean all the locked notes in the Notes app are also unlocked.

You should of course back up and delete the original photo from your phone. Encrypt the back-up you take of the photo so that it isn’t easy to access on whichever storage media you save it to.

Read How to hide and password protect photos on iOS by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to block an SMS with a name but no number on iOS

SMS marketing is a real thing but it’s only useful when you opt-in to receive promotional alerts from a company. For spam messages that seem to come out of nowhere and offer you great deals on useless stuff, it’s a nuisance. Most spam messages can be blocked easily with the block feature on iOS. This feature relies on the phone number of the sender to work. Some message simply do not have a number to go with the name. That said, you can still block an SMS with a name but no number. There’s a little trick to it that’s surprisingly simple.

Block SMS with a name but no number

First, try blocking it the traditional way. If the block option simply flickers but the number isn’t blocked, you need to call it. Open the Messages app and go to the spam message thread. Tap its name at the very top and from the little slide out menu that opens, tap the Call/Audio button. This will initiate a call to the number, thus revealing it.

The call won’t go through but regardless, once your iPhone initiates the call, cancel it. Open the Phone app and go to the Recents tab to view your call log. The number for the spam SMS will be listed there. Tap the little ‘i’ button to go to its details page. Scroll down and tap the Block this Caller option. This time, the number will be blocked and you will no longer receive spam from it.

In case you’re using an Android phone and looking for a solution to this same problem, this fix is worth trying. Android also has a call/contact/number blocking feature. If it’s unable to block a sender because their number is hidden, then it’s really only suffering from the same constraint as iOS. Try calling the number. It is highly unlikely that the call will go through however, check in your phone app to see if it can be blocked from the call log.

This sort of advertising i.e., one where you don’t opt-in and the sender can hide their number isn’t just annoying but can also result in you being scammed. There’s no way for a user to identify whether the sender is actually who they claim to be. For users who are likely to believe messages like this with no investigation, they pose an even bigger risk. It’s odd that this sort of advertising isn’t illegal.

In the event that you still get messages from the same sender on iOS, you can use Do not disturb as a last ditch effort to silence the new message alerts for just that sender.

Read How to block an SMS with a name but no number on iOS by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter