Its ease of use, end-to-end encryption and cross-platform support have helped WhatsApp rack up a tonne of users, and if you use it on the web, there are a growing number of browser extensions you can install to help you get more out of the platform. All of these add-ons are compatible with both Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge, and you should find at least some of them are useful.
WAToolkit offers two tweaks for WhatsApp on the web. First it enables background notifications, so alerts about your messages come through via your web browser whether or not you have WhatsApp open. Second, it expands the text bubbles to the full width of the chat panel. You can have both or neither features enabled, or just one of them. Click the small WAToolkit icon that appears above the conversation list to find the settings.
Privacy Extension is one of the simpler WhatsApp browser extensions around, but it’s still very useful. Its purpose is to hide various elements of the interface until you hover over them. You can use it to conceal messages, media, the input field, profile pictures, and more using a straightforward toggle switch system, and it’s perfect if you’re using the WhatsApp web application on a device where there might be someone peering over your shoulder.
WA Web Plus
WA Web Plus has a few different WhatsApp tricks that you can play around with. You can blur messages and images, view statuses secretly, hide your typing status, pin conversations to the top of the list, apply custom chat wallpaper, add emoji reactions to messages, and more. Open up the extension panel by clicking on its toolbar icon, make all the changes you feel inclined to, and they’re applied straight away.
WhatsAdd is another collection of tools rather than a single utility. After you install it, you can get faster access to text formatting options, download all the media files in a conversation, and convert typed emojis into actual emojis. Perhaps the most useful feature available in WhatsAdd is the ability to create preset messages (saying you’re late, or you agree, or whatever) that can then be accessed with a click from the text input box.
Zapp is a bit more of a niche WhatsApp web utility, in that it enables you to change the speed and the volume of audio recordings that you’re listening to through the app. It adds a new button to the toolbar, which you can click to view the interface. Volume can be adjusted between zero and 100 per cent, and recordings can be read from 0.5x speed up to 2x speed, which is very helpful if you have a lot of them to get through on WhatsApp.
WAIncognito deals with those pesky read notifications that appear when you’ve looked at other people’s incoming messages. With this extension installed, you can look at chats without anyone being able to tell you’ve looked at them. You’re able to mark messages as read after a certain number of seconds or not at all, and the add-on also blocks the ‘last seen’ updates that WhatsApp sends, as well as enabling you to restore deleted messages.
WheresApp says its mission statement is to be to “make your web WhatsApp work friendly” and that’s a good summary. The main way that it does this is by giving you the option to hide various bits of the interface — you can get rid of the clutter to leave only the current conversation visible, if you want. Anyone who takes a close look at your office computer isn’t going to be fooled, but nevertheless it can help you with some sneaky WhatsApping.
Web Sender is a bit more of a business-focused WhatsApp tool, but there are features in this extension to interest plenty of normal users as well. You can customise a series of quick responses that appear above the text input box, for example. You can also schedule messages to be sent at a certain time in the future, and you can message multiple people at once. It’s not an extension that everyone will need, but plenty of people are going to find it very useful.
Why not check out three secure messaging alternatives to WhatsApp while you’re here?
This article has been updated since it was first published.