WhatsApp is borrowing one of the iPhone's best privacy features

WhatsApp screenshots showing unknown caller options
(Image credit: WhatsApp)

The hugely popular instant messaging and calling service WhatsApp has announced a new feature that borrows heavily from the iPhone's own privacy features.

The new feature will allow users to have calls from unknown callers automatically silenced, although they will continue to appear in the list of received calls as well as in the user's notifications.

The new feature is part of a privacy push by WhatsApp that includes the arrival of another new feature, Privacy Checkup, that will give users a new opportunity to fine-tune their privacy settings. A feature to silence unknown callers on your iPhone was added by Apple with iOS 15 and remains an excellent feature. 

Privacy first

WhatsApp announced the new features via a blog post, saying that it will give users more control of their incoming calls.

"Silence Unknown Callers is designed to give you more privacy and control of your incoming calls," WhatsApp says. "It helps to automatically screen out spam, scams, and calls from unknown people for increased protection. These calls will not ring on your phone, but will be visible in your Call list, in case it turns out to be someone important."

The second half of the announcement is a new Privacy Checkup feature, one that will prompt users to take control of their options to better set themselves up to be as private, or as public, as they like.

"This step-by-step feature guides you through important privacy settings to help you choose the right level of protection, all in one place," WhatsApp explains. "Selecting ‘Start checkup’ in your Privacy settings will navigate you through multiple privacy layers that strengthen security of your messages, calls, and personal information."

As Apple clearly believes, the best iPhone is a secure and private one. Few might have expected a Meta-owned company to be helping lead the charge, but it's great to see that WhatsApp is taking people's privacy seriously with these kinds of features.

All of these new features should be live for everyone using WhatsApp on their iPhone.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

  • Annie_M
    This seems curious to me! Am I to understand that Meta is actually “borrowing” an idea from Apple???
  • EdwinG
    Good that they are implementing the “Silence Unknown Callers” feature. However, I’m not convinced that it is a privacy feature.