So you want to delete WhatsApp? This is what you need to do first

Remember to save your old messages before deleting WhatsApp. — AP

WhatsApp collects information about how you use your phone and where you are, allowing the messenger and its parent company Facebook to create a picture of you for advertisers.

But nobody one has to tolerate this. There are plenty of easy messenger alternatives widely in use, and switching is easy. Anyone who wants to turn their back on WhatsApp just needs a strategy. And that sounds more difficult than it is.

It can be done in just two or three steps: find a messenger alternative, back up WhatsApp chats if necessary, then delete your account. Off you go.

Find your alternative: Are there messenger apps that can match WhatsApp in terms of functionality, but don't collect chat metadata or at least maintain a privacy-oriented approach to it?

Yes, there are. Signal and Wire are among the most widely recommended in security circles, and both are open source, securely end-to-end encrypted and available as Android, iOS and desktop applications.

If in doubt, you can try out a few new messengers at the same time. Before taking the plunge, you should probably check if many of your contacts are already on your new messenger platform.

Save your old messages: If you're ditching WhatsApp, you may want to keep your old messages and media (photos, videos and voice messages).

No problem. Open the individual or group chat you want to save, tap the three-dot menu at the top right (Android) or Settings (iOS), select "More/Chat export" and specify in the next window that the media should also be saved.

Then you choose whether the text document with the chat history and media files should be stored on the device or in your cloud. Since, according to WhatsApp, a maximum of the 10,000 most recent messages can be saved in this way, you should repeat the whole procedure for the respective chat and specify that no media should be saved. This way you get a second text document with up to 40,000 messages.

Delete your account: Taking this third step before the second is dangerous. If the WhatsApp account is deleted, all chats and backups are also deleted - irretrievably.

So you've backed up everything that should be backed up? Good. To leave WhatsApp, tap on the three-dot menu or settings at the top right and select "Account/Delete my account".

Next, enter your mobile phone number in international format (with the +00 country code and without the first zero of the area code) in the corresponding field. With a final tap on the red "Delete my account" button, the job is done and the app can then be removed from your smartphone. – dpa

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