Store photos, files and notes in WhatsApp on a phone

WhatsApp has added a new feature to the popular phone app and it turns the messenger into a simple note-taking app that can be used to store text, files and photos. Notes in WhatsApp is an unusual addition.

If you think about it, WhatsApp messenger enables you to create messages using the sort of things you might want to store in a notes app on your phone. A notes app can be used to remember text, create a to-do or shopping list, create a reminder, remember a web URL and so on. Some notes apps even let you attach images and files to them, like photos and PDFs.

You can do all of this in WhatsApp messenger. The thing is, you can only use these things in conversations with other people. What if you could create a conversation with yourself? That’s what WhatsApp can now do. You can chat with yourself!

By starting a chat with you, you can send yourself text, images, URLs, photos and even files. Everything appears in the chat conversation and it can be accessed like any other chat session.

The pros of using WhatsApp as a note-taking app:

  • You don’t need a notes app on your phone, just use WhatsApp.
  • Save storage and memory on your phone by not having a notes app.
  • In any app, use the share function and share content to yourself to store it in WhatsApp.

The cons of using WhatsApp as a note-taking app:

  • Everything is stored in one long chat.
  • It can be hard to find things saved a long time ago
  • There is no way to organize notes.
  • There are limited text formatting features.

Android and iOS let you share things and have a share function. WhatsApp is on the Share menu, so by selecting yourself as the person you are sharing to, you save the content to your own conversation in WhatsApp.

It sounds a bit strange, but having a conversation with yourself is actually no different to having one with anyone else, except that you are the only one that can see your notes in WhatsApp.

Chat with yourself in WhatsApp

WhatsApp chats and new chat button: Screenshot
Create a new chat in WhatsApp

Open the WhatsApp app on your phone, it can be an iPhone or an Android phone, but you do need the latest version of the app. Select Chats in the toolbar and then press the green button at the bottom of the screen.

Select yourself when creating a new WhatsApp chat: Screenshot
Talk to yourself in WhatsApp

When it prompts you to select a contact to begin a chat with, select yourself in the list.

A new conversation with yourself in WhatsApp: Screenshot
WhatsApp yourself

A blank conversation screen appears and you can begin typing a message. Press the send button to save it. It does not send it anywhere of course, it just saves it.

Store notes in WhatsApp, include photos and files: Screenshot
Notes in WhatsApp, photos, URLs and files too

All the WhatsApp chat features are available and this means that you can save text, pictures, URLs, files and so on. Select the Share function in apps and select yourself to save text and media. Forward items from chats with other people to yourself too. It is all stored in your chat.

Basically, anything you want to remember can be stored in the WhatsApp chat with yourself. Notes in WhatsApp is a bit of an odd feature and I prefer a normal notes app, but some people might like this feature.

Customize WhatsApp, add wallpaper to chats

Let’s go a bit further and customize the look of this WhatsApp notes chat. Custom wallpaper can be added as a background to a conversation in WhatsApp and this can make it more visually interesting. You can set it apart from other chats and personalize it.

1: WhatsApp chat menu

WhatsApp chat menu on an Android phone: Screenshot
Chat menu in WhatsApp

Open any chat conversation in WhatsApp. On an Android phone, press the three dots in the top right corrner to open a menu and then press Wallpaper.

On the iPhone, press the chat title at the top of the chat screen. On the next screen that appears, press Walllpaper & Sound. From here on, the iPhone is very similar to Android phone.

2: Change the wallpaper

WhatsApp chat customization preview: Screenshot
WhatsApp chat wallpaper options

A preview of the current chat screen is displayed. I am using the the dark theme on my phone, which is why everything is mostly black. Press the Change link below the chat preview.

3: Choose a wallpaper category

WhatsApp wallpaper categories for chat background: Screenshot
Wallpaper categories in WhatsApp

This screen is not the wallpaper selection screen, it shows the categories of wallaper, Bright, Dark, Solid Colors, and My Photos, which enables you to select any photo you have taken on your phone. Choose what you want. I will choose Bright.

4: Pick a WhatsApp wallpaper

WhatsApp chat wallpapers: Screenshot
Chat wallpapers in WhatsApp

After selecting a category of wallpaper, a collection of thumbnail images is displayed. There are more than are show in the screenshot above, so swipe up to see them all. Tap the one you want to use for this particular chat.

5: Set the wallpaper

WhatsApp chat wallpaper
Preview of WhatsApp wallpaper

A preview of the the wallpaper is displayed with some example messages so you can see what it will look like. If you are happy with this wallpaper image, press the Set wallpaper button at the bottom. If you don’t like it, press the back arrow at the top.

6: Set the scope

WhatsApp wallpaper options: Screenshot
Wallpaper settings

Next you are asked if you want to use this wallpaper image only for this chat or for all chats. It is up to you, but if you want different chats with different people to have different backgrounds, select the For this chat option.

7: Chat wallpapered

WhatsApp chat with wallpaper
WhatsApp chat background wallpaper

You are returned to the chat screen and the new wallpaper is active. It looks great compared to the plain background that it originally had. Open other WhatsApp chats and customize those with different wallpapers. You don’t need to change them all, but you may want to customize special chats, like family, yourself, and so on.

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