Corralling WhatsApp away from my Android full contact list
October 24, 2021 3:34 PM   Subscribe

I want to use WhatsApp temporarily for travel. ISO of a workaround to use WhatsApp for phone calls without granting WhatsApp permission to access ALL my phone contacts.

Per EFF (last reviewed 8-12-20)

"WhatsApp will request access to your contacts. If you grant this access, WhatsApp will have a full list of your contacts' phone numbers. If you do not grant this access, you can manually add each of your contacts for chat messages, however you cannot make a new call without granting WhatsApp access to your phone's contacts."

Is there a way of creating a secondary contacts list and pointing WhatsApp at it for voice calls? As well as for chat without manually inputting a contact for each chat message? Any other workarounds for using WhatsApp without exposing my full contacts list to WhatsApp?

(Note: I am not interested in non WhatsApp communication recommendations or in convincing small travel vendors to stop using WhatsApp.)
posted by jointhedance to Technology (5 answers total)
Best answer: Can you install the app in a separate user profile that doesn't contain your contacts?
posted by goingonit at 3:45 PM on October 24, 2021 [5 favorites]

On Android, one can deny access to the contacts list and still call manually added contacts. I just double checked it works. Obviously, that's quite the hassle if you have more than a few contacts you need to use, but you'll run into exactly the same problem with a separate user profile.
posted by wierdo at 10:32 PM on October 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Your contacts lists have a drop down beside the name line asking what account you want them saved in. It says phone, Gmail or whatever other accounts you have in your phone. I think whats app is only allowed to used contacts you've saved to the android or iPhone and not your email or Video calling apps. And they only can use default numbers so when you save contacts save the number as a fax or email and the contacts you feel ok with sharing put them in as default saved to the phone. Be careful some of those third party apps like to phish contacts for marketing and it may not be well received.
posted by The_imp_inimpossible at 1:52 AM on October 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

I use it for a group I'm in, but didn't allow it to access my contacts - I just checked and it definitely doesn't have access... it asks me for access when I try to start a new chat, but I can still deny it. I could still add new people to my WhatsApp contacts by sharing a link instead. You should be fine.
posted by Laura in Canada at 1:04 PM on October 25, 2021

Response by poster: Thanks. I think I will set up a secondary user profile for sketchy apps. Hope I don't need a separate Google Play Store account to download apps to the secondary user profile.

Now, about that *&*(UI@! Google advertising ID . . . .
posted by jointhedance at 7:38 PM on October 29, 2021

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