How to Hide Contacts in WhatsApp

Whether tidying up your favorite messaging platform, organizing your contacts by preference or importance, or simply removing from your sight those people you wish never to talk to again, we’re here to show you how to efficiently and effectively hide contacts in WhatsApp.

You can do this on either the mobile or desktop version of the WhatsApp app, and need only to be signed in to your WhatsApp account.

To learn how to hide contacts in WhatsApp, simply follow the instructions below. For all other information, or if you have further questions, please refer to our FAQ section at the end of this article.

How to archive contacts/chats in WhatsApp (desktop app)

  1. Open WhatsApp on your desktop device, and sign into your account if prompted
  2. From the list of contacts and group chats in the sidebar, locate those chats you wish to hide
  3. Hover your mouse over the first contact/chat you wish to hide, and click on the small downward-pointing arrow to the right of their name

  4. From the drop-down menu, select ‘Archive chat’
  5. Repeat as necessary with all of the chats you wish to hide, archiving them will send them to the Archive folder, where they will be hidden from view

How to archive contacts/chats in WhatsApp (mobile/tablet)

  1. Open WhatsApp on your mobile or tablet device, and sign into your account if necessary
  2. Scroll down through the frontpage list of chats and contacts, until you find the first chat or contact you wish to hide
  3. Tap and hold the contact until their chat is highlighted and a check-mark appears over their profile picture
  4. Now, tap the ‘Archive’ icon at the top of the page (looks like a small box or folder with a downward-pointing arrow on it)
  5. This contact has now been hidden in the Archived folder, and will remain there until you choose to bring them back to the homepage list of WhatsApp chats. Repeat as necessary with all unwanted chats/contacts.

Note: You can archive/hide multiple chats or contacts at once by tapping and holding to highlight the first contact/chat, and then tapping subsequent contacts to also highlight them, before tapping the ‘Archive’ button.

And there you have it! As easy to do on the desktop as it is on mobile, and painless to boot. Tidy up your WhatsApp by hiding old or unwanted contacts in the Archived folder by following our step-by-step tutorials above.

If you’d like some more information on the subject or have any further questions, please see our FAQs below.

Frequently asked questions

Why would I want to hide contacts in WhatsApp?

WhatsApp is one of the world’s premier messaging platforms. Owned by the massively wealthy and influential social media corporation Facebook, WhatsApp comes with many of the same features many of us have grown to love on its sister platforms: ease of use, attractive interface, personalization, multimedia capability.

With WhatsApp, you can chat by text, voice, or video, send GIFS, links, embed YouTube videos and some music, change the background of chats, host and join group chats or talk one-to-one over an end-to-end encrypted line. As such, you may soon find yourself with simply hundreds of contacts on the app.

As with any messaging service (think about your email inbox, overflowing with opened and unopened mail), too many contacts and too many chats can quickly make the whole user experience messy, confusing, and ultimately unenjoyable.

Hiding contacts – or archiving contacts, as it’s known on WhatsApp – is the most efficient means of tidying up your chat list. By hiding those contacts you no longer speak to, speak to only rarely, or no longer wish to speak to, you can pair down your homepage to include only those contacts who you actually commune with on a regular basis.

What happens to the contacts/chats I hide in WhatsApp?

Fear not, hiding contacts in WhatsApp doesn’t get rid of them (though deletion is of course always an option, should you wish it). Instead, hiding – or archiving – contacts and chats simply mean moving them into a different folder; namely, the ‘Archived’ folder. The archive folder is full of historic chats which may still be useful to you for reference, but which otherwise you don’t need to be seeing on a daily basis.

You can still message people or groups hidden in the Archived folder, and they can message you. You’ll still receive notifications when they do (unless you also mute notifications), and be able to access those chats whenever you like. However, since they are hidden, they will no longer show up on the homepage of your WhatsApp app, thus effectively hidden from sight until you choose to see them again.

When I hide a chat are they hidden permanently?

It used to be the case that if you archived/hid a chat or contact on WhatsApp, they would only remain hidden until they next messaged you, at which point they’d show back up on the homepage straightaway. 

Thankfully, however, the developers at WhatsApp clocked on to the fact that this feature kind of defeated the original purpose of being able to hide contacts/chats. Thus, nowadays you have the option to ensure that when you archive a chat or contact, they remain archived (or hidden) until you choose to bring them back to your homepage by unarchiving them. First, though, you have to go to Settings > Chats > Archived chats > Keep chats archived ON.

In simpler terms, yes, the chats you hide are hidden permanently, but only once you activate the setting above.

Will the contact I hide in WhatsApp know I’ve hidden them?

No. Luckily for you, tidying up your homepage will not alert a single person to any changes you make, whether the changes concern them or not. It’s entirely up to you who you do and doesn’t hide, so don’t worry – go archive as many chats in private as you like!

How can I unhide someone on WhatsApp?

Sure! It’s honestly as easy as hiding them in the first place. Just tap and hold the contact/chat in the archived folder whom you wish to unhide, and then tap the ‘Unarchive’ icon: a folder with an upward-pointing arrow on it. Tapping this will immediately move the archived/hidden chat from the back page to the front page of your WhatsApp visible to you immediately as you open the app.