WhatsApp becomes a note taking app, working to allow sending photos in OG quality

Leonard Sengere Avatar
WhatsApp voice note to text pause record

I’m still a bit surprised that WhatsApp won the messaging battle. It wasn’t my pick back then but its simplicity won it favour with the masses and it’s now the default messaging app.

In Zimbabwe it is not only the default messaging app, it’s also pretty much the internet. For many people it is where they get their news, entertainment, socialising and everything else one gets on the net. That’s why any changes/upgrades to the app mean so much here.

When we talk about WhatsApp getting new features that could be useful to Zimbos, some find it hard not to mention that Telegram or some other app had them ages before WhatsApp. That may be but it doesn’t move the needle one way or the other, there isn’t going to be a WhatsApp exodus any time soon.

Message yourself

This feature rolled out a couple of months ago but we didn’t talk about it. You now have the option to message yourself. When you choose to start a new chat you will find the option to message yourself, it’s as simple as that. Narcissist much? It’s not as weird as it sounds.

I have been using this feature more than I would like to admit. Before this feature I still messaged myself but across my two WhatsApp accounts. Why? You ask.

When I find an interesting quote or anything else mildly interesting, I message myself. I do this for stuff like a song lyric that amused me. That’s not good enough to go to my Google Keep but is good enough for a second look . So, in that sense, WhatsApp is my secondary ‘notes app.’

I am privileged to have internet access beyond WhatsApp and so I know my Google Keep notes are synced across my devices. More importantly, they are stored in the cloud for me. Now, using this ‘message yourself’ feature one can get their ‘notes’ stored in the cloud and available on multiple devices all from WhatsApp.

I know I am not the only one who has received messages in the form of ‘ignore this, I’m only saving it to WhatsApp’ from my mother. Now she doesn’t have to do this. That’s especially useful for more sensitive notes she would not want to share with me.

Send uncompressed pictures

Most times I am grateful that WhatsApp vigorously compresses photos sent via the app. That’s because the combination of cameras in our pockets and a ready way to share them has led to all sorts of unnecessary photos hitting unsuspecting inboxes.

That may be but there are times when you want to send high quality, uncompressed pictures. It’s not kind on our WhatsApp bundles but when it’s a photo you want printed out, you have to send that 4.5MB photo.

WhatsApp is working on allowing us to do just that. The feature is being tested in the Android beta app. You will get the option to send photos in their original quality.

No longer will you have to create a PDF of your photo to be able to send it in its original quality. That is the current workaround but I’ve seen it fail to work on some ‘Dubai Samsungs’. So, it should be a godsend for all.

I don’t think we will get the option to send videos in their original quality though. Compressing photos and videos does not just help us make it 7 days with a 65MB bundle, it also helps WhatsApp save on server costs.

It’s not that big of a deal for most. Very few of us ever have occasion to send high resolution videos via WhatsApp.

WhatsApp the superapp?

I think there’s still more that can be added to WhatsApp to make it truly useful as a kind of browser for Zimbos. It’s going to have to be a super app like WeChat in China. The payments features live in India and Brazil would be huge in Zimbabwe.

Granted the move to USD cash has reduced the utility of electronic payments but as we interact with businesses more and more via WhatsApp, being able to pay right from within the app would be massive.

What other features do you think WhatsApp needs to get to be truly useful in Zimbabwe?

Also read:

Get all your ZIMSEC past exam papers, marking schemes, and notes on WhatsApp with Dzidzo paDen | Imfundwe’ndlini

WhatsApp new features, Proxy to go around social media blackouts, and more



  1. Chuck

    Another current workaround is attaching the picture as a document… as in when selecting the document you want to send just select the .jpg file, no conversion to pdf necessary

    1. Pixel Blind

      My poor pixilated eyes! As a graphic designer, I can’t count the number of times I’ve asked clients and designers to do this, but 90% are stubborn and think it’s useless!😭

    2. Leonard Sengere

      I had never tried that. So much easier than fiddling with PDF conversion. Only works on Android though. On iOS once you select ‘attach document’ you won’t be able to choose from jpegs.

  2. Changchu

    Why is it the original WhatsApp takes too long to roll out features that have already been there on WhatsApp mods?

    1. Ups

      Thats becoz those so called whatsapp modes are actually modelled after whatsapp (beta) versions. They just modify whatsapp beta and add a few useless childish, cheaters and porn addicts
      features so they can hide their **** behavior

      1. Tru

        Thier is nothing wrong with being a lil childish noone gets paid to act grownup kkkk

    2. Leonard Sengere

      You may have noticed that in those WhatsApp Mods, many times some features are broken. That’s the price you pay for the relentless feature additions. Also, WhatsApp is used by billions who depend on it for life and death kind of deals sometimes and so WhatsApp cannot mess about with half-baked features.

  3. The Empress

    The payment option would be nice to have in Zimbabwe.

    1. Leonard Sengere

      It really would. That’s the one thing I liked about Sasai, the EcoCash payments from within the app. Do note though that I said ‘the one thing’ and that’s not hyperbolic, it is literally the only thing I wish we had in WhatsApp that’s not there.

  4. an

    though morally its not good, anti-delete feature is a good move

    1. Leonard Sengere

      You mean like disabling the ‘delete message’ option for some chats as and when needed? That would be great actually. The other user can be notified that you want to disable ‘delete’ and if they consent, ‘no take-backs chatting can commence.

  5. nyti

    the option yo download statuses is a must have feature

    1. Leonard Sengere

      Yep, I kinda agree. Statuses were supposed to be the answer to disappearing snaps. You can post stuff that won’t live on there forever but has an expiry date. It allows you to post ‘in the moment’ stuff that would be out of place on your Facebook wall. So, to have people download those moments would not be great.
      That said, in reality we use statuses to share memes and so it should be fine to allow us to download those statuses.

  6. The Empress

    Timed message sending.
    Being able to Set a time for a message to be sent, I think that it would be really helpful when you don’t want to wake someone up at odd hours,but you really need to send message in case you forget to do it later.
    Sort of like what you can do on emails.

    1. Leonard Sengere

      That would be super. I have been messaging myself such messages just so I can remember to send them. Being the night-owl that I am, I have had to do that quite a lot and I have forgotten to send some of those messages. Timed sending would solve that problem for me.

  7. Muranda

    I will try message yourself feature. Before this feature was enabled, I created a group which I become the only member, after deleting someone – so that’s the grp I’ve been using for personal notes

    1. Alou

      I dont remember how but i have been messaging myself since last year i think… I think all i did was save my number and just message it

      1. Leonard Sengere

        Aikazve, it was that simple? Didn’t know that was possible but kudos.

      2. The Empress

        Did the same. In my case I did it like this. Like many people in Zimbabwe I have 2 lines econet nd netone I just opened accounts for each. Samsung allows you to have 2 versions of the same app in one phone so I have 2 WhatsApp running each linked to a different line.

    2. Paula

      This has been me too, since the duta days lol. Must be 2018

    3. Leonard Sengere

      Interesting workaround you had there. In the end, if it works, it works.