There are many ways to customize your WhatsApp profile. When you first download and install WhatsApp, we take you through a process to set your unique profile photo and name. You also have options to customize your status message.
Note: With our privacy settings, you can choose who can see your profile photo and status. Learn more about privacy settings on: Android | iPhone | Windows Phone | Nokia S40 | BlackBerry | Nokia S60 | BlackBerry 10
Here is how each profile feature is used in WhatsApp:
The photo you set in your WhatsApp profile will be displayed in the Chats screen, in your individual and group chats and in the Favorites list (Contacts tab on Android), on devices that support it. Even if your friends have different profile photos of you saved elsewhere on their phones, they will only see your personally selected WhatsApp profile photo. If you choose not to set a profile photo, then your friends will see the photo they have saved for you in their address books, or a generic placeholder photo (on iPhone, if no profile photo is set, only a generic placeholder will be shown).
The status is a real time indicator of what you are doing. You can view status messages by opening WhatsApp and going to the Favorites list (Contacts tab on Android). Your friend's status message will be displayed directly below their name.
It may take some time for your newly updated status message to display on your friends' phones. If your friends refresh their Favorites list (Contacts tab on Android), they will see the status update much more quickly.
Note: Your status message is different than your 'online' and 'last seen'. To learn more about these, read this article.
On all platforms, the name your friend has saved in their address book will be used in message notifications.
If someone does not have your information saved in their address book and you both participate in a group chat together, that person will see the name you put in your WhatsApp profile in that chat. However, in your friends' Favorites list (Contacts tab on Android), they will only see the name they have saved for you in their address books.
WhatsApp Support Team