How is my profile used in WhatsApp?
There are many ways to customize your WhatsApp profile, and to keep your friends and family updated with what is new with you. When you first download and install WhatsApp, we take you through a process to set your unique profile picture and name. You also have options to customize your status message.
Note: With our privacy settings, you can choose who has access to your profile picture and status. To learn more about this read here: Android | iPhone | BlackBerry | Nokia S40 | Nokia S60 | Windows Phone | BlackBerry 10.
Here is how each profile feature is used in WhatsApp:
The picture you set in your WhatsApp profile will be displayed in the Chats screen, in your individual and group chats and in the Favorites / Select contact (Android) screen, on devices that support it. Even if your friends have different profile pictures 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.
The status message is a real time indicator of what you are doing, so that you can keep up to date with your contacts. You can view status messages by opening WhatsApp and going to the Favorites / Select contact screen. 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 / Select contact list, 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.
The name you put in your WhatsApp profile is used in message notifications your friends receive when you write to them. 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 this name in that chat. However, in your friends' Favorites / Select contact screen they will only see the name they have saved for you in their address books.
WhatsApp Support Team