The WhatsApp app for iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, Mac, and PC is a popular messaging service that lets you send secure, encrypted messages, make calls and video chat with other WhatsApp users. This is what you need to know about the WhatsApp app, a WhatsApp feature you need to turn on, WhatsApp problems and things every user should try.
In March 2017 WhatsApp became the center of a fierce debate over encrypted messaging after it came to light that a terrorist in London sent a message using the app right before his attack.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd called this encryption “unacceptable” and went on to say, “that organisations like WhatsApp — and there are plenty of others like that — don’t provide a secret place for terrorists to communicate.” during an interview on the Andre Marr Show Sunday.
While there are situations where a good number of people would argue that end to end encryption isn’t the right thing for everyone to access, opening up encryption doesn’t simply open up one set of messages. ZDNet shares a closer look at the broader issue of encryption and end to end ecrypted messaging apps
The WhatsApp app isn’t new. It’s one of the most popular messaging apps out there, but it is new to many users. Parents may see this on their kid’s phone and wonder what WhatsApp is. We’ll share more about this secure messaging app that allows you to communicate with friends.
If you get an invite to WhatsApp, or you are looking for an iMessage alternative and text alternative that works across almost any device this may be the app you are looking for.
What is WhatsApp?
WhatsApp is a messaging app that is part of Facebook. The app is not Facebook Messenger or connected to it. You can use WhatsApp to handle all of your communication methods including;
- Group Chat
- Voice Calls
- Video Calls
- Photo and Video Messages
- Voice Messages
- Document Sharing
Unlike some solutions that only let you use these features with people who have the same phone or who are on the same carrier, you can use these across most phones and even to your desktop or laptop.
What makes the WhatsApp app special? One of the biggest features is end-to-end encryption. This means that the messages and calls are secure between you and the person you send them to. No one, including WhatsApp, can read or hear them.
Is WhatsApp Free?
Is WhatsApp free, or do I need to buy credits and a subscription? At one point there was a $1 WhatsApp fee to download the app, and more recently there was a $1 WhatsApp subscription.
You no longer need to pay to use WhatsApp. The app is free to download and free to use. The only thing you need to pay for is your data, which is getting a little easier thanks to new unlimited plan options.
There are no in-app purchases to unlock credits or to buy features. The app is free to use across all the supported devices.
How Much Data Does WhatsApp Use?
When you are not connected to WiFi the WhatsApp app uses your phone’s cellular connection to send messages, make calls and video chat. This will all use your data to some degree. If you are on a limited plan, or if you are traveling abroad, it is important to know how much Data WhatsApp uses.
In a test call, Android Authority discovered WhatsApp used 740Kb per minute, which is 44Mb per hour. If you speak for an hour on WhatsApp, you will use roughly that amount.
A WhatsApp video call uses 12.3 to 12.74MB of data in four minutes. Expect to use roughly 3MB per minute of video calling.
A text message will use less data and is practically negligible. Photo messages will vary based on the size of the photo you are sending.
You can check your WhatsApp data usage in Settings -> Data and Storage Usage -> Network Usage. You will need to reset this to see your usage over a shorter period.
How to Use Less WhatsApp Data
There are some settings you can adjust to use less WhatsApp data. Go to Settings -> Data and Storage Usage to get started.
Choose when you want to auto download media. You want most of these to be on Wi-Fi. You can still choose to download on cellular with these settings, but you will need to choose to do it.
Further down the page is a Low Data Usage toggle. Turn this on to use less data during a WhatsApp call.
Is WhatsApp Safe For Kids?
Parents may know to look at Snapchat as an app that requires a discussion on proper use. WhatsApp isn’t an app that should be a major concern to parents, but it is another way to connect outside of the built-in phone apps.
You can use this app to make calls, video chat, send photos and documents on your iPhone, Android, Mac or PC. Parents should talk about responsible messaging, just like on texts or other video call services.
Other than using data, there is no way that WhatsApp will dramatically increase your cell phone bill, and there are no surprises for your linked credit card on iTunes or Google Play.
WhatsApp Problems & Fixes
Common WhatsApp problems include issues connecting, duplicate contacts, voice call problems and more. Here is how to fix common WhatsApp problems.
How to Fix Can’t Install WhatsApp
if you can’t install WhatsApp, you should start by making sure your Android phone is on Android 2.3.3 or above. On the iPhone, you need to be on iOS 7 or above to use the app. If you don’t meet these requirements you are out of luck.
If you are on a compatible version and you can’t install WhatsApp, try restarting your phone or using an alternate connection to iTunes or Google Play.
How to Fix WhatsApp Connection Errors (Is WhatsApp Down?)
If you can’t connect to WhatsApp, it might be your WiFi or cellular connection or it could be that WhatsApp is down.
Try turning Airplane mode on and then off to see if you can connect to WhatsApp. If that fixes the issue it was likely a local problem or a hiccup with the network. You can also try disconnecting from WiFi to use cellular in case there is a WiFi problem.
It’s also worth checking to see if WhatsApp is down. DownDetector offers a map that will help you see if WhatsApp is down.
How to Fix WhatsApp Call Problems
If you can’t make calls on WhatsApp, it may be your connection. You will need a decent internet connection for this to work. If your WiFi signal is weak or you don’t have a 3G, 4G or 4G LTE connection you may run into issues. The caller on the other end also needs a good connection. Try switching WiFi off and on, or Airplane mode off and on and then attempt your call again.
How to Backup WhatsApp
You can backup WhatsApp to Google Drive, which will allow you to perform a WhatsApp data recovery if your phone is broken, lost or stolen. You need to set this up before something goes wrong.
This only includes your WhatsApp chats, however, it does include media sent in chat. Keep in mind that your backup is not protected by WhatsApp encryption.
Here’s more on how to start your WhatsApp backup and how to restore from that backup.