Launched in 2009, WhatsApp is a free cross-platform messaging app that allows users to make video and voice calls, send text messages, share their status, and more with just a Wi-Fi connection. Part of what makes this app attractive is that it works on various phone and computer operating systems, so you can continue your conversation anytime, anywhere. You can also take advantage of Wi-Fi and mobile data to make individual or group calls, reducing the need for expensive calling fees. If this sounds exciting so far, read on to find out everything you need to know about WhatsApp.
Free international calls
WhatsApp uses your phone’s cellular or Wi-Fi connection to make messaging and voice calls easy for just about anyone on the planet, alone or in a group, and is especially nice for families and small collaborative workgroups. The app allows you to make calls, send and receive messages, and share documents, photos, and videos. WhatsApp is completely free, with no fees or subscriptions, because it uses your phone’s 5G, 4G, 3G, 2G, EDGE, or Wi-Fi connection instead of your cellular plan’s voice minutes or text plan. If you’re connected via Wi-Fi, it won’t use up your data plan either.
Easy chat and calls on most platforms
WhatsApp is platform-independent. You don’t need to have the same phone brand as the callee or be on a specific platform: the app works with iPhone and Android phones and Mac or Windows desktops or laptops, which you can use to send and receive messages, but not make calls. Like any other SMS messenger, you can start a conversation with an individual or a group and video chat with up to eight people.
The iOS version also has in-app support for playing Instagram videos and Facebook. You can also share your location, broadcast your status to your contacts, share contacts, set custom wallpapers and notification alerts, send a chat history via email, use the camera to take photos and videos from within the app, and broadcast messages simultaneously to multiple contacts. You’re always connected so you never miss messages, but even if you miss notifications while your phone is off, the app saves recent messages for when you open the app again.
Like iMessage for iPhone, WhatsApp has a simple interface that displays your chats in text bubbles complete with a timestamp and notifies you when your text has been viewed by your recipient.
WhatsApp can identify people in your contact list who are currently using the app, so you don’t normally have to add them manually. You can also invite people who don’t have WhatsApp or connect with other users you know but aren’t in your contact list. WhatsApp allows you to create work groups, friends or family to communicate with up to 256 participants.
The app also allows you to change your background and send your GPS location to the group via an interactive map. Also, you can write a status message or upload a photo to your status that will last up to 24 hours. It’s also quite customizable as you can block contacts from within the app or send a friend’s information to another user within the app.
The app has a search feature that allows you to search by keyword, group, contact name, or phone number. You can also search for keywords in a conversation. WhatsApp is interoperable with Google so you can save a copy of your message history to Google Drive or, if you’re not on Google, to your phone’s memory. If you miss critical messages, you can re-download and reinstall the app to find your lost messages.
WhatsApp has a number of advanced security features. It has end-to-end encryption, just like Apple’s iMessage and Signal. All messages that flow through the platform are protected so that only the sender and recipient can see them. This means that WhatsApp would not be able to read your message even if it wanted to. The app does not store your personal information and only people you approve as contacts can send you messages. As with a growing number of internet services like Google and Facebook, WhatsApp uses two-factor authentication, which allows you to enter a second passcode sent to your phone via text message to access your bill. Group messages may conflict with some privacy settings, however,
Global reach vs. competition
WhatsApp says it serves more than 2 billion people in more than 180 countries, with more than a billion daily active users. WhatsApp Messenger is now the leading mobile messaging app in 169 countries, though perhaps surprisingly, it wasn’t nearly as popular in the US, where Messenger was used more often. This seems to be changing now, as recent data shows that WhatsApp topped the list of the most popular global mobile messaging apps in 2021. Currently, more than 100 billion messages are sent every day on WhatsApp, making it the most active messaging application in the world. .
WhatsApp generally takes a broad approach to reach as many people around the world as possible. The app continues to dominate in India, Germany, Russia, and the UK. However, despite its impressive statistics, WhatsApp is not the only game available. Competitors to the app include Signal, Telegram, Facebook Messenger, Skype, and even Twitter direct messages.
WhatsApp Mobile Updates
WhatsApp instituted new privacy settings in 2020 that gave users more control over group messages, particularly when it comes to who can add you to groups. Admins can send you a private invitation through Settings > Account > Privacy > Groups. The app also added more privacy options for the status feature. Now, there are three options available: Everyone, My Contacts, and My Contacts Except. My contacts are restricted to the people you have in your address book, and My contacts except gives you even more control over which contacts can see your status. You can add or remove users from this My Contacts list except for each status you update, giving you more privacy and control over the information you share in the app.
Also, new call waiting features now allow you to choose to accept an incoming WhatsApp call while you are on another call.
WhatsApp Web is a desktop version of the mobile app that works within standard Mac or Windows browsers (except Internet Explorer). But unfortunately, it doesn’t offer all the services available on the mobile app. Everything you do on the web will sync and appear on the iPhone or Android app so all your chats are in sync, and the web version now lets you make video calls too. An enterprise version allows businesses to access WhatsApp to interact with customers.
Disadvantages of WhatsApp
WhatsApp is a very useful service for people all over the world. We found that one of the only issues users of the app face is that they can’t communicate with friends and family who haven’t downloaded the app yet. WhatsApp only allows users with an account to chat with others within the platform. To fully benefit from the plethora of positives this app has to offer, you’ll need to convince the people in your life to join the WhatsApp circle. Once you’ve convinced everyone to join, you’ll see that there are very few issues with the app.
It can be difficult to convince others to join, especially if they already prefer to message through other apps or platforms. If that’s the case, you may need to win them over with some of WhatsApp’s other promising features, like its “stories” and universal messaging. Unfortunately, the app doesn’t have any of the face or photo filters that are popular in competing apps; that could be inconvenient for users who like conventional messaging services.
WhatsApp also does not have a designated virtual assistant. The app also restricts users to a maximum file limit while messaging: You can’t send files, photos, or videos larger than 100MB and 16MB, respectively. Fortunately, you can call other users for free, but if you don’t have Wi-Fi, you can suck up data quickly. To prevent those data charges from piling up, try using WhatsApp only while connected to Wi-Fi. Finally, WhatsApp cannot call 911 or any other emergency services. You will need a real cell phone plan for those emergency services.
Major WhatsApp updates
Certain WhatsApp features were finally introduced in other parts of the world in 2021. For example, flash calls became available in India. These calls allow users to verify their phone numbers through an automated call, rather than using the SMS feature while setting up or reinstalling WhatsApp. WhatsApp made these changes because they believe that it is a much safer option since all the actions are carried out from the app itself.
Meanwhile, multi-device support for WhatsApp has also been introduced. Basically, it allows the use of WhatsApp on up to four linked devices without linking them to a smartphone. Calls and personal messages will be linked across devices, and messages can be sent using the WhatsApp desktop app or the web-based app. The disappearing messages feature has also been updated. The duration of disappearing messages now comes in three options: 24 hours, seven days, and 90 days. Users can activate this feature for individual and group chats on WhatsApp. They simply need to activate the relevant chat, tap on the chat information, and then select Disappearing Messages. After these actions, they can activate the function and choose the necessary duration. However, the new feature is optional and does not delete any existing chat.
On August 16, 2021, WhatsApp released a feature that allows users to migrate their chat history. Just a day later, the company introduced another welcome change across all of its platforms. They started testing a large feature that allows users to preview a video or page without clicking the link. For example, when a friend sends us a video link, we can simply click the and the video appears in the same section WhatsApp chat instead of taking users to another window. What’s more, In November, the Meta-owned company also introduced a photo editing option for WhatsApp desktop. The option is also available for WhatsApp Web. Users can add text and stickers or crop and rotate their photos from any WhatsApp screen. Sticker suggestions now also appear in the chat, just like emoji suggestions. Encourage users to be more creative in their interactions.Major redesigns were also introduced to two other aspects of the chat feature: voice memos and chat bubbles. The Meta-owned company was working on a feature that allowed users to see their voice waveforms in chat bubbles. Also, in October 2021, they released an updated version for beta users on the iOS platform that allowed users to see redesigned chat bubbles. Users could see rounder and larger chat bubbles compared to the previous version. Also, one can preview their WhatsApp voice recordings. Previously, users could only cancel the recording without any option to preview. This change is quite useful,
In addition to these changes, WhatsApp also increased the user limit for video calls and voice calls from four to eight. These calls would be end-to-end encrypted. The platform is expected to feature several major updates in 2022, including the introduction of Instagram Reels, as well as a Read Later option that could replace the Archived Chats feature. More details will be shared once these changes are widely available.