How does WhatsApp work? As long as you have a connection to the internet and a cell phone number, you can use it. Here is a guide on how to use WhatsApp. Ready? Let’s go!

WhatsApp is one of the most popular free messaging platforms in the world. Beloved by many to communicate over long distances, its users can text and call anybody on the planet. 

Yet, it can be intimidating for a new user. WhatsApp has many powerful features that can be taken advantage of for great results, but they can be overwhelming at first. In this guide, we’ll go over all the WhatsApp basics, including how to download WhatsApp, how to set a WhatsApp number, how to transfer accounts across Android, iPhone, and PC, and how to use stickers.

What is WhatsApp?

WhatsApp launched in 2009 as a free online messaging service. It exploded in 2015 and is now the most used messaging app worldwide, with near-monopolies in Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. So why do people use WhatsApp?

WhatsApp is free to use, completely ad-free, end-to-end encrypted, and of course, it has a vast existing user pool. It was also one of the first online messaging tools, giving it a tremendous head start.

But what can you do with WhatsApp? WhatsApp offers direct and group messaging services, audio or video calls, and various other tools to help you get in touch with the people you care about.

How to download WhatsApp:

  1. Go to the Play Store (Android) or App Store (Apple)
  2. Click the download button, and approve the download (you will most likely be asked for a password).
  3. Tap on the app icon to launch the app when it finishes downloading.
  4. Your phone will ask for permissions. Accept these permissions, and the WhatsApp terms and conditions to start using WhatsApp.
  5. Enter your cell number, and hit Confirm. Fill in your personal information, like your name, a photo, and a brief description.
  6. Enter the verification code you will receive via SMS. Don’t worry. The message might take a minute to arrive, and don’t forget that it might be in your spam message folder! WhatsApp may also do this automatically, so do not be surprised if it doesn’t need input to verify your phone.
  7. WhatsApp will prompt you to add your contacts. This setting will let WhatsApp sync your contacts with your WhatsApp profile!

After these easy steps, WhatsApp is ready to use! So, how do you send your first WhatsApp message?

How to send a WhatsApp Message:

  1. Look to the bottom of your screen. Select the icon that says Chats.
  2. On the top right corner, there is an icon. Tap it to bring up the contact list.
  3. Select a contact you wish to send a message to. Tap that contact to begin chatting.
  4. Type your message, then hit the blue arrow next to the text box to send the message.

Note: To start a group chat, after step 2, tap “New Group” and then add as many contacts as you want! Don’t forget that the limit on members in a group is 256. On this messaging page, you can do a lot more than send messages. Calling is also available straight from the same screen.

How to call someone on WhatsApp:

  1. On the same screen as the messages, look to the top right.
  2. Here, there are two buttons. Tap the icon that looks like a film camera for video calls and the icon that looks like a phone for audio calling. It’s that easy!

There’s another way to do this from the home screen:

  1. Start from the first screen you see after launching WhatsApp.
  2. Look to the bottom bar, to the left. There should be a calls icon. Tap that icon.
  3. Tap the top right call icon. This will bring up a list of contacts. Please choose the contact you want to reach, then use the icons beside their name to call.

Now that we’ve gotten the basics for WhatsApp down, what are some of the more advanced features and how do we use them?

How do I set a status on WhatsApp?

  1. From the bottom bar found on the first screen, tap Status.
  2. Here, tap the Pencil icon found next to the words My Status.
  3. Write what you wish to share, and then hit post. This status will be sent to all of your contacts and last for a full day before disappearing.

How do I send stickers, photos, and gifs on WhatsApp?

The process is slightly different depending on if you are on Android or iOS, so look out for the subtle difference in the first step.

  1. In the chat window, tap the plus icon (Apple) or smiling emoji (Android) on the bottom left
  2. From here, you can send photos and videos or gifs.
  3. For stickers, near the bottom of the chat bar, there will be a small square with a single peeling corner. Tap this, and you’ll find your stickers.

If you don’t have any stickers, you can tap on the plus icon on the right to add a new set of stickers!

How do I block someone on WhatsApp?

Spam sender? An ex? Sometimes, the nuclear option must be taken. Here’s how to block a contact.

  1. Open WhatsApp, then tap More Options.
  2. Tap Account, then Privacy, then Blocked Contacts.
  3. Tap the Add Person icon, then search for and select the contact you want to block.

How do I back up my WhatsApp messages?

If you want to save your messages in case of an unforeseen issue, it’s luckily effortless to set up an automatic backup system for your WhatsApp messages.

  1. Open WhatsApp, then tap Settings > Chats > Chats Backup > Back up.
  2. Select a backup frequency (we recommend daily).
  3. Add your Google account, and then tap Back Up Over to choose the wifi or cell network you want to back your data up with.

As easy as that, your WhatsApp messages are now safely backed up!

Frequently Asked Questions

How does WhatsApp make money?

WhatsApp doesn’t make money from messaging. It doesn’t run ads or sell data. Instead, it hopes that by having lots of users, it can make money in other ways. It sells API (Application Programming Interface) to businesses to help them communicate with consumers. What’s an API? For WhatsApp, it lets companies get in touch with customers by using WhatsApp messaging. They are also working on launching a payment system similar to PayPal and Alipay.

What is my WhatsApp number?

You can check your WhatsApp number by launching WhatsApp, clicking the three dots on the top right corner, then tapping the gear icon (settings). In settings, click on “Your Name” and you can see your number in the About section.

How do I transfer my WhatsApp messages from Android to iPhone?

There are several ways to do this, but all of them involve downloading third-party programs. If you are okay with that, then there is a PC app called MobileTrans that can transfer your data. You can find instructions here. Or, if you don’t have or don’t want to use a PC, you can also download Wutsapper on the Google Play store to transfer over a wired connection.

Can I use WhatsApp on my computer/pc?

You can! Download the WhatsApp application from the Microsoft or App Store, you can quickly sign in using a QR code that syncs to your phone, and continue chatting on your computer.

How do I recover deleted WhatsApp messages on iPhone and Android?

Have you ever wondered how to recover deleted WhatsApp messages? You can restore deleted messages with a backup copy of your messages. These backups are stored either in the cloud (in the case of Android or iPhone), and additionally, locally on your phone in the case of Android. If you have a backup, and if the messages you want to recover fall in the backup period, you will easily get them back. Uninstall and reinstall WhatsApp and choose to restore messages from backup when prompted the first time you re-open WhatsApp, and your deleted messages will return.

To restore a local copy on your Android phone, follow these steps to recover your messages:
  1. Open a file explorer app on your device.
  2. Navigate to /WhatsApp/Databases.
  3. Rename msgstore.db.crypt12 to msgstore-latest.db.crypt12.
  4. Rename msgstore-YYYY-MM-DD.1.db.crypt12 to msgstore.db.crypt12.
  5. Uninstall your WhatsApp Application.
  6. If Google Drive backups are enabled, open Google Drive, slide out the left menu, tap Backups, and delete the WhatsApp backup file.
  7. Reinstall WhatsApp on your phone.
  8. When prompted, restore from the backup file.

How to restore deleted WhatsApp messages without backup on iPhone and Android?

The process is a lot more difficult if there is no backup, but you might still have a chance to recover those messages. Using a PC, you can download a data recovery program like MiniTool Recovery, which can tackle both Android and iOS. Plug your phone into your PC, and use the tool to scan through your phone. This may take a few minutes. Find the WhatsApp folder from the data type list, then select all the messages you want to recover. Click restore, and those messages will be back in your WhatsApp app!

How do you know if someone blocked you on WhatsApp?

If you have been blocked, you will no longer see a contact’s last seen or online status in the chat window. You won’t see any updates to a contact’s profile photo, and any messages sent will display one checkmark, which means sent, and never show a second checkmark, which means delivered.

Have a question not covered here? Ask an expert for help on Sage.

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