WhatsApp review 2021

Julie Cole
Julie Cole | Contributing Writer
Last updated: June 29, 2021
WhatsApp review

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WhatsApp is the most popular and widely used instant messaging and VoIP app around the world. It’s primarily used on smartphones and lets users send messages, make audio and video calls, and share files. It is also available for PC and Mac users.

Owned by Facebook, WhatsApp has a user base of over 2 billion. It is absolutely free to use and works perfectly with 3G, 4G, and wifi internet. It’s a light app, which means that it consumes very little data.

In January, 2021, WhatsApp infamously updated its privacy policy. According to it, WhatsApp will now share user data with Facebook. That includes phone numbers, contacts, profile names, and pictures.

In this WhatsApp review, we’ll cover the basics. These include how to use the app on various platforms such as iOS, Android, PC, and Mac. We’ll also take a look at the security features of the app and provide a quick comparison between WhatsApp and other instant messaging apps like Viber.

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How to use WhatsApp

Although WhatsApp is mostly used on smartphones, it’s also available for PC and Mac. Using the app, you can make calls, send messages and share files directly from the desktop. In this section, our WhatsApp review will offer a quick guide on how to install and use WhatsApp on PC and Mac computers as well as iOS and Android devices.

WhatsApp for Windows

If you want to use WhatsApp on a Windows PC, you’ll first need to install the app on your mobile device. If the app is already installed on your mobile, follow these steps to set up WhatsApp for Windows:

  1. Download WhatsApp for Windows here
  2. Launch the WhatsAppSetup.exe file
  3. Go to Chats screen > Menu > WhatsApp Web on your mobile device
  4. Scan the QR Code on the desktop screen with your device

Once you follow these steps, the WhatsApp application on the desktop will be ready for use. It will automatically sync messages from your mobile.

WhatsApp for Mac

To install WhatsApp for Mac, you can download the app from the WhatsApp website. Alternatively, you can go to the Mac App Store and find the app by looking up “WhatsApp Desktop Mac.” Once you have downloaded the app, follow these steps:

  1. Drag the program to the applications folder on Mac
  2. Launch the program. You will see a QR code on the screen
  3. Launch WhatsApp on your iPhone
  4. Go to Settings > WhatsApp Web on the iPhone
  5. Use the mobile device to scan the QR code

With these simple steps, your WhatsApp for Mac will be ready for use. The desktop app will automatically sync your contacts and conversations from the mobile app.

WhatsApp for Android

WhatsApp messenger for Android is the most widely used instant messaging app on the Android platform. It is available via the Google Play store. To install and use WhatsApp for Android, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Google Play and download the app
  2. Launch the app on your Android device
  3. Provide your contact number and country code
  4. Let WhatsApp automatically verify your number

Once WhatsApp is ready for use on your Android device, you can go to the Contacts tab in the app. Here, you will see all the contacts that are already using WhatsApp messenger. Click on any of these contacts to start chatting.

WhatsApp for iOS

If you want to install WhatsApp on an iOS device, follow the steps below.
WhatsApp for iPhone:

  1. Go to the App Store on your iPhone
  2. Search for “WhatsApp”
  3. Download the app to your iPhone
  4. Launch the app for installation
  5. Provide your phone number and country details
  6. Enter the verification code sent to your iPhone via SMS

Now that WhatsApp is installed on your iPhone go to the Contacts tab in the app. Here you can see the contacts already using the app. Tap on any contact to begin conversation.

WhatsApp for iPad

There is no official version of WhatsApp for iPad. There are two ways in which you can bypass this limitation. You can either use WhatsApp on your iPad via the Safari browser or get the unofficial WhatsApp messenger from a third-party developer.

To use WhatsApp on iPad via Safari, follow these steps:

  1. Launch Safari browser on your iPad
  2. Browse to web.whatsapp.com
  3. The browser may take you to the WhatsApp Home page instead
  4. If that happens, hold the Refresh button
  5. You will see an option that says “Load desktop site.” Choose this option
  6. The website will reload and display the WhatsApp Web interface
  7. Scan the QR code with your iPhone
  8. Your WhatsApp for iPad is ready for use

When you install WhatsApp on iPad, you may experience that some features do not work properly. That is because you’re using the desktop version of WhatsApp on the iPad. If you want a better user experience, you can look up third-party WhatsApp alternatives on the App Store.

WhatsApp security review

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WhatsApp offers a wide range of security features to ensure the privacy and security of your data. That being said, WhatsApp is often criticized for its association with Facebook. The app shares its data with Facebook which has raised questions in the past.

Lately, Whatsapp security and privacy has been an issue.

In May 2019, an Israeli company called NSO Group exploited a bug that allowed to remotely install spyware on the targeted smartphone. Even though Facebook has released an update that fixes the bug, the company didn’t mention whether the bugfix removes the Israeli surveillance software and what are its capabilities.

In January 2021, WhatsApp updated its privacy policy which now allows Facebook to access user data, such as contacts, phone numbers, and profile pictures. The content of the messages remains intact due to encryption.

In this part of our WhatsApp review, we take a look at some of the key security features offered by the app.

End-to-end encryption

WhatsApp offers end-to-end encryption in its recent versions. This means that all messages you send through WhatsApp are fully encrypted so that only you and the recipient can read them. No one else can access or understand them as they are scrambled.

There’s a caveat though: the sender and the recipient both need to use the latest version of WhatsApp for end-to-end encryption to work. If either of the two is using an older version, the encryption will not work.

WhatsApp calling

Like messages, all the calls you make through WhatsApp are end-to-end encrypted. When you are making a call through WhatsApp, no one can listen in or understand the communication except you and the receiver.

As with messages, WhatsApp messenger offers encryption for calls only on its latest versions. If either the caller or the receiver is using an older version, encryption does not work.

Data security and privacy

WhatsApp does not store your messages after they are delivered. This ensures that your messages can not be later retrieved or read by anyone else.

WhatsApp also lets you control who sees your profile photo, status updates, and other information. With these controls, you can make sure that you share your information with only the people you trust. However, as mentioned above, Facebook now also will have access to this data.

WhatsApp troubleshooting

If you are using WhatsApp, you may experience some common problems associated with the app. These include WhatsApp crashing frequently, unable to connect, message sending being too slow, or being unable to receive messages at all.

In this section of our WhatsApp review, we take a look at these problems and share their solutions.

WhatsApp is not working

In some cases, WhatsApp does not connect. It does not send or receive messages, nor can you make calls through it. This may be for a variety of reasons. Here are some handy solutions to solve this problem:

  • Empty the app cache by going to app settings
  • Ensure that another app is not preventing WhatsApp from running
  • Make sure your internet connection is working

If the problem persists or you experience another similar problem, try these tips:

  • Close WhatsApp. Then launch it again after some time
  • Put your phone on Airplane mode for 30 seconds. Then reconnect
  • Turn off your mobile device and restart it after 3 to 4 minutes
  • Uninstall WhatsApp and reinstall using the latest version

WhatsApp vs other private messaging apps

If you’re also concerned about the updated WhatsApp privacy policy, then we have good news for you. There are quite a few alternatives to WhatsApp, which include the likes of Viber, Telegram, and Signal.

The latter has been advocated by Elon Musk in January 2021.

Below you will find the comparison chart of WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, and Viber.

OwnerFacebookOpen-source, developed by Open Whisper SystemsPavel DurovRakuten
Users2 billionUnknown500 million1 billion users
End-to-end EncryptionYesYesNoYes
Secret ChatsNoNoYesYes
Secure File SharingNoYesNoYes
Messages stored in serversNoNoYes, indefinitelyNo
Chat/ Messages Self-DestructNoYesYesYes
Phone Number RequiredYesYesYesYes
Supported PlatformsAndroid, iOS, Windows, Mac OSAndroid, iOS, Windows, macOS, LinuxAndroid, iOS, Windows, macOS, LinuxAndroid, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux

Bottom line

WhatsApp is a solid messaging service that provides end-to-end encryption. Owned by Facebook, it’s probably more popular than all other secure messaging apps put together. You can use WhatsApp not only on your mobile phone but Windows and Mac as well.

While this service does well in terms of security, the privacy concerns are its main issue. After the January 2021 privacy policy update, user data is now shared with Facebook. And even though that doesn’t include messages, which are encrypted anyway, it becomes had to recommend WhatsApp for privacy-conscious users.

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  1. dee

    OK I’m not sure how all this work maybe someone can help… if information is not stored on WhatsApp servers how was all my messages from 2016 when I joined WhatsApp reload on to my new phone even tho they where deleted of old Phone?

    1. Lookasso

      the messages are stored in your google drive, that’s why to download the backup you need to specify not only your number but also your email.
      The backup in drive is encrypted and if you change telephone number and forget to change number in whatsapp before re-installing it, and you have no access to your previous number, you won’t be able to download the backup.

  2. Jay

    There’s no way I’ll be giving my information to a company that’s joined forces with Facebook. It’s just not worth it!

  3. Magik Mann

    I don’t trust Facebook with my personal data so I’m not one of the 1.5 billion users of the WhatsApp private messaging app. When they were purchased by facebook and started sharing phone numbers, I was amazed that everyone didn’t quickly drop them. But I think that a lot of people are either unconcerned or unaware of the privacy issues that are being abused. Wake up people!

  4. Phoebe McLean

    I like end-to-end encryption but how can I trust any app associated with Facebook, let alone one owned by Facebook. I am unhappy with Facebook and the trend for social media sites to censor people. I’m not going to risk my privacy or peace of mind with Whatsapp because I don’t trust FB. Anyone have any thoughts on why I should think otherwise?

  5. Ging K

    I love what’s app. I’ve been using it for the past months and it’s really useful when you need to talk to people outside your country. Plus I like the fact that it’s simple and intuitive.

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