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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 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.
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:
- Download WhatsApp for Windows here
- Launch the WhatsAppSetup.exe file
- Go to Chats screen > Menu > WhatsApp Web on your mobile device
- 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:
- Drag the program to the applications folder on Mac
- Launch the program. You will see a QR code on the screen
- Launch WhatsApp on your iPhone
- Go to Settings > WhatsApp Web on the iPhone
- 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:
- Go to Google Play and download the app
- Launch the app on your Android device
- Provide your contact number and country code
- 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:
- Go to the App Store on your iPhone
- Search for “WhatsApp”
- Download the app to your iPhone
- Launch the app for installation
- Provide your phone number and country details
- 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:
- Launch Safari browser on your iPad
- Browse to web.whatsapp.com
- The browser may take you to the WhatsApp Home page instead
- If that happens, hold the Refresh button
- You will see an option that says “Load desktop site.” Choose this option
- The website will reload and display the WhatsApp Web interface
- Scan the QR code with your iPhone
- 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 this part of our WhatsApp review, we take a look at some of the key security features offered by the app.
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.
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.
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
The latter has been advocated by Elon Musk in January 2021.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 7, 2021
Below you will find the comparison chart of WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, and Viber.
|Owner||Open-source, developed by Open Whisper Systems||Pavel Durov||Rakuten|
|Users||2 billion||Unknown||500 million||1 billion users|
|Secure File Sharing||No||Yes||No||Yes|
|Messages stored in servers||No||No||Yes, indefinitely||No|
|Chat/ Messages Self-Destruct||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Phone Number Required||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Supported Platforms||Android, iOS, Windows, Mac OS||Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux||Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux||Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux|
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.
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Julie is a firm believer in equal rights for everyone. She is a traveler and blogger, focusing her efforts on exposing censorship and discrimination around the world. She wants to hold corrupt governments and shady companies accountable by writing investigative articles and helpful guides.