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WhatsApp: Everything you need to know

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WhatsApp is the most popular instant messenger app in the world and connects more than a billion people at any one time. That's why you should be especially familiar with this instant messaging app if you use it on iOS or Android currently. On this information hub, NextPit has collected everything you need to know about downloads, features, and the controversies that surround WhatsApp.

Hardly any topic on the web gets people all worked up as much as the instant messenger known as WhatsApp. Even though the chat service that is owned by Facebook is often criticized, it continues to remain the number 1 means of communication for close to 1.5 billion people in 2018, a figure that would surely have grown over the past three years. NextPit has been following developments surrounding the WhatsApp instant messenger since its release in 2009 and hundreds of articles have been published about the topic in the meantime.

This page is a repository of the most important information concerning WhatsApp that users should know. Below, you will find instructions, comparison articles, tips and tricks, and many other NextPit articles about the instant messenger. Are you looking for a specific topic? Then head straight to the corresponding topic via the shortcut in the table of contents:

Table of Contents:

  1. Download, setup, and keeping it updated
  2. Backups and how to restore them
  3. WhatsApp instructions at a glance
  4. Alternatives to WhatsApp
  5. WhatsApp in the year 2021
  6. Sayings and stickers on WhatsApp
  7. WhatsApp problems: How do I solve them?
  8. WhatsApp Business: What is it all about?

Alternatively, this article also serves as an introduction to WhatsApp. Hence, if you are unfamiliar with the instant messaging app, we would recommend you make yourself a cup of tea and read this article from start to finish. Have fun reading and using WhatsApp on iOS and Android!

Download WhatsApp, setup, and keeping it updated.

If you want to dive right into WhatsApp, you'll first need to have the app installed, of course. At its launch in 2009, the instant messenger was considered an innovative alternative to SMS on smartphones that ran on Android or iOS mobile operating systems. That's because using the app which includes sending and receiving messages, continues to be free in 2021. And since you have to provide your mobile number when you set it up, you can find almost every contact in your smartphone on WhatsApp, too!

If you haven't installed WhatsApp on your smartphone yet, you can do so by following the links below to the Apple App Store and Google Play Store:

As an alternative to Apple iOS and Android, WhatsApp can also be used on feature phones that run on the KaiOS operating system. In addition, there is also the web version and apps that you can use on Windows and macOS, as well as other operating systems. However, these are more towards remote access than standalone applications. Therefore, we have explored the topic of WhatsApp Web in our separate tutorial "WhatsApp on the PC".

In connection with WhatsApp you need in any case a smartphone or phone number that can receive text messages or calls. Because setting up WhatsApp works this way: you receive a code through text message and must enter it during the initial set up process. Then, will will also have to define a username and select a suitable WhatsApp profile picture. If you provide permission for WhatsApp to gain access to your contacts, WhatsApp will automatically search for available contacts. Let's go to the first message!

WhatsApp version
Do you want to check which WhatsApp version are you using? Just use this short guide! / © NextPit

WhatsApp has become so popular since its release in 2009 because it's so simple to use. With automatic updates, you don't have to worry about new versions and usually find new features on your smartphone as they are released in a staggered manner. However, there are also different ways to receive new WhatsApp versions faster if you are interested in doing so. We have prepared a separate article on the topic of "How to install or update the latest WhatsApp version" for you.

WhatsApp: Backups and how you can restore them

If you have already installed WhatsApp on your smartphone, you may have been offered to restore a backup copy of your chats in the previous step. As mentioned previously, the instant messenger is linked to your mobile phone number. Facebook in turn links this to your account at Google or Apple, taking advantage of a cool benefit from both companies: their very own cloud services.

Unless you've disabled automatic WhatsApp backups, the instant messenger will upload your media and chat history to the cloud every night. The entire process works automatically in the background and comes in handy if you want to transfer your WhatsApp data to a new smartphone. If you have more questions or problems with WhatsApp backups, why not check out our dedicated article on the matter?

Follow these instructions and you will become a WhatsApp pro

With the installation and setup complete, you now have the right conditions to take full advantage of WhatsApp functionality. This is your stepping stone to countless tutorials here on NextPit, where we explain hidden features and exciting functions in a step-by-step manner. Just head over to our article with the best tips and tricks for WhatsApp and see what else there is to learn! Alternatively, you can find the most important tutorials below:

The 10 most important NextPit guides to WhatsApp.

How to use two WhatsApp accounts on one phone
How to chat on WhatsApp without appearing online
How to use self-deleting messages and photos on WhatsApp
How to delete WhatsApp messages
How to change your profile picture
How to export your WhatsApp chat history
How to read deleted messages on WhatsApp
How to hide your embarrassing photos on WhatsApp
How to record a WhatsApp video call on Android
How to use WhatsApp on multiple devices simultaneously

However, WhatsApp is far from being the perfect instant messenger that offers the most features to its users. On the contrary, there are many reasons to ditch WhatsApp concerning the range of available functions. If you are interested in the topic of instant messenger apps on a smartphone, you should definitely check out alternatives such as Telegram, Signal, and others.

WhatsApp alternatives: You should know about them

You can already tell that WhatsApp is the most prominent instant messenger at the moment based on the term used to describe apps like Telegram and Signal as WhatsApp alternatives that promise you an even safer and easier communication experience with friends and family. In fact, Telegram offers you a far wider range of functions and Signal is much more secure than WhatsApp in comparison.

Fed up with WhatsApp?

Messenger 1 Messenger 2 To the comparison How to switch
WhatsApp Telegram WhatsApp vs. Telegram comparison Import WhatsApp chat to Telegram
WhatsApp Signal work in progress Switch from WhatsApp to Signal
WhatsApp Threema WhatsApp vs. Threema work in progress

While WhatsApp is the most popular chat app, we've been drawing comparisons to other messengers over the past few weeks. So if you want to know how Facebook's messenger app compares to Telegram, Signal and others, just check out any one of the linked articles above.

The demand for WhatsApp alternatives has increased significantly in 2021. This is also partly due to Facebook's attempt to impose new terms and conditions on millions of users by forcing them to accept these new terms of service or lose access to WhatsApp. Dealing with WhatsApp therefore, also means being aware of the risks and scandals that come with it.

WhatsApp in 2021: T&Cs, privacy scandals, and new features

In 2021, WhatsApp users look back on a really rocky journey. This is because ever since the release of WhatsApp and the buyout by Facebook, there have been setbacks and bright spots that you had to go through. If you're just getting yourself familiar with the topic right now, NextPit has pieced together a timeline of events for you.

A brief history of WhatsApp
A brief history of WhatsApp... / © NextPit

The most momentous event in 2021 was Facebook's attempt to introduce new T&Cs. As what was made public even before being introduced, the new terms allowed for easier sharing of personal data with other Facebook services and companies that make up part of the Facebook group. This was followed by a media outcry, a massive boycott of the instant messenger by many users and a retreat on the part of Facebook.

Recap: Changes that come with the new WhatsApp terms and conditions.

The scandal did not leave WhatsApp unscathed, as a survey in the NextPit community showed. While it still remains the most popular instant messenger, it has become the least popular messenger for many as well. For loyal WhatsApp users, the advantage of such an outcry is how Facebook is trying harder to patch things up by improving the image of the app.

In 2021 itself, WhatsApp also introduced self-deleting messages and in August, there are rumors about a native tablet app of the instant messenger. If you want to stay up to date with the latest instant messenger news on NextPit, bookmark the linked news overview.

WhatsApp: Status and stickers from the NextPit community

Let's move on from this rather serious topic to something more pleasant! The various captions, status updates, and stickers that circulate on the Internet concerning WhatsApp. If you're a user of the instant messenger, sooner or later, you'll come across these terms. If you don't know what to make of them, here is a short explanation:

Status updates, stickers, captions - what you need to know!

Term Explanation
WhatsApp status The status function is accessible by swiping to the left in WhatsApp
WhatsApp caption Short one-liners that WhatsApp users can copy into their statuses
WhatsApp stickers Images that can be installed via sticker packs found in the AppStore and Google Play Store. Inserting stickers works via a tab in the emoji menu

Here is an opportunity for you to get creative! Especially for birthdays or holidays, WhatsApp sayings and matching stickers are very popular. Therefore, let your creativity run free and exchange with other WhatsApp users about your best status sayings and funniest stickers in the forum. For this purpose we have started two threads in the NextPit forum together with this article:

Of course, feel free to begin your own forum threads around WhatsApp with different questions and ideas. For example, there are also games recommended by the WhatsApp community on the forum that can be enjoyed on your smartphone. Just create an account on NextPit and collect points to enjoy bonus features like photo posts or having advertising freedom on the entire NextPit homepage!

WhatsApp malfunctions: What to do if the instant messenger doesn't work?

Have you come across this page because you can no longer send or receive messages on WhatsApp? Perhaps you should first check just which ticks are displayed at the bottom right of the message. The following information can be concluded based on the ticks you see on WhatsApp:

Explained: This is what the hooks mean in WhatsApp

Check Explanation
A single gray tick The message has not left your smartphone - check your internet connection!
Two grey ticks The message has arrived, but has not been read yet
Two blue ticks

Message has arrived and read - have a little patience before a reply comes in

Special case: Group chats Blue ticks are only displayed when all participants have read the message.

If you see only one tick, you should check the internet connection of your smartphone. If everything is fine here, it is best to check the "Down Detector" service to see whether any of the WhatsApp servers are down. If your suspicion is confirmed, you have no choice apart from being patient for the moment. If the site claims that all WhatsApp servers are running just fine, it is best you check out our problem solver for WhatsApp and take the matter into your own hands!

WhatsApp Business: What is it all about?

No article about WhatsApp would be complete without mentioning "WhatsApp Business". This is an alternative version of WhatsApp for businesses that help build a simple back channel to customers. If you don't run a business, you don't have to worry about WhatsApp Business and can give this a miss.

However, you should remember that there business accounts on WhatsApp. You can contact them to ask questions about products or operating hours. However, you must accept the new WhatsApp terms and conditions in the future of which we have already informed you above. If you are concerned about data protection and privacy, simply use the vanilla version of WhatsApp for the masses, or any of the other WhatsApp alternatives that we have listed.

This is an overview page of the WhatsApp instant messenger. It will be kept up-to-date by the NextPit team and will be published as a new article whenever important updates are released. Since we find your comments on the topic of WhatsApp important, these will be reviewed with each update to keep it relevant and fresh.

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Benjamin Lucks

Benjamin Lucks
Head of Editorial DE

Ben has been working in tech journalism since 2018, was a freelancer in the middle of the CoVid-crisis and has been full-time at NextPit since November '20. Since then he has tries to find the right mix between professional competence, humor and fresh perspectives in reviews and texts.

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