How To

How to know if WhatsApp is down and what to do

Patrick Devaney


There is an old adage that goes something like, “You never know how much you need something until it’s gone.” This certainly rings true for the WhatsApp messaging app. It is oh so easy to take the Facebook-owned messaging service for granted. It is free, it is always on, and it makes talking to anybody anywhere incredibly easy. The trouble is though, sometimes it doesn’t. In fact, WhatsApp goes down quite often just like other social media sites, like Facebook, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram. Furthermore, when it doesn’t work you don’t get a message explaining what is going on, it just doesn’t work.

If WhatsApp is not working on your smartphone, you’re likely confused. Is the problem local to your mobile app, is it a wider WhatsApp outage, or is it something to do with the service provider? These are the questions that’ll usually send iPhone and Android users to Google but worry not because Softonic is here to help. This is how to figure out why WhatsApp isn’t working on your iOS or Android device and how to fix it.

Why isn’t WhatsApp working?

Is WhatsApp down?

WhatsApp is a ridiculously popular program. It has over 1.5 billion users, which means there are quite a few different sites you can visit to find out whether you have a local WhatsApp problem or if WhatsApp itself is experiencing a more general problem. These sites include Is The Service DownIs It Down Right NowOutage Report, and Down Detector. If your WhatsApp isn’t working, these sites should be your first ports of call. If the problem is affecting the network, then these sites will let you know. You’ll get outage maps and up to date graphs showing reported problems.

WhatsApp outage map
Image via: Is The Service Down?

Unfortunately, however, if the problem is a wider WhatsApp outage, there is nothing you can do. You simply have to wait until WhatsApp is up and running again. Fortunately, however, when these massive issues arise the teams at WhatsApp HQ don’t usually take too long to resolve them. You can check out a list of historical problems that have affected the WhatsApp network here.

What if WhatsApp isn’t down?

If the above sites show that WhatsApp is working perfectly in your country or local area, then you’ll need to start looking into potential local problems that could be stopping your WhatsApp messages coming through. The first thing you should look into is your active internet connection. You can do this by checking your Wi-Fi and mobile data connectivity using your phone’s network and connectivity settings menu. If both of these are switched on but WhatsApp still isn’t working, you should try and see if the internet works for another app like Google Chrome or YouTube.

WhatsApp outage report
Image via: Outage Report

Switch it on and off again

If WhatsApp isn’t working but other apps like YouTube or Google Chrome are then there is a problem within the app itself. The first step you should take, should this be the case, is stopping the app completely. To do this you need to go to the Apps settings menu on your Android or iPhone, select WhatsApp, and then hit Force Stop.

Forcing WhatsApp to stop will then make it possible for you to clear the WhatsApp cache, which may contain the bug that is stopping WhatsApp from connecting to the internet. To clear the WhatsApp cache, scroll down to the Storage & cache option in the WhatsApp App info page. Once you click that, you’ll see the option to Clear cache. After you’ve done that turn your phone off and then on again, and then launch WhatsApp to see if you’ve resolved the issue.

WhatsApp app info on Android

Update WhatsApp

If you’ve got this far and WhatsApp still isn’t working, you’re going to have to start taking more drastic actions. First, though, you should check you are running the latest version of WhatsApp by going to the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. You need to find the list of all the apps you’ve bought and installed on your phone. When you’ve found it, scroll down until you find WhatsApp, and then select it. You should then see the version you are running and whether there is an update available.

If you are running the latest version of WhatsApp or if you update WhatsApp and it still doesn’t work, the next thing you can try is uninstalling the app and then reinstalling it. To do this, go to the WhatsApp App info page on your phone, using the method outlined above, and hit Uninstall. If you don’t want to lose all your app data including your chats and downloaded images etc. tick the box that says Keep app data before confirming the uninstall. Then, head over to the Google Play Store or Apple App Store and reinstall WhatsApp. This should install a clean and up to date version of WhatsApp.

Wrapping up

When WhatsApp goes down it can feel like you’re cut off from everyone and everything. We’ve walked you through all the steps you need to follow, should it happen to you. The key is finding out whether the problem is on your phone or whether there are actual WhatsApp servers down causing problems for millions of WhatsApp users at the same time. The sites listed above will show you about potential outages and will offer real-time maps showing all the different WhatsApp problems being reported at the same time as well as historical data.

If the problem is a local one, however, one of the other steps we’ve laid out for you should see you have WhatsApp working normally again. Hopefully, you won’t have to uninstall WhatsApp and reinstall it to resolve your issues, but you can always take the nuclear option should you need to. Just remember to save your app data, if you don’t want to lose all your chats.

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