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What Is WhatsApp and How it Works

Shaun

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WhatsApp is a free, multi-platform messaging app that lets users send messages, voice recordings, and voice or video calls. WhatsApp has gotten so popular and is currently one of the largest chatting app globally because it was one of the first services that offered free internet-based messaging. This means you don’t have to rely on text messages that may charge you for cellular data usage.

To use WhatsApp, you only need to have a smartphone, an active sim card, the WhatsApp application, and an internet connection. You can download WhatsApp on most mobile devices such as Android and iOS. It is also available in your web browser and as a desktop version.

What Is WhatsApp and How it Works
What Is WhatsApp and How it Works

What is WhatsApp?

WhatsApp is a free messaging app that uses the internet to send text messages, images, audio, and calls (voice and video) that is owned by Facebook. Not only is the messaging app free to use, there are also many other features available that are lacking in the native messaging services.

WhatsApp Features

Free International Calls

WhatsApp can put you in contact with loved ones from all over the world via the internet. This means you can connect with those living near and far simply and easily without having to fear a huge telephone bill.

Easy Way to Chat and Call Over Most Platforms

WhatsApp is not device-specific and is available across all operating systems. This makes it easy to connect with other users who have a different operating system such as Android, iOS, or others. 

Security and Privacy Protection

WhatsApp has many security and privacy features to keep your data secure. One of these features is end-to-end encryption. This encryption means that only the sender and recipient can see the information being sent. Not even WhatsApp has access to your messages.

Customization

WhatsApp offers users many different ways to customize the app. You can set individual backgrounds, notification tones, custom avatars, and ringtones. You can create groups where everyone can text together. You can also host group video calls with up to eight people. WhatsApp also released a business version, WhatsApp Business, which lets you add a catalog with product prices and more.

Desktop and Web Version

WhatsApp has a desktop and web version. The desktop version can be downloaded and installed on your computer and linked to your mobile devices with your WhatsApp account. Similarly, the web version also connects with your mobile device but works from within your browser.

Disappearing Messages

This is one of the newer features available. What are disappearing messages on WhatsApp? Just what the name suggests, these are messages that disappear after the recipient opens them. This is a great way to send sensitive or confidential information.

What Is WhatsApp and How it Works

How Does WhatsApp Work?

To get started, you will have to download WhatsApp to your mobile device. You will then have to create an account with your name and phone number. Your phone number will be used as a username, and your account will be linked to your mobile number. So if you’ve ever wondered what is my WhatsApp number? It is the same as your cell phone number. If you don’t want to use your personal number, there are options to register the account without a phone number.

How Does WhatsApp Work on Your Phone?

Once you’ve created your account, you can use it by tapping on the app icon or a notification in your notifications window. From within the app, you will see all your contacts available on WhatsApp, your conversations, your groups, and more.

How Does WhatsApp Work on Your Desktop?

You can either download and install the desktop version or use WhatsApp Web. You will have to link your accounts by scanning the QR code on the desktop with WhatsApp on your phone (found under settings, then ‘Linked Devices’ and the ‘Link a Device). Now you will see all of your WhatsApp messages, conversations, and groups on Desktop.

What Is WhatsApp and How it Works

The Basics of Using WhatsApp

Let’s take a look at some of the basics of using WhatsApp.

How to Send Messages in WhatsApp?

Sending messages in WhatsApp works very similarly to any other messaging platform. You will need to open the app on your device. Then scroll down to the person you want to message. If this is the first time you are contacting them, you will need to start a new chat by tapping on the green and white message icon at the bottom right of the screen. This will give you the option to start a group, add a new contact or choose the person you wish to message. Next, you type your message and tap on the green arrow to send the message.

How to Send Voice Recordings in WhatsApp?

To send a voice recording works very similarly, except that you press and hold down the mic icon instead of typing your message. While holding down the icon, you record your message, and when you let go, the voice note will be sent. If you’re unhappy with the recording or mess up, you can just swipe your finger right to delete it.

How to Make Calls on WhatsApp?

You can make both voice and video calls on WhatsApp. To make calls, you tap on the person or group you want to call. Once in the conversation at the top of the screen where the person’s name or group name is displayed, there will be a video camera and telephone icon. By tapping on the video camera, you will start a video call. Video calls are limited to eight participants at a time. If you tap on the telephone icon, you will make a voice call. Voice and video calls can only be made from mobile devices and not WhatsApp’s web or desktop versions.

What Does the Double Grey or Blue Ticks Mean in WhatsApp?

The ticks in WhatsApp represent the status of the message. 

✓ – Message sent

✓✓ – Message received in recipients inbox

✓✓ – Message opened by the recipient

When you send a message, you will see one grey tick appear to show that the message has been sent from your side; another grey tick will appear when it lands in the recipient’s inbox. The ticks will turn blue once the recipient has opened the message. It is possible to deactivate this setting. In that case, the blue ticks that show someone reading/opening the message will not appear, and you will continue to only see the two grey ticks.

How to Backup WhatsApp?

WhatsApp has a useful backup feature so that you can save your conversations and restore them in case of an issue. This is also useful when changing devices as you can restore your WhatsApp from the backup. You can access your backup settings from the setting menu. Here you can manually backup or choose how often WhatsApp should automatically backup all chats.

How to Download and Transfer WhatsApp Data?

Your WhatsApp is linked to your cell phone number, this means that downloading and transferring data between an old and new phone (with the same operating system) is very simple. You just backup your WhatsApp chats on your old device. Now switch the sim card to your new phone. Download and install WhatsApp to your new device. When you open the app it will verify your number and ask if you want to restore your backup. Tap on this option and wait for the process to finish. Once done you will see all your messages on your new device.

Unfortunately, if you want to transfer WhatsApp data from an Android device to an iPhone, it is much more difficult as the cloud storage format of the backup files is different. In order to do this you will need to use third party software. 

How to Block Someone on WhatsApp?

Sometimes you get to a point where you no longer wish to communicate with a specific contact. In certain cases, it might even be necessary to block that person completely. WhatsApp has an easy to use blocking feature

All you need to do is go into the conversation with the person you want to block. Then tap on the three vertical dots to access the menu. At the bottom of the menu, tap on ‘More. Now you’ll see a new menu where you can tap on ‘block’. Once you’ve done this, you will receive no new messages or notifications from this contact. However, if you are still included in any groups with this contact, their messages will still show in that group chat.

Protecting Your Privacy on WhatsApp

If WhatsApp is used responsibly it is just as safe, if not more secure, as other messaging platforms. Since it has end-to-end encryption you can rest assured that no-one else will see the messages you send, except for the person you’re sending them to. Not even WhatsApp or their owners, Facebook, can read you messages. Despite this, there is certain personal information that is visible to everyone. This includes users seeing when last you were on WhatsApp, your profile photo and your ‘About Me’ information. 

The only way to stay 100% safe is to be offline. While this is not always an option, there are other things you can do to protect your privacy. You can see and change the privacy settings from within the app. Simply go to ‘Settings’, and then navigate to ‘Account’. Now you can tap on ‘Privacy’ and see what the settings are. By default your ‘Last Seen’, ‘Profile Photo’, ‘About’, ‘Groups’ and ‘Status’ is visible to everyone. You can change these settings to increase your privacy on WhatsApp.

You can check out our tricks for staying offline on Whatsapp.

What Is the Difference Between WhatsApp and Regular Texting?

The biggest difference between WhatsApp and regular texting is that you need a mobile telephone account to use texting and will be charged for each text sent. WhatsApp uses the internet, so you won’t be charged as long as you have access to Wi-Fi. 

Another difference and disadvantage of using WhatsApp are that regular texts can be sent to any device regardless of their messaging system. In contrast, you can only send WhatsApp messages to others who have the app installed.

Guides, Tutorials, and Tips to Get the Most Out of WhatsApp

Now that we’ve covered some of the basics, here are some of the top tips and tricks to help get you using WhatsApp and making the most of this popular chatting platform.

WhatsApp is a very convenient and user-friendly chatting app that is free to use as long as there is a Wi-Fi connection. We hope this guide to WhatsApp has helped you learn the basics of using this popular chatting app. Do you know of any other WhatsApp tips that we should add to the list? Leave us a comment and let us know.

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