How to Add a Contact to WhatsApp

Plus, how to find someone on WhatsApp

Girl with blue hair using smartphone

Marco_Piunti/Getty Images

WhatsApp is great for staying in touch with friends and family no matter where they are in the world, but adding and finding those contacts within the app itself isn't always so easy. This guide will show you how to add a new name to your WhatsApp contact list and where to find it, as well as how to update your contact number.

This guide is based on WhatsApp for iOS, but the steps will also work with WhatsApp for Android.

How to Add a Contact to WhatsApp

Adding a contact on what's app lets you find and communicate with your friends. While it's not as intuitive as it could be to add someone on WhatsApp, once you get the hang of it, it will seem easy enough.

  1. Open WhatsApp on your device.

  2. The app may open to the last tab you had used. To add a contact, you need to be in the Chats section of the app, to tap the Chats tab.

  3. In Chats, tap the compose icon in the upper right of the screen to launch the New Chat page.

  4. You'll see several items, including the option to create a new group and to message your frequent contacts, or to scroll through your contact list alphabetically. Tap New Contact to add a name.

  5. You will now see the New Contact page. Tap the First name field and type the name of the person you are adding.

  6. Tap the Last name field to add their last name.

    New Chat icon, New Contact button, Name field in WhatsApp
  7. If the person’s contact number has the same country code as yours, you can skip to the Phone field. If their number is registered in a different part of the world (i.e., you are based in the U.S., but your friend is in the UK) tap the country name to change the country code. You will be led to a new page with a list of supported countries. Scroll to find the relevant region and tap to select it.

  8. Tap Save in the upper right corner of the page to save the contact.

  9. You'll now see the person's name and their Contact Details.

    If the individual is not yet using WhatsApp you'll see an option to invite them to the service. Tap Invite to WhatsApp to generate a populated SMS message you can send to their number (carrier rates apply). This will provide them with a WhatsApp download link.

  10. Finally, tap Done to return to the Chats page.

    Country code, Save button, Done button in WhatsApp

    Adding a contact in WhatsApp will automatically add it to your device's address book. The same is true if you add a contact to the device address book, it will automatically import to WhatsApp. Additionally deleting a contact from WhatsApp will remove it from your device address book and vice versa.

How to Find Friends on WhatsApp

To find a contact that's already using WhatsApp is simple enough. Here's all you need to do.

  1. Open WhatsApp on your device.

  2. If you are not currently in the Chats tab, tap Chats on the bottom menu to take you there.

  3. Swipe down on the screen to reveal the Search bar.

  4. Tap the Search bar.

    Swipe down arrow, Search field in Chats screen
  5. The keyboard will appear. Type in the name of the contact you are looking for.

  6. Results will appear below, populated with Chats, contacts, and contents from relevant messages.

    Search field, typing in contact name in WhatsApp
  7. Tap the correct contact name to launch your conversation.

How to Change Your WhatsApp Number So You're Discoverable to Others

When first signing up for WhatsApp you have to provide your phone number, thereby making yourself easily discoverable to those who have you in their contacts.

If at a later date, you change your phone number, you can update it in WhatsApp, thereby making it easy for your friends to find you still. Here’s how.

  1. Open WhatsApp on your device.

  2. Tap Settings > Account > Change Number.

    Settings icon, Account, Change Number button in WhatsApp
  3. You'll see a page advising you're about to begin the change number process. This will migrate information, group, chats, and settings associated with the old number over to the new one. Tap Next to proceed.

    Transitioning from one number to a second one is permanent. It's important to know you may need to notify those individuals you wish to stay in contact with on WhatsApp that you've changed your number.

  4. On the Change Number field, type in the old number, then type in the number you're migrating to. Tap Next to continue.

  5. On the next screen, you have the option to notify your contacts about the change. Tap the toggle to inform your contacts of the change, then tap Done to continue the process.

    Next button, new phone number field, Notify Contacts toggle in WhatsApp
  6. You will receive an SMS message with instructions on completing the number change.