How to Set Up and Use WhatsApp on iPhone

Information about compatibility, what you can do with the app, and more

What to Know

  • Go to the App Store and download WhatsApp. Open the app and follow the instructions to set up an account.
  • Go to Chats and tap the pencil & paper to start a new chat. Go to Calls, then tap the phone or the camera to make a call.
  • Tap Status to set your status. Tap the pencil to write a new status. Tap the camera to add a photo from your gallery or take a new one.

WhatsApp is a popular free messaging service and there's no charge to use it. Users can exchange pictures, texts, and videos across iPhone, Android, and other mobile platforms. Perhaps because it is a competitor of the Apple Messages app, WhatsApp may not be intuitive for some iPhone users. This guide walks you through how to use WhatsApp on your iPhone.

How to Set up and Use WhatsApp on Your iPhone

WhatsApp is available on iOS and can be downloaded normally. However, there are a few things you should keep in mind before you download it.

  1. Go to the App Store and download WhatsApp.

    Users with iOS 8 can no longer create new accounts or re-verify existing accounts. If you have a WhatsApp account that is currently active and running on iOS 8, update your phone to continue to use the service.

  2. Create a WhatsApp account. Open WhatsApp and select Agree & Continue to agree to the privacy policy.

  3. Enter and confirm your phone number.

    Open button and "your phone number" field in WhatsApp
  4. WhatsApp verifies the number by sending you a six-digit activation code. Enter this code to complete the verification process.

  5. When your account is verified, WhatsApp gives you the option to enter your name and a profile picture. While a name is required, you can choose a photo now or complete this step later.

  6. WhatsApp requests access to your contacts. Select Okay to give it permission. While this isn't necessary, it imports your contacts and shows who among your friends and family use the app.

  7. After you provide WhatsApp with access to your contacts, the Chats screen appears. Tap the pencil & paper icon in the upper-right corner to start a new chat.

    OK button, New chat button in WhatsApp on iOS
  8. Your contacts list appears. Anyone with the phrase "Hey there! I am using WhatsApp" under their name is not active on the service. However, any friends that use the app likely have a profile picture. If they're currently active on the service, you see the word "Available" under their name.

    To invite your friends to use the service, scroll to the bottom and tap Invite Friends to Whatsapp.

How to Use WhatsApp

At the bottom of the screen are five icons: Status, Calls, Camera, Chats, and Settings.

Choose Calls to display a screen that allows you to make a voice or video call through WhatsApp over Wi-Fi or through the use of cellular data. To get started, select the phone icon in the upper-right corner of the screen. Then, choose the telephone icon to make a voice call or tap the video camera icon to make a video call. 

How to Set a WhatsApp Status

Choose the Status tab to set your status. Tap the pencil icon to write a new status. Select the camera icon to add a photo from your gallery or take a new one.

WhatsApp's Settings

The final section to look over is Settings. From here, you can see your favorite (starred) messages, account settings, chat settings, notification preferences, and data and storage usage.

  • Account: Enable privacy and security options as well as two-step verification. This is also where you can change your number if necessary.
  • Chats: Choose how you want to back up your different chats.
  • Notifications: Manage your notifications for WhatsApp.
  • Data and Storage Usage: Enable or disable media auto-downloading, select low data usage, and more.
Call button, Status options, Settings icon in WhatsApp on iOS
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