How to Set up and Use WhatsApp on iPhone

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

WhatsApp is a popular free messaging service. There's no charge to use it and users can easily exchange pictures, texts, and videos across iPhone, Android, and other mobile platforms. Because it's a departure from the usual iMessage, some iPhone users have encountered difficulty setting up the app. This guide will walk you through how to use WhatsApp on 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. The first step is to navigate 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, it will continue to work until February 1, 2020. After that, you will need to update your phone to continue to use the service.

  2. Once you have downloaded WhatsApp, the next step is to create an account. Open WhatsApp and tap Agree & Continue to agree to the privacy policy.

  3. You're then prompted to enter and confirm your phone number.

    Open button and "your phone number" field in WhatsApp
  4. WhatsApp will attempt to verify 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 will give you the option to enter your name and a profile picture. While the name is required, you can choose a photo now or complete this step later.

  6. WhatsApp will request access to your contacts. Tap Okay to give it permission. While this isn't strictly necessary, it will import all of your contacts and show who among your friends and family also use the app. 

  7. Once you provide WhatsApp with access to your contacts, you will see the Chats screen. Tap the pencil & paper icon in the top-right corner to start a new chat. 

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

    If you want 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.

Tap Calls to bring up 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, tap the phone icon in the top-right corner of the screen, then tap 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

Tap the Status tab to the far left of the bottom row of icons to set your status. Tap the pencil icon to write a new status, or tap 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: From here, you can enable various privacy and security options as well as two-step verification. This is also where you can change your number if necessary.
  • Chat settings: This lets you choose how you want to back up your different chats.
  • Notifications: Where you manage your notifications for What'sApp.
  • 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