What is WhatsApp? Everything you need to know

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WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging services on the planet, and there’s a lot going on with this platform. The company has a flourishing beta testing community that tests new features all the time. If you’re thinking of getting started with WhatsApp, it’s as simple as downloading the app and using it. However, there is a lot to this platform. What is WhatsApp, and what does it have to offer over other platforms?

That is a question we’re going to answer. We’re going to answer all the questions you may have about this Meta-owned platform. Also, feel free to check back every now and then. This article will be updated when new features and functionalities come out. So, without further ado let’s jump in!

What platforms is WhatsApp available for?

There are several ways for you to access WhatsApp, and one of the most common ways is through your phone. You can download the WhatsApp app on your Android or iOS device.

Along with that, there’s also a dedicated Windows application. Go to whatsapp.com, and click on the download button at the top right of the interface. This will immediately download the EXE file to let you install the WhatsApp application. There’s also a WhatsApp application in the Microsoft store.

Lastly, you can access WhatsApp through your browser. However, using this method requires you to already be signed in on another device. This method will be explained after the next section.

How do I sign up for WhatsApp?

If there’s anything that people have an issue with about WhatsApp, it’s the way to sign in. You don’t sign in using an email address and password like other platforms. With WhatsApp, you have to sign in using your phone number.

After you put in your phone number, you will be taken to a screen to verify that number. The app will send a six-digit code to your phone via text message. After you do that, you’ll be taken to a screen to put in your name. Once you add your name, the next screen will give you the option to set a passkey. If you don’t want to set one, you can skip it.

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After that screen, you’ll be taken to your homepage where you can start contacting people.

How do I use WhatsApp on the web?

After you sign in to WhatsApp using your phone, go to web.whatsapp.com. There, you will be prompted to link your devices. Tap on the three-dot menu at the top right of your screen. If you’re using an iPhone, it will be the Settings button.

In the drop-down menu, tap on the Linked devices button. This will bring up a screen with a button in the middle named Link a device. When you tap on that device, you’ll have to give your phone permission to use the camera because you’ll need to scan a QR code. The QR code will be displayed on your computer screen.

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Once you scan the QR code, your account will be linked to that device. So, you will be able to use WhatsApp on your PC.

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Does it cost money to use WhatsApp?

No, using WhatsApp does not cost any money. You have access to all the core features for free.

What about WhatsApp for business?

If you are a business owner, and you want to use WhatsApp as a useful tool to augment your business, you can sign up for a business account. A WhatsApp business account gives you access to additional features that are tailored to starting and running a business. The standard business account is also free.

You will definitely want to get a business account if you need an account for multiple users. Using a WhatsApp business account, up to four employees can use the same account. A typical WhatsApp account can only be used by one person for personal use.

With a WhatsApp business account, you get access to several messaging features. For starters, WhatsApp business users can send QR codes or short links to customers. Using these, customers will be able to access a one-on-one chat with you with just a tap.

Another great feature will allow you to label conversations with different customers. So, if your business is in communication with a lot of customers, you’ll be able to apply labels like New customer, Existing customer, Sales, Complaint, Etc. This will allow you to avoid confusion.

Next, a business account allows you to contact a ton of users at once. This feature is called Broadcasts, and it allows you to send messages to up to 256 contacts at a time. So, if you have to communicate with your entire customer base, then it’s possible to do so without messaging all of them one at a time.

Automated messages are a neat feature, and they ensure that no customer is greeted with radio silence when contacting you. You can set the app to automatically reply to customers when they message you. You can have it reply with a greeting message to start off the conversation. An “Away message” will be sent if a customer tries to contact you while you are away. It can also be useful when they contact you outside of your business hours.

“Quick replies” are custom replies that you can send to customers. You can set a quick reply to be triggered when people ask certain questions like business hours, products, Etc.

What is WhatsApp Business API?

Both WhatsApp and WhatsApp Business are free. However, WhatsApp business API is not. This is the most advanced tier of WhatsApp, and it’s made for medium to enterprise-level businesses.

Rather than only being able to have up to four people use the same account, you can have thousands. Also, you have other features like back-end integrations, access to chatbots, a verification check mark, the ability to display your name rather than your phone number, and call-to-action buttons. This is the kind of service to get if you have thousands or millions of customers.

When it comes to price, there’s no set rate. You’ll need to contact a WhatsApp rep with information about your company. Then, the WhatsApp will come up with a price plan that fits your business.

What types of files can you send with WhatsApp?

WhatsApp is a platform that lets you send multiple types of files. You’re able to send images, videos, audio files, and documents. Documents include PDF files, DOC files, TXT files, Etc.

Is there a file size limit in WhatsApp?

Yes, you can send files as large as 2GB within chat. In order to send larger files, you will have to send a link to a cloud service like Google Drive or iCloud.

What else can you send on WhatsApp?

You’re able to send locations in chat. When you opt to send a location, you will open Google Maps. On that screen, you have the option to share your current location or search for a different location to share. When you share the location, you will see a small Google Maps preview of the location in chat. After you tap on it, it will open the Google Maps app which will allow you to navigate to the location.

Also, you can share contacts. You will see the contact in a chat bubble in the conversation. This will allow the recipient to see information about the contact and invite them to chat.

Lastly, you can send a poll in chat. It will allow users to vote on questions that you designate.

Can I back up my WhatsApp data?

Yes, WhatsApp has a chat backup feature. It allows you to back up your chats to Google Drive so that you can access them again if the app gets deleted. To access your backup settings, go to the three-dot/Settings menu and tap on the Settings button. Then, scroll down to the Chats button. On that screen, scroll down to the Chat backup button.

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There, you will be able to choose which Google account the backed-up data will go to, how often you want WhatsApp to back up your chats, whether or not you want to include videos in the backed-up data, whether or not you want to use your mobile data when backing up chats, and whether or not you want end-to-end encryption. This page also gives you the option to manually back up your data. So, you won’t have to wait until it backs up automatically.

What are disappearing messages?

These are messages that will automatically disappear after a certain amount of time passes. Disappearing messages cannot be saved by the recipient. They are meant to be a security measure. You’ll be able to send sensitive data to recipients, and you won’t have to worry about it sticking around for other people to eventually discover.

To enable this, go to the settings, and tap on the Privacy button. On the resulting page, scroll down until you see the Disappearing messages button. The button will allow you to choose how long it takes for the messages to disappear. You have the option between 24 hours, 7 days, and 90 days.

What is my WhatsApp status?

This feature gives you the ability to make WhatsApp more of a social media platform. It allows you to set a media or text-based status much like a Facebook Story. This way, people can know how you’re doing, what you’re up to, Etc.

To change your status, tap on the Updates tab at the bottom of the screen. Next, at the top of the screen, you’ll see the Statuses section.

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To make a text-based status, tap on the pencil icon near the bottom right of the screen. This will take you to the status editor. On that screen, you’ll be able to type your status, record audio, add stickers, and change the color of the background.

To make a media-based status, tap on the camera icon right under the pencil icon. You will then be taken to a camera UI. At the bottom of the screen, you’ll be able to choose whether you want to use a picture as your status or a video.

You can either take the picture or go to the media picker. Once you choose the media, you’ll be able to add a caption.

It’s important to know that the status will disappear after 24 hours.

What are channels?

A channel is basically a group chat with only one person who can write new chats. People who follow the channel can see the chats and react to them. They are a way for you to share updates and content with the masses.

Say, you are a musician, and you want a way to notify your followers about upcoming events and songs. You can create a channel, and let your fans follow you.

You can access the channels you follow by going to the Updates tab at the bottom of the screen. Under your status, you will see the Channels section. This will show you the channels that you are following up top. Also, below, you’ll see a horizontally scrolling carousel of suggested channels that you can follow.

Creating a channel

If you want to create a channel, tap on the “+” button at the top of the channel section. When you create a channel, you will give it a name and describe what it’s all about. Also, you will choose a profile picture for it. After you create your channel, you will be able to share the link to your channel or share it on your status.

Since a channel is just like a regular chat conversation, you’ll be able to add images and videos along with text-based chats. You just won’t be able to send files, locations, contacts, or polls.

All of your followers will see them, though they will not be able to chat by themselves. They can only react to the content you post. People following your channel can react using different emojis.

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If you want to delete your channel, tap on the three-dot menu at the top left of the screen, and tap on the Channel info button. At the very bottom, you’ll be able to delete your channel. In order to delete your channel, you will have to put in the phone number you registered your account under.

How do I block people on WhatsApp?

It’s unfortunate, but this has to be done. There are some times when people need to be blocked from contacting you, and WhatsApp has an easy way to do it.

Go to your contact list and tap on the profile picture of the person you want to block. You’ll see a square pop-up appear. Tap on the little “i” icon at the bottom right of the square. Scroll down to the very bottom until you see the Block function.

When you block a person, they won’t be able to message or call you. Also, they will not know that you blocked them, so you won’t have to worry about sacrificing anonymity.

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While in the process of blocking them, you also have the option to automatically report the user. When you report the user, you will send WhatsApp their last five messages so that the company can get an idea of why you’re reporting them.

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