What is WhatsApp? A guide to navigating the free internet-based communication platform

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WhatsApp might be a little-known messaging app in the US, but in many parts of the globe, it’s an essential part of everyday life. The Facebook-owned app is easily one of the most popular messaging services in the world.

To understand WhatsApp’s popularity, you need to understand it was one of the first mobile apps to offer free, internet-based messaging. Instead of sending texts using cellular-data networks, where fees may apply, WhatsApp primarily relies on a Wi-Fi connection to send and receive messages and calls for free. 

Fast forward to now: WhatsApp is preferred by over 2 billion users for its ability to streamline communications, no matter their device or location.

Not only is WhatsApp simple to use, it also offers far more features and customizations than traditional SMS messaging — all for free. If you’re already familiar with the app, you may be interested in our favorite WhatsApp tips and tricks.

But if you’re a newbie, you’ll want to check out our guide below. From how to sign up to WhatsApp’s best features, here’s everything you need to know to get started.

Table of Contents: Masthead StickyHow does WhatsApp work?

The main draw of WhatsApp is it allows you to send and receive calls and messages using only an internet connection, which means it’s virtually free to use and ideal for international calling. There are no fees to sign up, and no data plan allowances to worry about. 

While WhatsApp is similar to other messaging services like iMessage or Messages by Google, it still offers a few key advantages, the most significant being cross-platform functionality (between Android and iOS, for example). 

At a glance, WhatsApp may seem like nothing more than a text messaging app, but it can do much more. Here’s a brief rundown of WhatsApp’s core features:

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Voice and video calls: In addition to voice calls, WhatsApp also offers video calls, including a group function, which allows up to eight participants on one call. 

Voice messaging: You can record and send voice messages to individual chats or group chats.

Secure messaging: WhatsApp uses end-to-end encryption, a secure communication standard where only the people who are messaging can read the messages. 

Photos and video sharing: You can send videos, photos, and GIFs without worrying that your images will be pixelated or not downloadable, which can sometimes happen across SMS messages between different mobile platforms and wireless carriers. 

Document sharing: WhatsApp lets you send all kinds of documents, such as PDFs, spreadsheets, and slideshows without the hassle of email or separate document-sharing apps. 

Desktop access: WhatsApp offers a desktop version for Mac and for PC. 

WhatsApp Business: WhatsApp’s dedicated business account is designed so entrepreneurs can showcase their products and connect with their customers on a platform that’s convenient and familiar.

How to use WhatsApp

Getting started

To get started using WhatsApp, you’ll need to download the app (for iOS or Android) and create an account. 


After downloading the app, you’ll notice you need your phone number to …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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