With around 1 billion people using it all over the world, WhatsApp has earned its reputation as one of the most popular chat and instant messaging apps ever created (when Facebook buys up an app, you know they must be doing something right). Downloading WhatsApp on your cell phone lets you send free, unlimited text messages, pictures, videos and audio recordings over Wi-Fi, and you can even make free calls to anywhere in the world.
Creating a WhatsApp account is a must for anyone who has friends, family or business partners in another country, since the annual subscription of just 99 cents is about a million times cheaper than an international calling and text messaging plan (and to be honest, I’ve been using WhatsApp for 3 years now and I’ve never been charged – maybe Facebook made it free when they bought it). Even if you don’t have any international contacts, though, WhatsApp is an all-around great messaging app, with a clean design and great functionality. Plus, all of your messages are secure and private (no NSA spying allowed) thanks to end-to-end encryption.
You can create a WhatsApp account in just 5 simple steps. Read on to find out how.
Create a WhatsApp account
Your WhatsApp account will be linked to your mobile phone number, so there are no usernames or annoying passwords to remember. This means that to create a WhatsApp account, you’ll have to use your phone (tablets won’t work). However, you can use other devices to access your WhatsApp via WhatsApp Web once you’ve created it on your phone.
- On your cell phone (Android, iPhone, Windows, BlackBerry, Nokia, Symbian), go to your OS’s usual app library, such as the Google Play Store for Android or iTunes App Store for iPhone. Search for “WhatsApp” in the search bar, or browse top apps to find WhatsApp.
- Download and install WhatsApp onto your phone. This may take anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes depending on your network connection. The app is 100% free to download.
- When the installation is finished, open WhatsApp. You can do this by tapping on the “download complete” notification if you get one, by tapping “Open” from the app’s page in Play Store or the App Store, or by going to your phone’s home screen and tapping on the WhatsApp shortcut that was automatically created.
- Enter your country code and mobile phone number. This number will be your account identifier and will also be used to verify your account. You’ll receive a verification code by SMS to the number you entered, or you can request a phone call to verify instead.
- Enter the verification code you received when prompted.
That’s all you have to do to create a WhatsApp account. The next part happens automatically, when the app will scan your phone’s contacts/phonebook for any numbers that are using WhatsApp, and those numbers will be added to your WhatsApp contacts automatically. It really couldn’t be easier.
After that, you might be prompted to enter your name and choose a profile picture. You don’t really have to use your real name if you don’t want to, and there’s no rule that you have to be in your profile picture, but it’s helpful for your contacts to know who they’re talking to. You can skip the picture and come back to it later if you prefer.
Notes on using your WhatsApp account
WhatsApp’s biggest attraction is the ability to send free messages and make free calls over a Wi-Fi connection. Remember though, just like with any app, if it can’t find any Wi-Fi to connect to it will try to use mobile data instead (unless you have mobile data turned off on your device). This can cause data charges depending on your plan.
To use your WhatsApp messenger on other devices, like a tablet or your PC, you can use WhatsApp Web. The catch is that you have to already have the mobile account created – you can’t create an independent account using WhatsApp Web, it just mirrors the one on your phone.
All you have to do is use the browser on your computer or tablet and go to web.whatsapp.com. You might have to select “request desktop site” if you’re using a tablet for this to work. What you should see is a QR code on the screen. You’re going to scan the code through the WhatsApp on your phone to link the two devices. To do that, open the menu in WhatsApp on your phone (usually three dots) and tap “WhatsApp Web”. This should open a special scanner that you will use to scan the code on your other device’s screen.
The code is time sensitive, so if it doesn’t work the first time, you just need to refresh the page with the code to get a new one.
Now you’ll be able to see everything in your phone’s WhatsApp on your PC or tablet, too. This is nice if you want to be able to use a real keyboard, or see multimedia files on a bigger screen.
Other than that, everything in WhatsApp is pretty straightforward and easy to figure out. You can explore the menu options to change things like when to backup your chats, which types of files to back up, etc. You can also change your profile picture and edit a status that will show up next to your name in your friends’ contact lists.