We've given you a bit of an introduction to WhatsApp, but what's really the deal with the phone-based multi-mode communication tool? We've compiled a list of things that we liked and didn't like about WhatsApp, for your reviewing pleasure. You can also just poke around www.whatsapp.com if you want to see and decide for yourself.
Cross-platform -- Though most of our tutorials for WhatsApp are made using a phone that runs the Android operating system, WhatsApp also works on iPhones, Windows Phones, BlackBerries, and many other types of modern smart phones.
Adding contacts is secure and easy -- WhatsApp will automatically detect people in your phone's address book who use WhatsApp, so you don't have to manually add them as contacts. Plus, you can privately send and accept contact invitations to and from people in your address book, or whom you know from elsewhere. You only connect with the people who matter to you.
Multiple modes of communication -- WhatsApp gives you lots of different ways to connect with friends and family. You can write text messages, record audio or video messages, take and send pictures, or upload a file from your phone.
Get together with groups -- WhatsApp allows you to create custom groups of up to 100 people, so you can send and receive messages with several of your contacts at once.
Safeguard your chat sessions -- You can back up your WhatsApp conversations to your phone's internal memory storage, or to Google Drive. That way, if you accidentally delete your messages or otherwise lose them or Whatsapp, just re-install WhatsApp, and you'll get all of your messages back!
An affordable alternative for some of your phone's functions -- WhatsApp allows you to make phone calls and exchange text messages with the people you care about, without having to buy extra texting plans or phone minutes. Plus, it will never show you advertisements!
Let your voice be free -- WhatsApp used to charge money to use their service, but now, they're letting people use it absolutely free!
Made for mobile -- WhatsApp really only works on mobile smart phones. It can work on desktop computers, but you pretty much need to have it working on your phone for the computer version to work.
Communication is a two-way street -- Though WhatsApp works across many different types of smart phones, it only works if both you and the person or people whom you're trying to contact are using WhatsApp, too.
Share with care -- As with most communication and social tools, once you send a message over WhatsApp, you're largely not in control of how long the other person keeps it or who they can share it with. Think carefully about what you send over WhatsApp, including who might be able to see it.
Groups gum up privacy a bit -- You can block contacts on WhatsApp who are annoying or harassing you, but if you are both part of the same group, you will still see messages that they send to that group, and they will see your messages to that group. If you want to totally avoid the person, you will need to leave the group.
WhatsApp is a free way to extend some of the capabilities of your phone without tacking on extra phone-related charges. It works on many modern smart phones, and allows you to communicate with your contacts in pretty much whatever way you want. Contacts are added based on your address book or private invitations, so you only talk to who you want to talk to on WhatsApp. Plus, you can form groups to chat with several of your contacts at once, and back up your conversations so that you'll never totally lose the important things that you talk with your contacts about on WhatsApp.
There are things to keep in mind when using WhatsApp, though. It more or less only works on smart phones (as opposed to desktop computers), and the people you're trying to contact with it have to be using WhatsApp as well for you to get anywhere. And, as with many modern social tools, you have to think carefully about the kind of messages that you send, and who else might be able to see them. This is especially true with groups, where even people whom you've blocked can see what messages you've sent (and can send messages that you can see, too).
We have a couple more informational articles about WhatsApp ahead, if you'd like some more general things to keep in mind while you're using it. If you'd like to get started right away, though, skip on over to our tutorial on how to download and install WhatsApp!
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Was something in this tutorial missing, confusing, or out of date? Or did it give you all the information you needed, and you just want to say "thanks"? We'd love to hear what you thought!