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What is WhatsApp used for?

WhatsApp is used by billions of people, but what can you actually do with the app? We’ll break it down.

whatsapp logo on blurred background
Image: KnowTechie

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Anybody who spends time keeping in touch with family and friends worldwide probably already knows what WhatsApp is. Billions of people use it monthly worldwide to communicate and keep in touch.

But, what exactly is WhatsApp used for? To some users, WhatsApp is essentially the greenish chat app they use for messaging their friends, family, or business partners.

While that is correct, there’s a lot more that you can do with WhatsApp. Whether you already knew about WhatsApp or you’re getting your first phone, we’re about to show you what you can do with WhatsApp.

What you need to know about using WhatsApp

whatsapp logo
Image: WhatsApp

WhatsApp was founded by Jan Koum and Brian Acton in 2009 as a free cross-platform instant messenger and VOIP service. It was acquired for $19 billion USD in 2014 by Meta, owners of Facebook and Instagram.

You can download WhatsApp from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store. If you already have it installed, make sure it is updated to get all of the features mentioned here.

READ MORE: What do the checkmarks mean on WhatsApp?

Besides your phone, you can also use WhatsApp on your computer as WhatsApp Web, WhatsApp Desktop, or WhatsApp Windows. WhatsApp macOS will soon be available, as well.

Your account will be synced across all your devices. That way, you can start a chat on your phone, carry on on WhatsApp Web, and finish off on WhatsApp Windows.

WhatsApp chat features for individual and group chats

whatsapp communities example
Image: WhatsApp

You can chat with other WhatsApp users individually or in a group. A group comprises different WhatsApp users and can accommodate up to 512 members.

There is also a new Community feature that lets you build your own social circle.

While chatting, you can add some spice to your interactions by using emojis, emojis as reactions, and stickers. You can even create your own custom stickers via WhatsApp Web.

On top of that, WhatsApp users can attach files such as photos, GIFs, videos, and voice notes. What’s more, you can make free voice calls, and even video calls. The app also supports group video calls.

And if you send an unintended message or send an intended message to the wrong recipient, the app allows you to delete it. You can now also undelete a WhatsApp message.

delete message screen on messaging
The new ‘Undo delete’ features in WhatsApp (Image: WABetaInfo)

WhatsApp is also used for discreet messaging. Disappearing messages, View once messages, and self-destructing messages can protect sensitive information shared during a chat.

On top of that, you can even set your messages to self-delete by default.

WhatsApp also has a built-in search tool to find an old chat, for instance, when looking for information previously shared with you, such as an address or bank account details.

You can also easily reply (including private replies in group chats), forward, star, delete, or copy and paste a message while chatting.

You can equally share media, documents, and links, and easily retrieve them at any time from their respective tabs.

WhatsApp is used for business transactions and more

whatsapp business screenshot
Image: KnowTechie

With billions of users, you can easily exchange goods and services via WhatsApp for free. That means WhatsApp is used for business, as well as personal use.

For instance, WhatsApp Business allows you to engage with customers, improve sales, and provide personalized customer support, or set up chatbots to automate your customer support.

For a small business, you can easily create groups and invite your contacts to join. You can add members yourself or share an invitation link with which members can join. Thereafter, you can select group admins and assign roles.

You can advertise your products or services to group members and take orders via DM. WhatsApp lets you privately reply to questions in group chats. You can also use the Broadcast feature to send out bulk messages, but don’t get spammy!

You can also advertise your products or services using your Status. People can view them and then get in touch with you.

You can even connect your account to e-commerce platforms like Shopify or even Facebook Marketplace.

Key WhatsApp security and privacy features

whastapp logo on encrypted background
Image: KnowTechie

The messaging app has a lot of handy security and privacy features, as well, including end-to-end encryption for a private and secure experience.

You can manage your Privacy settings and decide who can view your last seen status, profile photo, about info, status, and your live location. You can also set who can add you to groups.

For instance, you can use two WhatsApp accounts on a mobile phone with Dual Apps support. This way you can keep one account for your private use.

You can set up two-step verification and fingerprint lock to protect your account even if you’re using dual apps.

You can equally hide your online status, so others don’t see when you’re online or your Last seen status. And you can hide your profile picture too.

You can quietly leave a group chat without others knowing, except the admins. And if a group chat is getting too noisy, you can mute notifications.

If you don’t want others to know when you’ve read their messages, there’s a setting to disable read receipts. You can also do this by reading messages in flight mode.

And if a contact is becoming unruly, you can easily block them. This way, you can keep trolls out of your space. You can always unblock them at any time.

There’s a feature that allows you to share your live location so your loved ones can know your current location, but be careful who you share it with.

Personalizing your WhatsApp account

dark mode on messaging app
Image: WhatsApp

Starting with your profile picture, you can easily customize the look and feel of your account. You can also change your Display name and your About info.

You can change your theme with a dark theme, change your wallpaper, program your Send button, set media visibility, and adjust font size.

WhatsApp also allows you to back up your chats and archive or export your chat history. And if you’re using a new phone, you can now move your chat history from Android to iPhone, and from iPhone to Android.

Getting the most out of your WhatsApp account

At this point, you should have a better idea of what WhatsApp is used for and what features it contains.

To recap, you can use it to send text messages, make voice and video calls, advertise your business, promote a cause, or grow a community, among others.

Bookmark this site for the latest information, tips, and guides on how to use WhatsApp and other modern-day technology.

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Joy Okumoko is a freelance technology writer who loves all things tech. She spends her spare time crocheting and working on her crafts.

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