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WhatsApp Messengerfor iOS

2.19.30

7

Mobile data can be sketchy. WhatsApp full-featured messaging service can use WiFi connections, going far beyond the basic calls and texts with amazing group capabilities and secure chats.

A simple way to communicate

Facebook-owned WhatsApp has a clean and clear ad-free interface without hogging memory.

Over 1 billion people in more than 180 countries use WhatsApp. Call or send a text whenever you want -- there’s never a charge for incoming or outgoing calls or messages. WhatsApp connects the world with a WiFi connection for person-to-person messaging, like texting, but with a twist. WhatsApp is a secure, free way to send a message. You will never have to worry about someone else stumbling onto your private texts, images, or videos.

Recent versions of WhatsApp feature end-to-end encryption so your messages are just that: your messages. Your calls and texts are always secure. No one, not even WhatsApp, can get into your messages and read, watch, or listen to them.

Quick start with WhatsApp

Getting started with WhatsApp is easy. Skip the hassle of hunting down contacts from within the service. WhatsApp adds connections from your phone’s contact list in a snap. Bypass the email clutter or the nuisance of file-sharing apps. PDFs, spreadsheets, slideshows, and documents of up to 100 megabytes are allowed so you can forward along the info you want to the people who need it, no problem.

Tell everyone the good news. Using broadcast lists, send one message one time, to the contacts you want without pesky bulk invites. With WhatsApp, ghosting is a thing of the past. Well, almost. WhatsApp removes the guesswork. You can see your message has been delivered, and if it has been read, with check marks just like Skype and Telegram.

The WhatsApp groups feature is where WhatsApp excels. Think of it like a community bulletin board under your control. Creating groups is fast. Open up your contacts list, select friends or family, and then slap on a name. Give different groups different names to keep all your important contacts separate. Make groups for coworkers, fantasy football friends, and for everyone planning the next family reunion. Share the next night out locale or alert the group to your job promotion.

As the group admin, you can invite people to join your group one of three ways. You can tap the person you want to invite, click “More,” and then “Group Info.” Or you can swipe the specific group to the left from the chat button, tapping “More,” and then “Group Info.” Copy the link or share it. Or flashback to 2005 with a scannable QR code.

The only downside to group formation is this: the link is shareable by anyone in the group. This isn’t a dictatorship, so if Uncle Eddie decides to invite weird cousin Al to the family reunion planning group, there is nothing you can do about it.

WhatsApp can help you prevent an out of control group catastrophe. If your group doesn’t need the ability to respond to a message each time you post an update, you can set your group so only admins have that authority. You can make anyone, and everyone, an admin -- but no one can change your admin status. If you want to throw off the shackles of admin status, you’ll have to leave the group. If you have been invited to a group in Telegram, the service will keep your phone number private, and only display your name and image.

Online or last seen timestamps

See if your friend is online or find out when your friend was last using WhatsApp with the “last seen” timestamp feature. If your friend is labeled “online,” it means their WhatsApp is running in the background and is Internet-connected.

Tired of everyone calling you out for not responding to a message fast enough? Disable the blue ticks on WhatsApp to bypass the pressure of an instant response. If your boss or needy friend also uses WhatsApp, once they see a read receipt, there’s no pretending you were too busy to respond. Note, however, if you turn off read receipts, you will no longer see the read receipts of others.

Is there a better alternative?

For all the great free WhatsApp features, there is a downside for video lovers. WhatsApp has a 16 megabyte cap on videos. While you can switch your camera to a low resolution for a longer video, other iPhone messaging apps like Telegram and Skype offer significantly large media files. Telegram is a close WhatsApp competitor -- it even bears a resemblance to the app’s minimalist interface. Telegram and Viber Messenger offer secure connections with one extra step, the ability to set a message to self-destruct and disappear.

Yet, WhatsApp rises above messaging apps, like Viber and Kik, because it is easy to begin chatting. WhatsApp doesn’t require a profile. You don’t need to ask for a username or wait for a link to reach out to someone in your contact list if you have their phone number. Anyone who has your number can find you on the app and send a message. No one can hide behind a fake identity either. WhatsApp cuts through the phonies.

Sending a message is fast. Editing a message is impossible. Other iPhone messaging services like Telegram offer inline editing. WhatsApp has yet to hop on board so if you make a mistake, you are stuck with it.

Where can I run this program?

WhatsApp runs on iOS 8.0 and later versions. You and your BFF have iPhones, the rest of the gang have phones with other operating systems. How do you group chat? WhatsApp. WhatsApp may have begun on Android and iOS, but it does one better, working on tablets, the Internet, desktop, and other smartphone brands. Your account will sync across your devices for a seamless experience.

Our take

WhatsApp’s cross-platform instant messaging service offers steadfast reliability, while relieving any fears about online privacy. Messaging transparency, group control, and international capabilities make WhatsApp a must-have freebie download. Even Grandma can get in on this one.

Should I download it?

For all the perks of WhatsApp, the great group features, the quick start, and zero learning curve, WhatsApp is only free for the first year. See what you think before you spend money on what other messaging iPhone apps do for free.

WhatsApp Messengerfor iOS

2.19.30

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