Free talk and text with WhatsApp

WhatsApp Messenger is a free messaging app available for smartphones. The idea behind WhatsApp is to switch from your phone’s regular SMS in order to send and receive messages, including photo, video and ausio media messages for free. You can download the app and use it for free for one year, after which time it will cost 99 cents per year.

How does it work?

WhatsApp uses your phone’s internet connection or wifi to send a message and call friends and family (call feature available on Android and Blackberry only), and since it works like your email and web browser, there is no cost involved in using the app.

In addition to regular messaging, WhatsApp users can create groups, adding whichever contacts they want, and send to the group unlimited images, video and audio media messages.

Who can use it?

Anyone with an iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone and Nokia with access to the internet can download and use WhatsApp. And, yes, those phones can all message each other.

Provided you have internet access, have not exceeded the internet data allowance or set your phone to roaming, you will be able to use WhatsApp without extra costs. If you have a Nokia S40 or Nokia S60 device, it is strongly recommend that you have an unlimited data plan before using WhatsApp, since the app is a little data-hungry.

WhatsApp can be useful and cost-effective for staying in touch while overseas, provided you use the app over wifi only. Make sure to switch off roaming while travelling to avoid additional data charges.

How to set up and send a text on WhatsApp?

Step 1: Locate and download WhatsApp from your mobile app store and follow the prompts to set up your account. Ensure you click ‘allow’ to let the app to access your mobile contacts. This will save you from manually adding each person’s number.

If you discover that the app has only loaded half your phone contacts, go to ‘Settings’ on the bottom right corner of your screen, then go to ‘Profile’ and select ‘Use Your Facebook Info’. This will sync all your Facebook contacts into the app as well, prompting the app to add your remaining phone contacts.

Step 2: Type in your phone number and name or connect using your Facebook account. On the bottom of the screen there is a tool bar with your favourite contacts, your availability status, your entire contact list, your chat history and the app settings.

Step 3: To send a free message, tap the ‘Chats’ icon at the bottom of the screen. In the top right corner of the next page you’ll see a square with an image of a pencil. Tap it and then find and select the person you wish to message. Type in your message and hit send just in your phone’s regular messaging service.

Step 4: To speak to the person for free (on Android and Blackberry only), hit the Call button in the messaging box. And to leave a voice message, tap the microphone symbol to the right of the text box. The symbol of the arrow inside the circle to the left of the text box allows you to send videos and photos.

You can download WhatsApp here.

Have you used WhatsApp? Do you enjoy using it or is there a different messaging app you prefer?


Written by Amelia Theodorakis

A writer and communications specialist with eight years’ in startups, SMEs, not-for-profits and corporates. Interests and expertise in gender studies, history, finance, banking, human interest, literature and poetry.

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