What is WhatsApp? & How to use it | ϲֱ쿪

ϲֱ쿪

Skip to content
Please donate

What is WhatsApp?

Many people now use WhatsApp. It's an easy way to stay connected with loved ones – through photos, phone calls and video calls, as well as messages. 


How do I get WhatsApp?

If you have a smartphone, you can download the WhatsApp app.

  • If you have an iPhone, then you'll need to use the App Store.
  • If you have an Android phone, then you'll need to use the Play Store.

WhatsApp is free to download. 

Click here to find out more about how to download apps

You can use WhatsApp on your computer or tablet – this is known as WhatsApp Web. However, because WhatsApp needs a phone number and SIM card to run, you must already have WhatsApp downloaded on your phone first to connect WhatsApp Web up with this. You can't video or audio call on WhatsApp Web.

Looking for a computer training class?

Many of our local ϲֱ쿪s provide computer and IT training, to make getting online straightforward and enjoyable.


Is WhatsApp free to use?

WhatsApp is free to download from the App Store or Play Store. It uses your phone's internet connection and allows you to send unlimited messages, pictures and videos, so you don't need to worry about using up your allocated text or call allowances.

However, you may end up being charged extra if you go over your data allowance, so it's a good idea to connect to Wi-Fi if you're using WhatsApp, especially if you're using it for things that use a lot of data, like video calls or downloading videos.

The video below shows you how you can check how much data you're using through WhatsApp on the WhatsApp app itself:


How do I use WhatsApp?

WhatsApp is simple to use once you get the hang of it – it functions very similarly to texting on smartphones. This video shows you how to get started on WhatsApp, including how to add contacts from your phone.

How to send messages on WhatsApp:

  1. Open WhatsApp on your phone.
  2. Click the icon labelled 'chats' from the panel of icons at the bottom of the screen. This will take you to the messages tab.
  3. Tap the icon of a notepad and pen on the top right-hand corner of your screen to compose a message. 
  4. Choose a contact from your list or type the name of the person you want to message in the search bar.
  5. Once you've chosen who you want to message, you can type your message into the message box. The messages you send will appear in a green box on the right-hand side of the screen and the messages you receive will appear in a grey box on the left-hand side of your screen.

Once the person you’re chatting with has seen your message, two blue ticks will appear next to it.

There are extra features you can use, like sending photos and videos:

  1. Open a conversation with the person you want to send a photo to.
  2. Click the '+' icon next to the message box. You can then choose whether you want to take a photo or video to send (by clicking 'camera') or whether you want to send a photo or video you've already taken (by clicking 'photo & video library'). 

Sharing photos can be a great way to feel closer to people, especially when you're not able to meet up in person.


How do I make phone and video calls over WhatsApp?

You can also use WhatsApp to make phone calls. Using WhatsApp will mean that you don’t use up the minutes you get with your phone contract (or on your pay-as-you-go contract). And because calling over WhatsApp uses the internet, you can even call people who live abroad at no extra cost.

Be careful – if you're using data instead of a Wi-Fi connection, making calls over WhatsApp will use your data allowance.Video calling particularly uses a lot of data. If you go over this allowance, or if data isn't included in your allowance, you may be charged. 

If you want to make a phone call using WhatsApp, follow these steps:

  1. Open WhatsApp on your phone.
  2. Click the icon labelled 'calls' from the panel of icons at the bottom of the screen. This will take you to the calls tab.
  3. Tap the icon of a phone with a '+' symbol next to it on the top right-hand corner of your screen to make a call. 
  4. Choose a contact from your list or type the name of the person you want to call in the search bar.
  5. Click the icon that looks like a phone next to their name to start calling them. If you want to video call them, click the icon that looks like a camera instead.
  6. To end the call, just click the red phone icon.


What is a WhatsApp group?

You can use WhatsApp groups to message multiple people at once. This is really handy if you want to chat with a few family members, neighbours, or members of a club or group, like a community club or a carers group. 

Someone you know might add you to a WhatsApp group if they have your number, or you can set up your own group by following these steps: 

  1. Open WhatsApp on your phone. 
  2. Click the icon labelled 'chats' from the panel of icons at the bottom of the screen. This will take you to the messages tab.
  3. Tap the icon of a notepad and pen on the top right-hand corner of your screen.
  4. Click 'new group'.
  5. Choose participants from your contact list by clicking on their names. 
  6. In the section labelled 'group subject', add a name for the group, such as 'Photography club'.
  7. You can even choose an image for the group by tapping on the camera icon.
  8.  Now you're ready to start chatting. Remember – everyone in the group will be sent the message at the same time.


Is WhatsApp safe?

Your messages and calls are automatically protected by something called 'end-to-end encryption'. This means that only you and the person you're chatting with can read what's sent.

But as with everything online, there are risks to be aware of – including scams, viruses and misinformation. Here are some tips for staying safe when using WhatsApp:

  • Only message people you know. Anyone with your number can send you a message or add you to a WhatsApp group, so make sure that you know and trust them before chatting to them.
  • Don't click on links or download files sent from people who aren't contacts. These could contain viruses or take you to fake websites that are set up by scammers to get your personal or financial information.
  • Look out for misinformation. False claims or fake stories can spread easily online. WhatsApp has created a list of tips to limit the spread of rumours or fake news. .
  • Make sure you're using the most up-to-date version. If you're not sure how to check that you're using the most up-to-date version, or how to download any updates, visit our page on downloading apps.

Phone icon We're here to help

We offer support through our free advice line on 0800 678 1602. Lines are open 8am-7pm, 365 days a year. We also have specialist advisers at over 120 local ϲֱ쿪s.

Share this page

Last updated: Jul 10 2023

You might also be interested in...

Using social media

Social media and social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are great ways to stay connected – by...

How to download apps

Apps, or applications, are a type of program that you download to your smartphone, tablet or computer. There are...

Email essentials

Email is electronic mail. It's a free and easy way to stay in touch with family and friends. You'll need an email...

Become part of our story

Sign up today

Back to top