How to use WhatsApp: A step-by-step beginner’s guide

The first step in learning how to use WhatsApp is installing the app, and it can be finished in just a few minutes. As mentioned above, the app is completely free and only requires a phone number to sign up.

That’s all there is to it! You’re now ready to start chatting with any of your contacts that have WhatsApp installed. You can also manually add contacts to WhatsApp if you don’t want to import your entire contact list.

Before you start chatting, there is one more step you may want to take. Creating a profile will help your contacts know who you are, even if they don’t have your number saved in their contacts. You can add a picture, name, and a short bio.

You can also change your phone number from this screen, and the process is the same as when you first set up your account. It will send a verification code via SMS, and once confirmed all of your chats and contacts will be transferred to that number.

Credit: Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Now that your profile is set, it’s time to get to the task at hand: chatting! The first time you open the app you won’t have any chats open, but you can start a new chat by tapping on the chat bubble in the bottom right.

From there, simply select the contact you want to chat with from the list. If you already have a previous chat with that contact, it will open that instead of a brand new chat. All that’s left now is to type your message at the bottom of the screen. After entering your text, tap the arrow icon that appears alongside the text box to send it.

You can also send pictures or files on WhatsApp by tapping the paperclip or camera icons at the bottom of the screen. WhatsApp has a built-in camera app, but it’s better to use your normal camera app to take the picture and select it in the gallery to send.

You can also send pictures or files on WhatsApp by tapping the paperclip or camera icon.

To start a group chat, tap the same chat bubble as before, then tap New Group. You can then select the members you want to invite, enter a name for the group, and start chatting!

There are all kinds of additional features available, so be sure to check out our list of WhatsApp tips and tricks for more info.

How to use gifs on WhatsApp

How to use gifs on WhatsApp

Sending gifs in WhatsApp should be a simple task, but the exact steps are far from obvious. To make matters worse, they differ between iPhones and Android phones!

To send a gif on Android, you first need to open a chat and tap on the smiley face next to the text box. Then, tap the gif text on the bottom of the screen to see a selection of the most popular gifs at the moment. To search for more gifs, tap the magnifying glass in the bottom left and enter your keywords. Once you’ve found and selected your gif, all that’s left is to press send.

It’s worth noting that the process may be easier depending on which of brand phone you have, or if you have a different keyboard installed. Often you can simply tap the gif text above the keyboard instead of the complicated process above.

To send a gif on an iPhone, open a chat and tap the plus icon in the bottom left. Then, select photo and video library from the menu and tap the gif text in the bottom left corner. Tapping the magnifying glass icon in the bottom left with allow you to search, and you can also save your favorite gifs for frequent use by starring them. Once selected, just tap send.

How to send a gif on WhatsApp (Android):

  1. Open a WhatsApp chat window.
  2. Tap the smiley face to the left of the text box.
  3. Tap the gif text at the bottom of the screen.
  4. (Optional) Tap the magnifying glass icon to search for more gifs.
  5. Select the gif and press send.

How to send a gif on WhatsApp (iPhone):

  1. Open a WhatsApp chat window.
  2. Tap the plus icon in the bottom left, then select photo and video library.
  3. Tap the gif text in the bottom left corner.
  4. (Optional) Tap the magnifying glass icon in the bottom left to search for more gifs.
  5. Select the gif and press send.

How to call using WhatsApp

One of the most useful features when using WhatsApp internationally is the ability to make phone calls. Unlike standard international voice calls, WhatsApp calls use your internet connection rather than your phone line, so they’re completely free.

To start a phone call on WhatsApp, all you need to do is open a chat window and tap the phone icon in the top right. If it’s a group, you can even select multiple people to call at the same time.

The steps for how to make a video call on WhatsApp are virtually identical. Just tap the video camera icon next to the phone icon. It’s a great alternative to Facetime, especially for Android users!

How to use WhatsApp on your computer

how to use whatsapp web

If you are the type of person who prefers typing on a keyboard (or just don’t like looking at your phone all day), you can also use WhatsApp from a computer. You’ll need to keep your phone nearby, but it can be a very convenient way to chat or send files from your PC or Mac.

How to use WhatsApp on your computer:

  1. On your computer browser, navigate to web.whatsapp.com.
  2. Open WhatsApp on your phone, tap the three dots in the top right, then WhatsApp Web.
  3. Tap the plus icon at the top right.
  4. Point your phone camera at the QR code on your computer screen.
  5. WhatsApp should instantly log in on your computer.

If you don’t want to use a browser, you can also install the WhatsApp PC client directly on your computer. If you think someone is using WhatsApp Web without your permission, you can remove access from your phone by following the first two steps above.

How to use WhatsApp on an iPad or Android tablet

Apple iPad

Credit: Eric Zeman / Android Authority

With iPadOS adding tons of new features every year that make it more and more like a computer, it might come as a surprise to learn that using WhatsApp on your iPad is quite difficult. You can install the app directly, but then you have to remove it from your phone, which obviously isn’t ideal.

Read also: Apple iPad at 10: A decade of tablets

The best way to use WhatsApp on your iPad or Android tablet is with the web portal outlined above. Even then, there’s an extra step involved due to accessing the site from a mobile browser.

The trick here is to request the desktop version of web.whatsapp.com. This will tell WhatsApp that you’re using a computer instead of a mobile device, and allow you to connect your phone with the same steps above. How exactly you request the desktop version will depend on which browser you’re using, but we’ve outlined the steps for Safari below.

How to use WhatsApp on an iPad:

  1. Open the Safari browser and navigate to web.whatsapp.com.
  2. Tap the three dots next to the URL field, then tap Request Desktop Site.
  3. Open WhatsApp on your phone, tap Settings in the top right, then WhatsApp Web.
  4. Tap the plus icon at the top right.
  5. Point your phone camera at the QR code on your iPad screen.
  6. WhatsApp should instantly log in on your iPad.

Note that this trick works with both Android tablets and iPads of all sizes, and they can be paired with both Android phones and iPhones in any combination.


That’s it for our beginner’s guide to how to use WhatsApp! Hopefully you can now connect with your friends and family, no matter where they are in the world. Be sure to check out some of our other WhatsApp guides below!

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