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How to make a free international call using WhatsApp

No more huge phone bills.
By
December 20, 2021
WhatsApp by Facebook stock photo 5

Twenty years ago, if you wanted to make an international phone call, you would have to use a landline phone and pay a lot of money for the privilege. But with the internet, those days are long gone. With messaging apps like WhatsApp, you can now make international calls for the cost of the internet data it consumes. Here’s how to make a free international call on WhatsApp and how to reduce the internet data that call will consume.

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

QUICK ANSWER

To make a WhatsApp call, select the contact you want to call. Then choose either the phone icon or the video icon in the top right-hand corner of the screen. You may be asked to grant permission to WhatsApp for access to the camera and microphone.


JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS

How to make a free international call on WhatsApp (Android and iOS)

To make a call on the WhatsApp mobile app, go to the contact you wish to call. In the top right-hand corner, you’ll see icons for phone and video. Tap on the one you want to use. If this is the first time you’re making such a call, your phone will ask permission to access and use your camera and microphone.

whatsapp mobile

The call will then start ringing. You can switch between audio and video calling at any time by tapping the video and audio icons. You can also mute yourself using the microphone icon.

whatsapp mobile call

How to make a free international call on WhatsApp (desktop app)

First, we should clarify that this is for the desktop app, not the web app. WhatsApp Web does not provide a call feature.

On the desktop app, go to the contact you want to call. In the top right-hand corner, you’ll see phone and video icons. Click on the one you want to use. If this is the first time you’re using the call function, your computer will ask you for access to your camera and microphone.

whatsapp desktop

Once you click either the phone icon or video icon, it will start to ring. Even if you chose the phone icon, you can easily switch to a video call by clicking the video icon on the far left. Clicking the microphone button will mute you.

whatsapp desktop ringing

Read more: What do the WhatsApp checkmarks mean?

FAQs

Can calls be made on WhatsApp Web?

Currently, WhatsApp Web does not have phone and video calls baked in.

How can I add an international number to WhatsApp?

If the person you’re calling is already in your phone’s contact list, then they’ll also show up on WhatsApp. If you don’t wish to put them in your phone’s contact book, we have a handy article on how to circumvent that requirement.

How can I reduce the amount of internet data for each call?

On the mobile app, go to Settings—>Storage and Data. Toggle the option Use Less Data for Calls. This will lower the amount of data taken from your internet plan when you make WhatsApp phone calls. However, the downside is that the call quality may suffer slightly.

Does the international dialing code need to be added to each WhatsApp call?

Yes. Obviously, for WhatsApp to know the origin of the country of the person you’re calling, it needs the country’s dialing code. If you don’t know the country code, you can look it up here. Note that, instead of the 0 at the start of the dialing code, you must instead type a +. On a mobile device, this can be accomplished by holding down the 0 key.

Does WhatsApp charge for international calls?

WhatsApp calls are free of charge. The only real “cost” is the amount of data deducted from your monthly internet data plan. If you have an unlimited data plan, then this is not an issue.