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WhatsApp on KaiOS: What you're getting, what's missing

WhatsApp is indeed available on KaiOS, but how does it differ from the Android version? We've got the rundown for you.

Published onMay 10, 2019

WhatsApp on KaiOS.

WhatsApp is certainly the most popular instant messaging app on smartphones, having come a long way since its 2009 debut. Fortunately, the Facebook-owned developer has decided to bring the app to the fledgling KaiOS platform too. This combination means we’ve got a significantly reduced barrier of entry for the app.

I spent a week with a $17 KaiOS phone – here’s what I learned

Just how much Android DNA is still present in the WhatsApp for KaiOS version? What’s been removed completely? We’ve got you covered with our quick-fire guide to the differences between the Android version and WhatsApp for KaiOS.

Messaging and sharing in WhatsApp for KaiOS

Thankfully, the KaiOS WhatsApp flavor delivers most of the core functionality, so that means chatting, group chats, media sharing, and voice notes.

There are quite a few big casualties here though, such as audio/video calls, quoting, WhatsApp Web, and GIF/emoji menus. But the other missing features might not be a massive deal for some users.

What’s present:

  • Core text messaging (including group messaging)
  • Multimedia sharing (including pictures, music, and videos)
  • Contact sharing
  • Viewing multimedia history in chat/group chat
  • Sending/receiving voice notes
  • Location sharing
  • Report user
  • Forwarding, copying, deleting messages

What’s missing:

  • Audio/video calls
  • Document sharing
  • Live location tracking
  • Quoting messages
  • Emoji menu (received emoji are tiny, monochrome images)
  • GIF menu (GIFs can still be received)
  • WhatsApp Web
  • Broadcasts

Profiles and accounts in WhatsApp for KaiOS

WhatsApp for KaiOS comes over pretty much intact in this regard, with WhatsApp Status being the big absentee here. Otherwise, important features like two-step verification, account info requests, and block functionality are indeed present here.

What’s present:

  • About text (e.g. “Hi there! I am using WhatsApp”) and visibility
  • Security notifications (alerting you when a contact’s security code changes)
  • Two-step verification
  • Request account information
  • Delete account
  • Last seen controls
  • Profile photo visibility
  • Read receipts
  • Blocking and block list

What’s missing:

  • WhatsApp Status

The MTN Smart S KaiOS phone, showing the home screen.

Chats and notifications in WhatsApp for KaiOS

Switching to the chats and notifications categories, the WhatsApp KaiOS version gives you a few familiar features. We’re glad to see robust mute controls here, but disappointed with the lack of chat backup functionality (even via email) and starred message support.

What’s present:

  • Show media in gallery/media visibility
  • Archive chats
  • Message and group notification toggles
  • Preview message text in notifications
  • Mute notifications from contact/group

What’s missing:

  • Font size
  • Wallpaper
  • Chat backup
  • Starred messages
  • Chat history (e.g. export chat, archive/clear/delete all chats)
  • Conversation tones
  • Vibrate toggle
  • Change notification/call tone
  • Custom notifications for specific contacts/groups
  • Customize LED

Data and storage usage in WhatsApp for KaiOS

You’d think WhatsApp for KaiOS would offer the Android app’s network/storage trackers, but this isn’t the case. You’ve only got media download controls here, so you’ll need to use USSD codes or the phone gallery to figure out data and storage consumption.

What’s present:

  • Media download toggles when on mobile data
  • Media download toggles when on Wi-Fi

What’s missing:

  • Network usage tracker
  • Storage usage tracker
  • Media download toggles when roaming
  • Low data usage toggle for VoIP calls

WhatsApp finally comes to the Nokia 8110: Here’s what you should expect

Spotted a major feature on Android that’s missing on KaiOS? Then let us know via the comments!

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