WhatsApp by Facebook stock photo 4
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Update, October 4, 2021 (7:29 PM ET): After over six hours of downtime today, WhatsApp’s official Twitter feed now says the service is coming back online for its users. There’s no official word yet on what caused the downtime.


There are a few possible reasons why WhatsApp is not working on your mobile device. Thankfully, most times, you can fix them relatively quickly. If the app is crashing, you can’t send messages, or you are experiencing any other issues, follow the tips below to get the app back up and running again.

Editor’s note: All instructions were generated using a Pixel 4a running Android 11. Some of the steps below might be slightly different on your end depending on the device and software you’re using.

Check if WhatsApp is down

WhatsApp by Facebook stock photo 8
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

We always blame our devices when something isn’t working, but maybe the problem isn’t local. The reason for WhatsApp not working could be that the service is down.

An easy way to see if the problem is WhatsApp itself is to try using any other app or browser. If everything else is working, chances are WhatsApp’s servers are the issue. You can also use online tools like the website Down Detector. This service will let you know if there are any problems with WhatsApp itself. If WhatsApp is down, all you can do is wait until service is restored.

See also: How to use Whatsapp: A step-by-step beginner’s guide

Close and reopen the application

If WhatsApp isn’t the problem, then it might be the app. One easy fix you can try is simply closing and reopening WhatsApp. It might also help to log out and log back in. This should kill the pesky bugs and get all the gears back in place.

Check for updates

Though running older apps often brings no issues, sometimes services also change things server-side, deeming some functions useless. You want to make sure you’re running the latest version of the app, so head over to the Google Play Store and check for updates.

Read also: How to update apps on the Google Play Store

Restart the phone

Believe it or not, a good ol’ reboot seems to fix most smartphone issues. It’s one of the first troubleshooting methods you should try. Just restart your phone and see if WhatsApp works.

Check your internet

Ethernet vs Wi Fi stock photo 2
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

There’s a chance your internet is down. Again, you can test other apps or the web browser and see if WhatsApp not working is an isolated issue. If nothing else works, the problem could be your internet connection.

Those operating over Wi-Fi or LAN can check the router and see if it’s connected to the internet. You should probably try restarting the router too. Also, those of you using a VPN might want to try turning it off to see if that fixes the issue.

If you’re using cellular data, you might want to see if your data connection is on:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go into Network & internet.
  3. Select Mobile network.
  4. Toggle Mobile data on.
  5. If you’re outside your country or network coverage, also toggle Roaming on (this may incur extra charges).

More: The best Wi-Fi routers you can buy right now

Clear the app cache

Cache is an excellent method to keep your phone snappy, but old data can get corrupted and be the reason for WhatsApp not working. It doesn’t hurt to clear it from time to time, especially if the app isn’t working.

Clear cache on Android:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go into Apps & notifications.
  3. Find the WhatsApp app under See all apps.
  4. Tap on Storage & cache.
  5. Hit Clear Cache.
  6. You can also select Clear storage for a clean start.

Next: Force stop and clear cache explained

Allow all app permissions

Android 11 Permissions
Joe Hindy / Android Authority

Many issues can come from not giving WhatsApp the necessary permissions to access essential information. For example, WhatsApp may not pick up your contacts if you accidentally deny permission to your phone’s contacts. You may also have disabled background data.

How to change app permission settings:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go into Apps & notifications.
  3. Find the WhatsApp app under See all apps.
  4. Select Permissions.
  5. Make sure to allow access to everything.

Learn more: What Android app permissions mean and how to use them

Did WhatsApp delete your account?

WhatsApp by Facebook stock photo 6
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Have you stopped using WhatsApp for a long time? If so, there’s a chance WhatsApp not working is simply due to your account being deleted. The service deletes accounts after 120 days of inactivity. A WhatsApp account is active as long as it has an internet connection. If this is the case, your only solution is to create a new WhatsApp account.

Make sure you have enough storage

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Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Sometimes WhatsApp can have issues downloading content when the phone is running out of storage. The first thing to try is to clear some storage on your Android device. Additionally, you can open WhatsApp and hit the three-dot menu button. Then go to Settings > Storage and data > Manage storage. Then go into Review and delete items. Check the content and delete what you deem unimportant.

Related: How to backup WhatsApp

Make sure background data is enabled!

If WhatsApp isn’t giving you message notifications appropriately, there is a chance you accidentally turned off background data. This can easily be fixed in the settings.

How to enable background data:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go into Apps & notifications.
  3. Find the WhatsApp app under See all apps.
  4. Go into Mobile data & Wi-Fi.
  5. Under App settings, enable Background data.
  6. You can also toggle Unrestricted data usage on. This gives the app complete data access even when in Data Saver mode.