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Is WhatsApp not working? Here are 10 easy fixes you can try

What's wrong?! Let's find out together.
By
February 17, 2024
WhatsApp logo on smartphone next to other devices Stock photo 3
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

There are a few possible reasons for WhatsApp not working. Thankfully, you can fix it relatively quickly most of the times. 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 Google Pixel 7 running Android 14 and an Apple iPhone 12 Mini running iOS 17.3.1. Some of the steps below might be slightly different on your end, depending on your device and software.

Check if WhatsApp is down

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.

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.

How to force close WhatsApp on Android:

  1. Launch the Settings app.
  2. Go into Apps.
  3. Tap on See all apps.
  4. Find and select WhatsApp.
  5. Select Force stop.
  6. Confirm by hitting OK.

How to close WhatsApp on iPhone:

  1. Unlock your phone.
  2. From the home screen, swipe up from the bottom of the screen and hold.
  3. The App Switcher will show up. Swipe left and right until you find WhatsApp.
  4. Swipe WhatsApp up, away from the screen.

While you’re at it, you might also want to uninstall and reinstall WhatsApp. This gives it a much cleaner reset than simply closing it.

How to uninstall an Android app:

  1. Tap and hold onto the WhatsApp app in your home screen or app drawer.
  2. Select App info.
  3. Hit Uninstall.
  4. Confirm by selecting OK.

How to uninstall an iPhone app:

  1. Find the WhatsApp app. Tap and hold onto it for a couple or few seconds.
  2. Tap on Remove App.
  3. Select Delete App.

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 ensure you’re running the latest version of the app, so head to the Google Play Store and check for updates.

How to check for app updates on the Google Play Store:

  1. Open the Google Play Store.
  2. Tap on your profile icon in the top right corner.
  3. Hit Manage apps & device.
  4. Tap on Updates available.
  5. Hit Update all or look for WhatsApp and select Update.

How to check for app updates on the Apple App Store:

  1. Launch the Apple App Store.
  2. Tap on your profile icon in the top-right corner.
  3. Scroll down a bit, and you’ll see all your available updates. Tap on Update next to WhatsApp, or select Update All to handle all app updates.

While you’re at it, you might also want to check if any updates are available to your device. Check the instructions below to learn how to update your Android device.

How to check for Android updates:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go into System.
  3. Tap on System update.
  4. Select Check for update.
  5. The system will let you know if anything is available for your device. Follow instructions.

How to check for iPhone updates:

  1. Launch the Settings app.
  2. Go into General.
  3. Select Software Update.
  4. The system will automatically search for updates. Select Download and Install if there are any.

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.

How to restart an Android phone:

  1. Press the power and volume up buttons simultaneously.
  2. Hit Restart.

How to restart an iPhone:

  1. Press and hold the side and either the volume down or volume up buttons simultaneously for a few seconds.
  2. A power options screen will appear.
  3. Use the slide to power off slider to turn the phone off.
  4. When the phone is off, press and hold the side button to turn it back on.

Note: iOS doesn’t allow taking screenshots of the power menu. 

Check your internet

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.

You can check the router and see if it’s connected to the internet. It would help if you tried restarting the router, too. Also, those using a VPN might want to turn 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.

How to turn on mobile data on Android:

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

How to turn on mobile data on iPhone:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go into Cellular.
  3. Make sure Cellular Data is toggled on.
  4. If you want to enable roaming, go into your main SIM under SIMs. Then toggle on Data Roaming.

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.
  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.

Sadly, you can’t clear the cache on iOS apps. The only effective way to accomplish this is to delete the app and reinstall it.

Allow all app permissions

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.
  3. Find the WhatsApp app under See all apps.
  4. Select Permissions.
  5. Make sure to allow access to everything under Not allowed.

How to allow app permissions on iPhone:

  1. Launch the Settings app.
  2. Find and select WhatsApp.
  3. Under Allow WhatsApp To Access, ensure everything is toggled on and enter all subsections to enable extra features.

Did WhatsApp delete your account?

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

Sometimes, WhatsApp can have issues downloading content when the phone runs out of storage. The first thing to try is to clear some storage on your Android or iOS device. You can also try clearing some WhatsApp data.

How to delete WhatsApp data on Android:

  1. Open WhatsApp.
  2. Hit the three-dot menu button.
  3. Go into Settings.
  4. Select Storage and data.
  5. Tap on Manage storage.
  6. Go into each conversation and delete whatever you deem unimportant.

How to delete WhatsApp data on iPhone:

  1. Open the WhatsApp app.
  2. Tap on the Settings tab.
  3. Go into Storage and Data.
  4. Hit Manage Storage.
  5. Go into each chat and delete whatever you deem unnecessary.

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.
  3. Find the WhatsApp app under See all apps.
  4. Go into Mobile data & Wi-Fi.
  5. 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.

How to turn on Background App Refresh on iPhone:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go into General.
  3. Tap on Background App Refresh.
  4. Find WhatsApp and make sure it’s toggled on.

Now that WhatsApp is back up and working, we also have a guide to teach you the ins and outs of all important WhatsApp features. Give it a read to take advantage of everything the service offers.