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WhatsApp finally lets you open chats with an unknown number without any tricks
- WhatsApp is rolling out the ability to initiate conversations with new, unknown numbers without needing to save them in your contact book.
- To text an unknown number, search for the number in the New Chat screen.
WhatsApp remains the IM app of choice for millions of users worldwide. In regions like Asia, connecting with everyone you know on WhatsApp is common, as pretty much everyone uses the service. However, if you are contacting someone new for a quick or temporary need, you still have to save their number to your phone for their contact card to show up for texting on WhatsApp. It seems that Meta finally wants to change this, as the service has now begun allowing users to open chats with unknown phone numbers.
In the past, whenever you wanted to send some unknown number a quick text, you’d have to save them in your contact books. My contact book at one point was filled with saved numbers of delivery persons and drivers just because I once needed to send them my location.
Some tricks allowed you to avoid this: you could use WhatsApp’s wa.me short links to open chats with new numbers, but these tricks weren’t widely known by everyone. They were also inconvenient and cumbersome.
Now, the service is making it straightforward. As spotted by WABetaInfo, and confirmed by us, iOS and Android users can now initiate conversations with new/unknown numbers by simply searching for them. WhatsApp will first surface your saved contacts, but once the service figures out that the number does not match your contacts, it will surface the number directly (presuming the number is on WhatsApp in the first place).
We could confirm that the feature is already live on Android on the stable branch of WhatsApp, and the same is said to be live on iOS as well. You no longer need link shorteners, third-party apps, or other tricks to text an unknown number on WhatsApp. The service has not officially announced the feature, but it is working.
With the feature now live, we recommend readers take a moment to review their privacy settings. Anyone can message you on WhatsApp, but you can still control other bits of your profile data, such as who can see your profile photo, your last seen and online status, your About page, and your stories. You can also silence unknown callers automatically.
How to message an unknown number on WhatsApp
Here’s how the process now works:
- Open WhatsApp.
- On the main chat screen, click on the green-colored New Chat icon in the bottom right corner.
- Click on the magnifying glass icon in the top right corner to search for contacts.
- Start typing the unknown number that you want to text.
- If the unknown number uses WhatsApp, WhatsApp will give you the option to start a new chat with them.
If the feature is not live on your end, please ensure that you are running the latest version of the app downloaded directly from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store, as the case may be.