iPhone screen showing WhatsApp with a "Connecting" error message at the top.
Nelson Antoine/Shutterstock.com
If WhatsApp is not working, check that your device is connected to the internet. Next, confirm WhatsApp isn't currently down. You can also update the app to the latest version, make sure you aren't using an unofficial app, or restart the app to get WhatsApp up and running again.

WhatsApp is a great way to connect with family, friends, and even businesses. But like all apps, it isn’t immune to problems, which you may be encountering right now. So why is WhatsApp not working or not connecting on your device, and how can you fix it?

Check Your Data Connection

WhatsApp relies on the internet to function, so you’ll need an active data or Wi-Fi connection to use it. If WhatsApp is not connecting on your device, start by checking whether your device is connected to the internet. You can quickly confirm this by opening another app that requires the internet, such as Netflix or YouTube, or by firing up the web browser and opening a website, like howtogeek.com.

If your internet is working fine, something else must be causing the app to stop working. But if you are having internet trouble, our internet troubleshooting tips can help.

Check for Service Disruption

WhatsApp on Down Detector

If you confirmed your internet isn’t the problem but WhatsApp still isn’t working, you should check for WhatsApp outages. Although WhatsApp is typically very reliable, every once in a while service outages do happen. For example, WhatsApp was down for two hours globally in October 2022. So it makes sense to ensure the service is working normally before you go further down the troubleshooting rabbit hole.

Down Detector, an outage monitoring service by Ookla, is a good starting point to check whether WhatsApp is experiencing a disruption. Given the service’s popularity, news media is also quick at reporting any WhatsApp outages, so check your favorite news outlets too.

If WhatsApp is facing an outage, you’ll have to sit tight and wait for the company to fix the issue. You may also look into WhatsApp alternatives, like Signal and Telegram.

RELATED: The 5 Best Alternatives to WhatsApp

Get the Latest Version of WhatsApp

WhatsApp frequently updates its apps for various platforms to offer new features or fix bugs. And while typically older versions continue to operate normally even after a newer version is released, if WhatsApp is not connecting or working, ensure there are no pending updates.

You can head over to App Store on an iPhone and tap on your profile photo in the top-right corner to check for any available updates. On the other hand, Android users can find app updates by tapping the profile photo in Google Play Store and navigating to Manage Apps and Device > Updates Available.

Find Out If Your WhatsApp Account Was Deleted

You may not know this, but WhatsApp can delete your account if it has been inactive for 120 days. Inactivity refers to the WhatsApp app on your phone not connecting to the company’s servers. If your account has been deleted, you’ll likely encounter the sign-in screen when you open the app. If this happens, you can re-register your account by signing in with your mobile number, and the app will automatically fetch any older WhatsApp account data present on your phone.

RELATED: How to Set Up Two-Step Verification in WhatsApp

Restart WhatsApp

iPhone app switcher

“Have you tried turning it off and on again?” These words of wisdom apply to WhatsApp as well. Many of the app’s minor issues can be fixed by simply restarting it. But to do that, you’ll first have to close the app properly. Merely pressing the home button or navigating out of the app doesn’t always close the app.

To ensure WhatsApp is no longer active, open the multitasking screen or app switcher on your phone and then swipe WhatsApp away. This will shut down the app. Now, you can re-open it and try again. If it’s working, you are good to go. Else you can also try restarting your phone. It’s not the most technical solution in your arsenal, but it just works sometimes. So it’s worth a try.

Install the Official WhatsApp App

If you are using an unofficial version of WhatsApp and it has stopped working, it’s time to install the official app. WhatsApp has been cracking down on unofficial WhatsApp clients for many years, which can result in the unofficial WhatsApp apps not working or your account getting temporarily blocked. Furthermore, if you continue using the unauthorized WhatApp version, the company can permanently ban you from using its service.

Also, as a general cyber hygiene principle, you should avoid using unauthorized versions of any app, unless they come from a reputed source, as they can include malware or other harmful components and steal your data.

RELATED: How to Spot (and Avoid) Fake Android Apps in the Play Store

Set Phone Date and Time Correctly

Disable "Set Automatically."

If your phone or tablet is using the wrong date or time for your region, you won’t be able to download or access media shared on WhatsApp chats. All modern operating systems automatically keep track of date and time thanks to an internet-based time server. But if somehow that option is disabled on your phone, and it has an incorrect date or time, fix it to ensure WhatsApp is working properly.

We have a nifty guide to changing the time and date on iPhone. If you’re an Android user, navigate to Settings > System > Date & Time to choose the automatic option or manually set the correct time.

Check App Permissions

To offer its services, WhatsApp requires access to your phone’s data and features, such as contacts, microphone, camera, and location. So if you refuse permission to access this data and features, the app won’t work. The same can happen if you initially give permissions and rescind later.

You can use our guides on managing app permissions on Android or iPhone to ensure WhatsApp has all necessary access.

Confirm You Haven’t Been Blocked

Sometimes you may have trouble contacting specific people on WhatApp while the rest of the app is working fine. In such cases, you have likely been blocked by those particular contacts.

Although WhatsApp won’t explicitly tell you that you have been blocked, there are a few indicators for this. For example, you can’t see the last seen or online status of a contact who’s blocked you in the chat window. Similarly, any messages you send to the contact will only result in one check mark, and you won’t see any updates to their profile photo.

Single tick on messages on WhatsApp

While there are other possibilities for these indicators, if you are seeing all the indicators for any specific contact, there is a chance you are blocked.

RELATED: How to Block Someone on WhatsApp

Reconnecting on WhatsApp

Now that WhatsApp has hopefully started working again, check out our guides on sending disappearing messages or moving your chats from iPhone to Android to get more out of WhatsApp.

Profile Photo for Gaurav Shukla Gaurav Shukla
Gaurav Shukla is a technology journalist with over a decade’s experience reporting and writing about consumer technology. His work has appeared in Android Police, XDA Developers, and NDTV Gadgets 360.
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