WhatsApp bridges the Apple iOS – Google Android gap for messaging, file sharing and video calling. Chats can be user to user or group chats, all completely independent of the type or brand of phone. This is a massive benefit over Apples proprietary Facetime which is Apple device specific (with the caveat that from iOS 15 an Apple user can invite a non-Apple user into a call or meeting but there is no Android or Windows Facetime client).
The application is end to end encrypted for security and it allows chats to be automatically backed up to the cloud to ensure nothing is lost including files, photos, and media.
WhatsApp also has the benefit over text messaging as it is not reliant on the mobile network being available – it can use either the mobile data connection or Wi-Fi. WhatsApp does need a mobile number during setup for account validation, making it only useable on SIM enabled devices – this does make it more secure though, as it limits accounts to being tied to a mobile number rather than being able to be randomly generated via an email address.
WhatsApp does however get around this SIM requirement for desktop / tablet users by having a Windows and Mac desktop client along with an HTML 5 web-based messaging client available (for WhatsApp calls you need the full desktop application). This links your phone WhatsApp client and a permanent installation on your PC or Mac using the full client or a web client. The process is incredibly simple – the computer or web client on first run / start-up shows a QR code that you scan from within the WhatsApp program on your phone, linking the 2 in mirror image. All conversations, history etc are updated real-time on the phone and computer meaning you can seamlessly jump between the 2 devices.
WhatsApp clients for PC or Mac can be found here: