Everything you need to know about calls through WhatsApp
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WhatsApp is one of the applications took the smartphone market by waves – and continues with its trend – to add the function of VoIP calls on their mobile application, something many of its nearly 700 million monthly active users have been crying for in despair is yet another arsenal that will propel the app even further.
WhatsApp is one of the applications took the smartphone market by waves and continues with its trend to add the function of VoIP calls on their mobile application, something many of its nearly 700 million monthly active users have been crying for in despair is yet another arsenal that will propel the app even further.
The truth is, WhatsApp has decided to gradually release the function; but only a few users actually on Android can access it, but need various tricks and obstacles to make it work. This has left many users in total confusion. Importantly, the function is only active for some Android users, although the company claims it is working on a version for iOS.
Tech Kenya took several days testing the function and here we will explain step by step how it works, what new features were added to the application and, most importantly, how to activate those calls.
First, What is VoIP?
VoIP calls are not like traditional calls using the minutes offered by an operator, say Safaricom or Airtel airtime. By definition, VoIP is Voice over IP (Voice over Internet Protocol), and means that calls go out and come in through an Internet connection, and require either Wi-Fi or mobile data plans to work.
WhatsApp, like other applications Hangouts, Skype, Line, Viber, etc . use this protocol to allow users to make calls without spending your normal airtime. However termed free for such calls, is a mistake. It is true that when a VoIP call is made using a Wi-Fi, you do not spend minutes or data plan. However, if done on a 3G or 4G connections, it consume megabytes of your data bundles or airtime which is why we recommend using the function with a Wi-Fi connection instead.
How does it work?
Using WhatsApp calls is very simple. Perhaps the most difficult step is to activate the function.
WhatsApp calls introduced changes to the interface within the app. Now the app is divided into three columns: the first (left to right) to show the last incoming and outgoing calls. This section also displays a button in the upper right corner, a button to make a call.
The second column is the Chats tab, where, as usual, a list of every conversation between two people or group is listed there. The third column is for contacts.
To make a call, you have to select a contact with the latest version of WhatsApp for Android if you have the previous version or iOS app is on, the call will not be completed and it automatically gets canceled.
Once the contact you want to call is chosen, you can make the call from Call column or from the conversation window. Making it through the Calls tab is easier, because it only need you to tap the line of the call and immediately the call is made to the contact. From the conversation, theres a call button at the top right, tapping on it, the call is made instantly.
It is important to reiterate that these calls, if made on a Wi-Fi are completely free. However, if the call is made on 3G or 4G, oh boy, it will consume a whole lot of your data bundles or airtime if you do not have a data plan.
During a call, the screen displays, at the top, the name of the person youre talking to. At the bottom, it is specified that this is a call for WhatsApp and not a call on the normal line. Further at the bottom, there is a button to hang and below it is the option to place the can on speaker, decent huh! There is also answer via message or cancel the microphone.
How to activate the service?
Here comes the hardest and saddest part of the story.
Activating the service is not easy, because you need a person who already has the service functional for them.
Precisely, the requirements are:
The latest version of WhatsApp for Android (version 2.12.5). You can download it from the site WhatsApp.com if you are logged into the Play Store.
A friend, acquaintance or contact with the function already selected (Important)
When you already have the latest version installed, ask your friend to place a call to you using WhatsApp calls, thus, the service is enabled on the phone receiving the call. When you have an incoming call from your friend, do not hang up, answer and talk for a few seconds if you hung up, the function will not work! Just a hello, how are you and goodbye; Thats enough.
Once you hang up, close the application completely and open it again. When restarted, the interface will have changed and you can now start to make calls. If these steps do not work, try again.
What about iOS users?
WhatsApp says it is working to bring this feature to all platforms in the coming months. However, the availability of this feature will be gradual and WhatsApp cannot assure that your platform can support calls through its implementation.
WhatsApp has already confirmed that voice calls will also come to iOS, the important thing is to have a little patience because what will come, will come.