Is WhatsApp safe? Here’s what you need to know

More than 2 billion people worldwide use WhatsApp for video and voice calls, text messages and more. This internet-based app is particularly popular for international calls as it allows free communication no matter what device you use or where you are, with more features than regular SMS apps – including cross-functionality between iOS and Android systems.

But is WhatsApp safe for everyone?

Is WhatsApp safe?

The app uses end-to-end encryption that prevents third parties from accessing data while it’s in transit from sender to recipient. Because of this, WhatsApp is generally considered safe for messaging.

“All messages sent between users are fully encrypted, so the only people who can decrypt them are the sender and the recipient — not even WhatsApp,” SecurityNerd CEO Kristen Bolig told Business Insider. “So even if hackers intercept a message, they can’t decrypt it.”

But technology is always evolving and the “bad guys” are always finding new ways to get what they want. And programs can have bugs or vulnerabilities that give potential hackers a foothold.

For example, earlier this year WhatsApp developers found a bug that left the app vulnerable to malware. Attackers could potentially remotely install malicious software on WhatsApp users’ phones during video calls.

Luckily they released an update with a patch for this and another bug found. However, this might make you wonder if WhatsApp is safe.

By reading up on its features, risks, and other factors, you can determine if this is the case. Understanding the dangers you may encounter while using the app and using tips to protect your information can help you use the app with confidence.


Using security and privacy features

The end-to-end encryption provided by WhatsApp only protects your chats and voice calls within the app. If your phone backs up app data and stores it in the cloud like iCloud or Google Drive, it will no longer be encrypted and could be vulnerable to hacking.

WhatsApp offers a solution for this. You can enable encryption for your WhatsApp backups. Here’s how.

  1. Open WhatsApp and go to settings. On an iPhone, tap settings bottom right of your screen. On Android, select the three-dot menu in the top right, then select settings.
  2. Choose chat and then choose Chat backup.
  3. Next, tap End-to-end encrypted backup and then select turn on.
  4. Follow the instructions to create a password or key.
  5. Choose Create and wait for the process to complete. Plug your device into a power source when prompted.

By default, WhatsApp privacy settings allow users to view your read receipts, About Us section, profile photo, or add you to groups. They also allow your contacts to see your status updates. You can easily change these settings if you want more privacy.

Go to on an iPhone settings > privacy. On an Android device, go to More options (the three-dot menu) > settings > privacy.

In this menu you can change the permissions for the following:

  • Last seen and online
  • Your profile picture
  • your info
  • Your status updates
  • read receipts
  • Who can add you to groups?

Note that some of these changes also affect what you can see. For example, if you turn off read receipts, you won’t be able to see them from other users.

You can also use two-step verification in WhatsApp to create a unique PIN required to access your account. To enable this go to WhatsApp settingsSelect Accountbeat Two-Step VerificationSelect Activate and enter a six-digit PIN of your choice.

Another way to improve the security of your WhatsApp application is to make sure you are using the latest version. Developers deliver fixes in app updates. Most phones install updates automatically, but you can always check to make sure.


Go to on an iPhone app storeSelect Update and tap the To update button next to WhatsApp.

Go to on an Android phone Load game and tap your profile picture in the top right. Then choose Manage apps and devices > Administer > updates available to see if an update is available for WhatsApp.

If no updates are available, you have the latest version and security features installed.

It’s also important to note that WhatsApp is owned by Meta, the same company that owns Facebook, Instagram, and many other products and services. Like these social media platforms, WhatsApp collects information about users. Reading the app’s privacy policy can help you decide if you’re okay with how that data is used.

Advanced safety tips

As with any app, there are steps you can take to improve your privacy and security. For example, be selective about what you share and who you use WhatsApp with, and where you are when you use it.

If your recipient is untrustworthy and you share sensitive information, they could take a screenshot of your messages and share them with others. If you use the app in public, viewers may be able to read the messages on your phone’s screen. You should also be aware of who has physical access to your phone.

Delivered messages are stored indefinitely on your phone. You can delete a message in WhatsApp by pressing and holding the message and tapping Extinguish and then select delete for me or Delete for everyone.

You can also enable message disappearance by default for all new individual chats. Go to WhatsApp settingsSelect privacybeat Default message timer and select 24 hours, 7 days or 90 days.


Finally, watch out for WhatsApp scams. Never share your WhatsApp password or verification code with anyone. Find an alternative way to check who you’re talking to when you get a call or text that a friend or loved one needs help. Do not give out personal information and avoid clicking on suspicious links.

So, is WhatsApp safe to use? This can be the case if you use it wisely and take precautions to protect your privacy and security.

By Tricia Goss for Newsy.


About Newsy: Newsy is the nation’s only free, 24/7 national news network. You can find Newsy via your TV’s digital antenna or stream it for free. See all the ways you can view Newsy here:

This story originally appeared on Simplemost. Check out Simplemost for more stories.