Can WhatsApp be used offline?

iPhone on a green background with the screen displaying the WhatsApp logo

iPhone on a green background with the screen displaying the WhatsApp logo

WhatsApp has an impressive status as one of the world's most popular messaging apps. For many users, it's their one and only way to keep in touch with friends and family, but many are wondering: Can WhatsApp be used offline?

The app doesn't make it obvious, and that's where we can help. This guide will answer the all-important question and explain the differences between WhatsApp when you're online and offline.

If you're looking to become a WhatsApp expert, we've got everything you need. Use our guides to edit WhatsApp messages after sending, remove the app's encryption, and transfer your account between iPhones. You'll find helpful guides for all kinds of apps in our How-To page, too.

3D WhatsApp logo on a lime green background
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Can WhatsApp be used offline?

WhatsApp cannot be used to send and receive messages while offline, but old messages and saved images can still be viewed. You will need an Internet or mobile data connection to use the app and all of its features - voice and video calls included.

Messages can still be scheduled while you're offline, however, and they'll be sent when you're back online via WiFi or mobile data. The icon in the bottom-right of a message shows its status; a clock means scheduled, and two ticks means it's been sent. Even if you're in airplane mode, messages can be prepared.

If you're hoping your old conversations will keep you entertained while you're stuck without WiFi, consider enabling media auto-download. This setting will automatically download any and all content you receive through WhatsApp to your phone. It can be toggled to work over WiFi or mobile data exclusively, and can be enabled by following the steps below.

  • Click or tap the three dots in the top right
  • Choose 'Settings'
  • Open the 'Storage and Data' menu
  • Tap 'When connected on Wi-Fi' or 'When using mobile data'
  • Choose to auto download Photos, Audio, Videos, and / or Documents

Even if you go offline, having this option enabled will make sure your old conversations are available with full context - no more blurry images or broken voice messages.

To continue learning more about WhatsApp, we've got a guide that can help you know if you've been blocked. Elsewhere, you can learn how to add a checkbox to a Word document and speed up an Instagram video.

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