Does WhatsApp use data?

WhatsApp is a popular messaging app, which supports video calls, voice calls, text messages, and more. The messaging app is available cross-platform, allowing you to access your chats from mobile and PC.

WhatsApp also allows international calls and texts for free, by using your Wi-Fi or cellular data in place of call/text charges.

Does WhatsApp use data?

Yes, WhatsApp does use data when you’re using the app. Messaging or making calls using WhatsApp requires either a working internet connection, or mobile data. The app uses that data to send or receive calls and messages. WhatsApp also drains your battery too, so it’s important that you have enough charge and data to get the most from the app.

If you do not have a Wi-Fi connection or mobile data enabled, you won’t be able to call or message people on WhatsApp. You’ll also be unable to receive any calls or messages.

How to connect to Wi-Fi

You need to have available Wi-Fi networks in your area, in order to connect to Wi-Fi. There are public ones, and private password-protected ones.

For iOS:

Go to Settings>Wi-Fi.

ios-wifi

Press the network you wish to connect to, in order to connect to Wi-Fi.

For Android:

Go to Settings>Connections.

android-connections-settings

Press ‘Wi-Fi’, and press a network to connect to it.

android-wifi

How to enable mobile data

If you’re on a mobile contract, or have some other data plan, you should have access to mobile data. You should have a certain amount of mobile data per month that you can use. You cannot exceed this limit unless you pay extra money, so be careful about using too much mobile data. You should only enable mobile data when you have no Wi-Fi connection.

Enabling mobile data is very simply to do.

For iOS:

Swipe up from the bottom of the screen, and press the mobile data icon. It’s located next to the airplane mode icon.

ios-mobile-data-icon

For Android:

Swipe down from the top of the screen to open a row of options.

android-options

Then, swipe down from the top of the screen again to expand the options. Press the mobile data icon to enable mobile data.

android-mobile-data-icon

How to reduce WhatsApp data usage

There are ways to prevent WhatsApp from using too much of your mobile data, when you have it enabled. We’ll go over a few of these methods.

Disable Background Activity

You can disable background activity for WhatsApp. This will prevent the app from running or using your data when the app is closed.

There are two ways to disable or decrease background app activity. You can disable background activity for WhatsApp in the settings, or you can enable low power mode. Enabling low power mode will greatly decrease the amount of background app activity.

Using the settings

You can disable background app activity for WhatsApp in the settings.

For iOS users:

Go to Settings>General>Background App Refresh.

This should show what apps currently have background activity enabled.

Find WhatsApp, and press the green switch next to it to disable background activity.

For Android users:

Go to Settings>Apps.

Find WhatsApp and press on it. Then, click β€˜force stop’ in the bottom-right.

android-force-stop-option
Enabling Low Power Mode

Another way you can turn off background app activity, is by enabling low power mode.

For iOS users:

There are two methods for enabling low power mode. You can do so from the settings, or from the control centre.

Using the settings

Go to Settings>Battery.

battery-settings

Press the switch next to the low power mode option to enable low power mode. The switch should be green.

low-power-mode-switch-turned-on
Using the control centre

There should be a low power mode icon in your control centre if you’ve manually added it there from the settings. You can check if this is the case by swiping up on your screen. Ensure to swipe from the bottom of the screen. This opens the control centre.

control-centre

The low power mode icon appears as a battery. If there’s a battery icon, press it to enable low power mode.

low-power-mode-icon-pressed

If there isn’t a battery icon, then you haven’t added it to the control centre. It’s not there by default, so you’ll have to manually add it using the control centre settings. Doing so will give you easy access to low power mode, which means you can enable and disable it quickly at any time.

Go to Settings>Control Centre, and scroll down to find the list of controls. Find the low power mode option, and press the plus icon next to it. Low power mode has now been added to the control centre.

control-centre-settings

Open the control centre by swiping up on your screen, and press the low power mode icon to enable it.

control-centre-low-power-mode-pressed
For Android users:

Swipe down from the top of the screen to open a set of options.

android-options-1

Swipe down again, from the top of the screen, to expand the set of options. The ‘power saving mode’ option should now be available. Press the ‘power saving mode’ icon to enable it. The icon appears as a battery, with a triangle on it.

android-power-saving-mode-icon

Enable Low Data Mode

You can also enable low data mode for your mobile data in order to limit its usage. This option is only available on iOS devices.

Go to Settings>Mobile Data>Mobile Data Options.

ios-low-data-mode

Press the switch next to ‘low data mode’ to enable low data mode.

Conclusion

In conclusion, WhatsApp does use mobile data when Wi-Fi is unavailable. The app requires either Wi-Fi or mobile data in order to function properly. If you’re connected to Wi-Fi, it should prioritise using the Wi-Fi to function and not your mobile data.

Photo of author

Connect on Twitter

Author

Jenny

Read more from Jenny

Apps UK
International House
12 Constance Street
London, E16 2DQ