Update, March 19, 2021 (01:43 PM ET): WhatsApp appears to be down for many around the world, according to Down Detector. This is likely a temporary problem, but check out our list of ways you can troubleshoot the issue below.
There are a few possible reasons why WhatsApp is not working on your Android device. Thankfully, all of them can be fixed relatively quickly. If the app is crashing, you can’t send messages, or are experiencing any other issues, just follow the tips below to get the app back up and running again.
Step one: Narrow down the problem
If WhatsApp is not working on your Android phone, the first thing to do is check whether the problem is on your side or WhatApp’s. You can do that by visiting one of the websites that report if WhatsApp is down and in which countries. You can check out a few of these websites via the links below:
If one (or all) websites claim that the service is down in your country, there’s not much you can do but wait until WhatsApp fixes the issue. Unfortunately, outages are not uncommon for WhatsApp as well as other popular services including Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.
Step two: Check your internet connection
If there are no reports of a WhatsApp outage, the problem must be on your end. To try and fix it, the first thing to do is check the basics, which, in this case, is your internet connection. Start by turning your Wi-Fi off and then on again to see if that does the trick. No luck? Then try to visit a random website on the internet or play a YouTube video, just so you can see if there’s a problem with your connection.
If you can’t access the internet at all, you may be too far away from your router or are experiencing other Wi-Fi related issues. You can check out our dedicated post on how to fix them here or just switch to mobile data to access WhatsApp right away. Problem solved!
Step three: Force stop and Clear cache
If WhatsApp still isn’t working, performing a force stop and clearing the cache on your device may just solve the problem. A force stop basically kills off the Linux process for the app and clearing your cache gets rid of the temporary files the app has stored.
If you want to dive deeper into the force stop and clear cache processes, we have a dedicated post on the topic made by our very own Gary Sims — check it out here. We also have a video that goes along the article, which you can watch above.
To perform a force stop, head to the settings of your device and tap on Apps. Then scroll down until you find WhatsApp, open it, and then tap the Force stop button up top. To clear the cache, tap the Storage option below and then select the Clear cache option. Once that’s done, launch WhatsApp and check if it works as it should now.
Step four: Update WhatsApp or reinstall it
Your WhatsApp-related problem could be caused by a bug in the app. The best thing to do is to update it to the latest version by heading to the Play Store, taping the My apps & games option, and then taping the Update button next to WhatsApp — if it’s available.
If that doesn’t do the trick or there’s no update available, your best bet is to delete the app from your device and then reinstall it. I’m sure you know how to do that, but in case you’re an Android newbie, you can check out our guide on how to delete apps from your phone by clicking here.
Step five: Turn off VPN
VPNs are great. They let you hide your identity online, bypass regional content restrictions on services like Netflix, and get access to WhatsApp in countries it isn’t available. However, a VPN can also be the reason why WhatsApp is not working for you.
I’ve come across reports by users claiming that they can’t make calls via WhatsApp when they have a VPN turned on and have experienced a bunch of other problems. So, if you have a VPN turned on while trying to access WhatsApp, just turn in off to see if it solves your problem.
There you have it — these are the five steps you should take if you’re experiencing WhatsApp-related problems. Hopefully, one of them solved your issue. If you’ve found any other WhatsApp fixes let us know in the comments!