It’s a distinctly modern problem: you want to talk on WhatsApp but you can’t get an internet connection. If you want to know how to use WhatsApp without internet access, we have some suggestions for you. Some are better than others, so read on to find which suits you best.
How to use WhatsApp without internet: using WhatsApp via SMS
WhatsApp uses your internet connection instead of phone networks’ SMS systems, so WhatsApp-ing over SMS would be a strange thing for the firm to offer. It’d be a bit like Uber offering to call a yellow cab, or Airbnb recommending a hotel.
There are, however, SMS alternatives that emulate the WhatsApp interface. Unlimited texting comes bundled with a lot of cell phone plans, so you can use them with the familiarity of WhatsApp's design. Who knows, you might want to make use of your unused SMS plan anyway. Check out our list of the best texting apps for some suggestions.
How to use WhatsApp without internet: manage the backlog
So many messages go past us, it's tough to get to them all. Sometimes, we brush right past important messages from our contacts and don't even know it. If you don't have an internet connection, then it's a good time to get started on cleaning up that backlog of messages.
If you don't have an internet connection, you can browse, read and delete all of your past messages. You can view your photos and videos and sort through them. After you look at your messages you can create drafts so when you get back online your messages will just send automatically. Think of it as a good opportunity to get caught up with your messages.
How to use WhatsApp without internet: WhatsApp Bluetooth Messenger
WhatsApp Bluetooth Messenger is a way to use WhatsApp without internet connectivity. But even the name should set alarm bells ringing, because Bluetooth is a short-range radio technology that has nothing to do with the internet. Have you ever heard someone say, “Hey guys! It doesn’t matter that we don’t have phone or internet signal! I have Bluetooth!"? Exactly.
The fact the app isn’t in Google Play is also alarming. It uses the WhatsApp name without having any connection to WhatsApp the company (its developers are 'Awesome Developers', not WhatsApp Inc). It also doesn’t use WhatsApp usernames or passwords. This is not an authorized app from WhatsApp and could breach the terms and conditions of the official WhatsApp: so be careful. We installed it so we could give you an idea of what it's like. And guess what? It’s crap.
After foisting the All-in-one Downloader and loads of misleading advertisements on us, WhatsApp Bluetooth Messenger proved to be a very simplistic bare-bones chat program for messaging over short distances via Bluetooth. And that’s it. We tried to pair it with an iPhone running WhatsApp and – not surprisingly – it didn’t work.
If you want to get a message to somebody who’s within Bluetooth range you can always get their attention by making sounds with your mouth or writing them a note. Those options don’t require the internet either, and they also won’t blast you with annoying ads.
How to use WhatsApp without internet: using ChatSim
Technically, using ChatSim does use the internet – but it uses somebody else’s internet, so that doesn’t really count. It’s a roaming service: so if you’re in a location where you can’t get your usual phone network provider’s data signal, or if you’re traveling and there’s no Wi-Fi around and data roaming is prohibitively expensive, then ChatSim might be the answer.
It’s a chat-specific global SIM card that’s struck deals with a whole range of mobile operators to deliver data and MMS services. With the SIM installed everything’s automatic: if you’re in range of a partner’s data service, your phone connects to it and you can WhatsApp away to your heart’s content.
ChatSim costs around US$10 for a year of unlimited chats and texts (provided you behave yourself: you mustn’t repeatedly exceed the average daily traffic limit, which is defined as: "the average traffic exchanged by all active basic rate ChatSim cards").
It’s important to note that ChatSim is all about chat, chat and nothing but chat. If you read the press blurb you’ll see that it actually blocks traffic from non-chat apps in order to keep chat apps running smoothly, so it’s not a solution if you want a fully functional internet connection when you’re traveling. For that, you’ll need a SIM with data roaming, not just chat.
What do you do when you don't have an internet connection? Let us know in the comments!