WhatsApp Gains Email Address Verification for Authenticating Accounts

WhatsApp has started allowing users to authenticate their account on a device with an email address as an alternative to using a phone number, for times when cellular coverage is poor.

Whatsapp Feature
The new option to link an account to an email address does not replace SMS verification via a six-pin code, and opening a WhatsApp account still requires the user to provide a number. But with email verification, existing users now also have the means to authenticate their account on a device with an internet connection even if their cellular service is unavailable.

Spotted by WABetaInfo, the new feature is rolling out today as part of version 23.24.70 of WhatsApp for iPhone in the App Store. To use email verification in the updated app, tap the Settings tab, choose Account, then select Email Address.

WhatsApp has also been working on a username feature that could potentially provide people on the messaging service with an additional layer of privacy when communicating with others.

The username feature is still in development, so it's too early to tell how they will work when they are rolled out, but it could be that the platform intends to let users reach other people by entering a username instead of a phone number, similar to Telegram.

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Top Rated Comments

krspkbl Avatar
27 weeks ago

I don’t get it. Without coverage how would I be able to receive an email then?
"cellular coverage". i guess this is for when you have no cellular signal but have access to wifi.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
contacos Avatar
27 weeks ago
Take the iPad support out of beta already
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Bigskydoc Avatar
27 weeks ago

American here: Can someone please explain why WhatsApp is the text message method of choice in your country? What are the benefits vs. a mobile number plan with your device's native messaging app?
American here. Benefits of a chat app like Telegram or WhatsApp (full disclosure, I haven’t used WhatsApp for several years, after migrating to Telegram and Signal. WhatsApp features have changed since I last used it).

1 - Platform agnostic. Doesn’t matter if my friends are on iOS, Android, Windows…

2 - Less/ no degradation of photo and video quality when sending cross platform.

3 - Significantly better management and small and large group chats. Especially when cross-platform.

4 - I can have Telegram/ WhatsApp installed on all my Apple and Windows and Android devices, and everything stays synced. Doesn’t matter which device I’m using, my messages are there.

5 - Not tied to one specific phone number. Easy to migrate to a new phone number whenever I need to, without losing my archived messages.

6 - not tied to cellular service. I frequently travel in areas with no cell service, only WiFi. Largely ameliorated with the improvements in SMS over WiFi.

7 - SIM agnostic. Can use the same chat username across SIMs, especially helpful when traveling internationally and changing SIMs and numbers all the time.

8 - No need to pay outrageous international charges on my primary line to message when traveling internationally. Just grab whatever local, cheap SIM or WiFi service is available.

9 - Better security. I’m not going to pretend that the end to end encryption is perfect, but it is good enough that I’m allowed to send protected information over it, but not over SMS.

10 - Some degree of anonymity. I can set up a chat app with a burner number, then transfer the account to my main phone, which gives a reasonable level of anonymity protection against casual harassment. I’m sure a dedicated person or entity wouldn’t find it too difficult to figure out my identity.

Many of the advanced chat features have been nicely integrated into iMessage and, to some degree, RCS, but all of that goes away when going cross platform.

In a phrase, it just works, and has so for years, while iMessage and RCS keep trying to catch up.

If all you do is send basic text messages, to a small group of personal friends, then there is no need to go outside the native SMS app. If you like to send photos, videos, silly GIFs, have large group chats, travel, and want some anonymity, then you really want to go with a full-featured app.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ipedro Avatar
27 weeks ago

American here: Can someone please explain why WhatsApp is the text message method of choice in your country? What are the benefits vs. a mobile number plan with your device's native messaging app?
WhatsApp came before RCS. It has the same appeal to Android users, of which European and Asian users are a majority of, that iMessage has had to Apple users.

Instead of going through a carrier as SMS has done (not too long ago with a limit of texts per month and even a charge per SMS), it can use data on WiFi to send large attachments, can easily handle large group chats regardless of what platform everyone is on, and has dynamic messaging features like typing indicator, read status, reactions, stickers, etc. And of course, it can make calls over WiFi. All of this for free, the same way iMessage/FaceTime has done it.

With RCS, some or most of that advantage goes away – specially when Apple adds compatibility, though I suspect people will continue using WhatsApp out of habit. I personally look forward to these external apps not having to exist. If Apple enables seamless group chats between RCS Android and iMessage iOS users, then I suspect none of us will need WhatsApp – who cares about the colour of the bubbles.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JustAnExpat Avatar
27 weeks ago

With WiFi calling turned on it also enables people to receive SMS messages that way. With my service provider at least. But now I’m guessing not all providers support that?
Not all providers support it.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Powerguru Avatar
27 weeks ago
Haha. Another piece of user information for Zuckerberg to sell. ?
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)