WhatsApp quietly activates calling feature

WhatsApp has activated its calling feature for Android users on an invite-only basis. (Gareth van Zyl)
WhatsApp has activated its calling feature for Android users on an invite-only basis. (Gareth van Zyl)
Gareth van Zyl

Johannesburg - Making phone calls using instant messaging service WhatsApp has quietly become a reality, albeit on an invite-only basis for Android users.

Until now, WhatsApp - which is owned by social media giant Facebook - has only been an instant messaging service, allowing users to send text messages to each other over a data network.

Last year, WhatsApp announced plans to introduce a calling feature as well.

And that feature is now available on an invite-only-basis for users of smart devices that are equipped with Google operating system Android.

Fin24’s technology team has managed to test out the calling feature in South Africa and it works.

While there is a slight delay on calls, the calling service could nevertheless change the global telecoms voice market especially as WhatsApp has over 700 million users.

How to get WhatsApp calling

To get the WhatsApp calling feature, you will need to firstly have an Android smartphone.

Secondly, you will need to download the latest version of WhatsApp for Android, which you can get by pointing your phone’s web browser to this link.

Once you’ve downloaded this APK package, you will need to go into the ‘Security Permission’ settings of your phone and tick the ‘Unknown Sources’ options. This lets you install apps from sources other than the Google Play Store.

Reports also indicate that you can download the latest version of WhatsApp on the Google Play Store, but the APK method worked successfully for the Fin24 tech team.

Then, once the APK package has downloaded to your phone, activate it and it will prompt you to install the new WhatsApp version. This version will keep your previous messages and contacts.

Now, here comes the tricky part. You will need to find somebody who has WhatsApp calling already activated and then get them to call you. This is the final step in having the WhatsApp calling feature on your phone.

Also, be aware of fake APK downloads of WhatsApp that could risk infecting your device with malware. Only download from the link provided above.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Company Snapshot
Voting Booth
What potential restrictions on unvaccinated South Africans may make the biggest difference to public health, the economy?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Limited access to restaurants and bars
11% - 83 votes
Limited access to shopping centres
16% - 125 votes
Limited access to live events, including sport matches and festivals
26% - 198 votes
Workplace vaccine mandates
48% - 368 votes