What’s the difference between WhatsApp and texting?

They both let you send and receive messages, but how does traditional text messaging differ from WhatsApp?

There are so many different ways to send messages on your phone, it can be hard to keep up. As well as regular text messages (aka SMS), there are a host of internet-based services on offer that also send messages.

Two such services are WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

Here we’ll focus on WhatsApp, and examined how it differs from sending traditional text messages.

[Read more: What is WhatsApp Messenger?]

What is WhatsApp?

WhatsApp is an app that lets you send messages to someone over the internet. This differs from standard SMS messaging, which sends texts over the mobile network.

Which devices does WhatsApp work on?

As well as smartphones and tablets, you can send and receive WhatsApp messages on laptops and desktop computers, as long as you’ve downloaded the WhatsApp software.

Which devices do text messages work on?

Phones, obviously, but you can also send and receive texts from a laptop, desktop or tablet, which don’t have a mobile connection. Though admittedly it’s a bit trickier than just using WhatsApp, you can send texts through email, for example, or by using a free SMS website.

What’s the advantage of using WhatsApp over texting?

It can be cheaper, depending on your situation and your data package, as WhatsApp messages aren't counted as part of your monthly SMS messaging allowance. If you’re on a wi-fi network, WhatsApp messages are free to send, just as they are if you have enough mobile data in your monthly allowance. However, many mobile tariffs offer free text messages too, so it really depends on which package you have.

What’s the advantage of text messages over WhatsApp?

SMS is simpler, as the sender and the recipient don’t need to download any extra software - text messaging apps come as standard on all phones. There are fewer features as well, so it’s less confusing to use. But once you get to grips with WhatsApp it’s a doddle to use, and if you send a lot of images over wi-fi connections it could save you a tidy sum.

[Read more: How to keep your WhatsApp messages with a new number]

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