WhatsApp – Guide for Blind users

WhatsApp is a very popular app a bit like Skype.
You have probably heard of WhatsApp groups. There are often lots of WhatsApp groups that friends use to chat to each other. At my school, there is even one called “Almost every Year 7” that has pretty much all Year 7’s who are on WhatsApp.

To use any features in WhatsApp, you must have an account. It is easy to create an account if you have a phone and once you register, you will never be logged out unless you change phones. If you don’t have a phone, you sadly cannot use WhatsApp at the moment and might as well skip to the next app in this guide. WhatsApp for iPad is on the way though. You can get WhatsApp on the Touch or Touch + but remember that you can only have one device linked to a WhatsApp account so if your WhatsApp account is linked to a phone this will disccnect your phone from your account and delete all WhatsApp messages stored on your phone. Once you have connected your Touch or Touch + to your account, there is no going back.

You will have to verify a phone number to create an account so if you’re thinking that you might be able to just sign up for a 2nd account on a Touch +, that will not work unless you have two different phone numbers that can both receive text messages.

Downloading WhatsApp:
Whatsapp is available for iPhones and Android devices (including Touch/Touch +). See download instructions below:

How to download WhatsApp (for iOS devices):
1. Open the App Store on your iOS device
2. Search for WhatsApp.
3. The app will come up as WhatsApp Messenger. Click Get/Install. You may need to enter your Apple ID password, touch ID oq get consent from a parent if you’re a child based on how your Apple ID is set up.
5. Nnce it says “Downloading”, WhatsApp will download and install automatically.

How to Download WhatsApp (for Touch and Touch +):

  1. Open the Play Store app from Main Menu.
  2. Find the search box by pressing the letter S until it says Search for apps and games.
  3. Type in WhatsApp and press enter.
  4. The app will appear as WhatsApp Messenger. When the app comes up, Click Install. You may need to accept permissions (e.g. microphone and camera) so if an App permissions window appears, click Accept. If you are using the Touch +, you may need to accept these permissions when the app opens instead so don’t worry if you have not been asked to accept them yet.

Accessibility of WhatsApp:
WhatsApp is very accessible at the moment but there have been various bugs in some older versions of WhatsApp. Currently, I suggest the latest version of WhatsApp is the best out of the latest few versions for accessibility. This advice can change very quickly though, so I will put a “DO NOT UPDATE” message on my tech blog at tactiletimes.page.link/tb if there is a significant accessibility bug I have noticed in the latest release. You can subscribe to my tech blog and that way you will get an email as soon as I have posted this message.

Setting up WhatsApp:
When you open WhatsApp for the first time, you will be asked to agree to the Terms and Conditions. Click Agree and then enter your phone number.
2. A verification code will be sent to this number via text message. Enter the code in the app.
3. Complete the rest of the registration process. This may involve entering a name, optionally selecting a profile picture, etc…
4. You are now registered!
On some devices, the next steps of the set-up may be automatically completed, but if they’re not, see below:
5. The next screen will be an alert saying WhatsApp needs access to your contacts to work properly. WhatsApp needs this access for you to be able to chat with people, so click Allow. If you click Deny, many features of WhatsApp will not be available to you. Don’t worry if you clicked Deny by mistake as you can change this in Settings.
6. The final set up screen will say that WhatsApp needs to send you notifications. This is needed to receiving WhatsApp calls and for getting notified of new messages so we recommend you click Allow. If you click Deny you will still be able to use WhatsApp but will not be notified about calls or messages.
WhatsApp is now fully set up on your device.

If you are new to WhatsApp and your friends have a group you would like to join, ask them to send you an invite link or alternatively give them your phone number so they can add you to the group. We recommend you ask them which of these methods they profer as for some groups the admin will say links are a security risk and not allowed.

Chats and calls:
WhatsApp has two main features. One is that you can send messages, voice messages, photos, contacts, documents, links and even your live location to people and they can reply back to you and the other main feature is group calls (up to 4 participants only)

On WhatsApp, people will need your phone number to be able to message you, and if you have other people’s phone numbers who are on WhatsApp in your contacts, you can chat to them.

You can easily create a new group. Just click the New group button, select people you want to be in the group (you can add more people and/or create an invite link later). Then, enter a subject (name) for your group, optionally select a group icon and click “Create”. WhatsApp groups have a limit of about 260 participants per group but groups will probably get too busy if you have loads of participants.

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