There’s a reason why WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging apps in the world. It has lots of easy-to-use features with a fairly intuitive interface. But one thing that is not so intuitive is finding and messaging someone who isn’t already on your contact list. If you need to learn how to find someone on Whatsapp, then you’ve come to the right place.
Even though WhatsApp is owned by Facebook, it lacks the dedicated search feature that Facebook (and most other social media platforms) have where you can simply search for someone by name and view their profile. Instead, WhatsApp populates suggested contacts based on your phone’s saved contact list. This is good for privacy, but it can be confusing when you want to start a chat with someone new.
Ways to Find Someone on WhatsApp
On Mobile Device
On an Android phone, the easiest way to connect with someone on WhatsApp is by hitting the Chats tab on the top menu and selecting the new message icon in the bottom right corner. The app will offer you options like ‘New group,’ ‘New contact,’ or a list of suggested contacts. These are populated from your phone’s contact list, so these are numbers you already have saved. Keep in mind that the first time you use the app, you will have to grant permission for it to access your contact list. Once you do, it’s easy enough to find the person you’re looking for, especially since their profile pictures will appear (if they have one).
By Phone Number
If you don’t already have the contact saved, then you can click ‘New contact’ and enter the person’s phone number. Unlike some platforms, you don’t search by name since the profile is linked to the number. This will save the contact information on your phone. If the person does not have WhatsApp, you will be given an option to “invite” them, which will send them a link in a text message.
On Web Browser or Desktop App
If you want to message a number without saving them as a contact, you can use this workaround. This can be done via web browser on either a smartphone or desktop. Essentially, you’re creating a link to start a chat. You can open your browser and type https://wa.me/PhoneNumber, where the last part is the person’s number with a country code. For example, to message the US number +1 123-456-7890, you would create the link https://wa.me/111234567890.
The above workaround is only if you don’t want to save the number in your contacts – maybe if it’s a business or a person you don’t know well. If you want to save the number, the process is about the same for desktop or phone. If you are working in the desktop app for the first time, you will have to scan a QR code with your phone to link your phone and desktop. On Android, click the hamburger icon in the top right corner of your phone screen and select ‘WhatsApp Web’ to scan the QR code that appears on your desktop. This will link the phone and desktop apps, and then the contact search process is the same as on the phone.
And there you have it. Even though WhatsApp prioritizes privacy, it’s still fairly simple to connect with someone via phone number. Whether on your phone or via browser or desktop app, these easy steps will help you get chatting in no time.