Whatsapp moves to yearly subscription payment, app now free to download

Accompanying the latest update to Whatsapp, the developers have now changed the pricing of the app bringing it in line with other platforms. Instead of charging $0.99 for the app, Whatsapp is now free to download and use for the first year. After that, a $0.99 subscription charge per year will incur.

In terms of the app update itself, there's now an iCloud chat backup and restore option, URL schema support for third-party apps, and a new multi-send feature which gives the ability to send more than one image at one time. Useful changes, particularly for heavy users.

Tell me though, was anyone put off trying Whatsapp before because it was a paid app? Does this new pricing scheme entice you to take the plunge now?

Richard Devine

Senior Editor at iMore, part time racing driver, full time British guy

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There are 15 comments. Add yours.

qbnkelt says:

The pricing structure was never an issue for me. I had friends across multiple platforms so that was the reason I got it
Been using it as far back as my SG2.

ritesh says:

I guess the " upcoming BBM" made them do this.

Christian Kitazume says:

As far as I saw Whatsapp will stay free for those who already paid for it once as long as you keep your cellphone's number. At least in my account setting there is no way to put in any payment options but instead says I got life long service.

Nathan Bael says:

That is good. I figured they would have to change something. You cant sell a product once and then service it for free for life.

Angelo_Campher says:

You can now migrate your account to a new number. I believe those who already paid for it have a lifetime subscription which is rather nice of them since you can migrate now.

Apple Blogger says:

Yup that's true .. Same with me

craigdolson says:

The fact that the service is tied to the phone number, and not an email address, or username has kept me from using it. Since I use Google voice, and have multiple devices, other people wouldn't know where to find me. Unless things have changed......

Joshua Massre says:

It makes sense to charge a yearly fee. I mean, charging 99 cents for an app that has a server component to get lifetime service can't be profitable for them.

Ben_Trovato says:

If BBM is offered free on iOS & Android then I can't see WhatsApp surviving. In my opinion the app should always be free but features should be offered on a subscription service. When you have to pay a yearly fee for something basic like chatting, the business model will ultimately fail.

PineappleUnderTheSea says:

The issue with going to BBM now is that the vast majority of the people I know no longer own BBs, they mostly own iPhones or Androids, and most use iMessage or WhatsApp. The remaining BB owners out there most likely have WhatsApp installed, so for the rest of the world BBM would just be another app to download and set up (and maybe pay for), which would be pointless unless BBM offers killer features.

I wonder if BBM will be free, since it basically wasn't "free" before (I'm sure carrier fees imposed by BB helped defray some of the cost of development).

Derrick4Real says:

I only used it because I got it free. Before that, I looked it up but refrained when i realized you had to pay for it. I have unlimited text so whatsapp doesn't give me anything special. When I came free I downloaded it, installed it and never used it. It's not something my peers use. They all simply send text messages. Also i uninstalled it when i began to have fears about whatsapp security and storing messages.

There's less chance that i'll use a subscription service. I don't have much use for it. As for other messaging services, bbm, imessage, whatsapp, honestly, outside of imore i've never in my life heard those things mentioned among my friends. my family have iphones and no clue what imessage is; I asked. If someone wants to reach me they send a text or request you text them. Never do they discuss a method. I can only speak for myself but that's the situation with the people around me.

Apple Blogger says:

The old one was better .. Buying it once for life and using it on multiple devices .. Now we need to pay every year
Where as there are hundreds of other apps which are free with no subscription also .. Many people might shift to them..

Nyan_Cat100 says:

+1 there I didn't download Whatsapp on my old blackberry because it was even before this, a subscription service costing 99 cents (69p over here) a year.

Kellie Hanley says:

I have had my app for a long time now so I checked mine and I have life long subscription.
I use mine daily as I take pictures of the products I make and what's app pics straight over to hubby who then uploads them to the website or Facebook page.
I do have unlimited texts but picture messages are still charged at something like 49p each when send at least 10 a day would cost me a fortune.
Then comes drop box which dis make our life easier to start until you have so many pictures that each time you enter Dropbox all pics take forever to load.
I think it is an amazing app and my business would be very very long winded without it!
On a personal side my friends and I group chat all the time and it would be certainly missed now!
Even after paying for the app I would still be very happy to pay a yearly subscription of double and maybe more of what they are asking!
Great job 5* from me.

Mick Smith says:

Well here's my thought... i paid for the app recently then facebook bought it and now want me to pay again... so i refuse to pay some company the 60p they want it's not that its pricey or i cant afford it, it's the fact they refuse to sub my whatsapp payment and want me to pay there price.. A quick google search got me a cracked version i can use for free this is what iv done purely out of principle of the fact of the customer is in the crapper when it comes to companys and there money grabbing schemes..