A Minor Warning About WhatsApp: The PC Version Doesn’t Work If Your Phone Breaks
Sunrise from Mt. Fuji just prior to a storm -- Hakuunso on Mt. Fuji (富士山の白雲荘) -- Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Japan -- Copyright 2018 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/80 sec, f/4.5, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Sunrise from Mt. Fuji
just prior to a storm

The photo above is from a hike on Mt. Fuji a few days ago, which I'll write about soon (I hope), but today's post is about the WhatsApp messaging service, and something I discovered about it during my Fuji trip.

On a bicycle ride on Mt. Fuji, while in the middle of taking a photo with my iPhone, the iPhone just spazzed out and died, and I was left without a way to contact the others I was traveling with. Unfortunately, the ride went some hours longer than I had anticipated, and I'm sure my friends worried.

When I returned to the hotel, my friends had gone out and left a message for me expressing their worry, so I wanted to contact them using WhatsApp on my laptop. But it wouldn't connect.... it turns out that WhatsApp won't do anything if it can't contact your phone first. My phone was a useless brick, so I was stuck.

Other messaging services that I use both on my phone and my laptop — LINE and Facebook Messenger — worked fine, so I could contact others to report my mostly-unreachable-while-on-the-road state, but I was cut off from everyone for whom WhatsApp was my main method of communication. This was unfortunate.

I've a special spot in my heart for WhatsApp, because it was created by a couple of friends, and I gave them some minor help early on. I was one of its first users, before it was a messaging app, and was literally the first WhatsApp user in Japan. But these days I tend to use LINE more, both because it has more reach in Japan (WhatsApp has much more reach outside of Japan), and because I find that LINE has more features that are important to me.

If you use WhatsApp, just know that you're running a risk: if your phone dies, or is lost/stolen, or runs out of battery, you're cut off from all your contacts, even if you have WhatsApp running on your computer.

All 4 comments so far, oldest first...

Amazing weather image! Hope you managed to stay dry.

— comment by Tom in SF on July 9th, 2018 at 12:59pm JST (1 week, 4 days ago) comment permalink

Before leaving for a sabbatical year I disconnected my mobile number in my local provider. For about half a year I could use my Whatsapp acount on a PC and on my mobile (even though it was not connected to an active number). Suddenly my access cto the account stopped! I guess that someone was given my old phone number. My wife’s account is still active even though she also disconnected her active number. I understand Whatsapp demands an active mobile number in order to work (actually I don’t really understand!) but in case of an accident it should give some option of retrieving important information such as contacts and conversations and give an option to carry them on to a new number.

— comment by Tal on July 9th, 2018 at 4:27pm JST (1 week, 3 days ago) comment permalink

Fujin awakens the mountain! Best wishes from NC.

— comment by DD on July 9th, 2018 at 11:38pm JST (1 week, 3 days ago) comment permalink

Really cool photo. I think I found my next desktop image. Thank you.

— comment by Sergey Kolychev on July 12th, 2018 at 3:36am JST (1 week, 1 day ago) comment permalink
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