How does WhatsApp work with my iPhone's Contacts?

In order to get the best experience from WhatsApp, we strongly recommend that you allow WhatsApp access to your phone's contacts. Here are a few things to know about using WhatsApp with your phone's contacts.

How WhatsApp uses your contacts

You can learn more about how WhatsApp uses your phone's contacts from this FAQ article. In short, we value your privacy and we have not, do not and will not ever sell your personal information to anyone.

How to enable access to your contacts

If you initially denied WhatsApp access to your phone's contacts, you can enable access by going to your iPhone's Settings:

  1. Go to iPhone Settings > Privacy.
  2. Tap Contacts.
  3. Make sure WhatsApp is set to ON.

If WhatsApp is greyed out or does not appear in privacy settings

This is a rare issue, but it does happen to a small number of users. Ensure that you do not have any restrictions set in iPhone Settings > General > Restrictions. Otherwise, you will most likely need to restore your phone. This Apple Support Page explains the process: iOS: How to back up and restore your content.

If you do not allow WhatsApp access to your contacts

Although we strongly recommend allowing WhatsApp access to your phone's contacts, you can continue to use WhatsApp in a limited capacity without allowing access.

If you deny WhatsApp access to your phone's contacts, you will be able to:

  • Receive messages from other WhatsApp users and groups.
  • Change WhatsApp Settings.

You will not be able to:

  • See any contact names; you will only see phone numbers.
  • Start a new chat by entering a phone number.
  • Start new Group Chats or Broadcast Lists.
  • See Favorites.

Cheers,
WhatsApp Support Team