As you’re probably aware, WhatsApp ties your account to your phone number and you can’t use the messaging app without one.
But what if your phone number changes? Fortunately, changing your number in WhatsApp is a relatively simple process. However, there are a few points you should keep in mind before you do it.
If you’re changing your phone at the same time, you should first change your phone number in WhatsApp on your old device before registering it on the new one.
Here, we’ll show you exactly what you have to do.
Requirements for changing numbers on WhatsApp
Before you start the process of swapping over to a new phone number, there are two important things that you should check beforehand:
- Make sure that your new SIM card is inserted (in the old phone if you’re also changing phones) and that you can receive SMS and phone calls on the new phone number. You need an active mobile data connection to change the number.
- That you still have access to your old account. That means checking that your old phone number is still registered in WhatsApp. This is very important if you want to keep your chat history. You can see which number is registered currently by tapping on Settings and then on your user profile photo.
You'll want to tell your contacts about the number change because, if you don't, people won't be able to reach you on WhatsApp after changing the number until you send them a message.
The good news is that you don't have to do this manually. WhatsApp can notify your contacts of the change. People you’re in group chats with will be notified automatically.
When you change your phone number in WhatsApp, the following happens:
- Your account information (name, profile information, individual and group chats) will be transferred from the old to the new phone number.
- The old account will be deleted and will no longer appear on the list of your WhatsApp contacts.
Note: You will keep all your media and chat history if you change to a new number on the same phone. Moving chat histories to a new phone is only possible if you have previously created a backup. Plus, currently, you can only move to a new phone of the same type (iPhone -> iPhone or Android -> Android). WhatsApp is developing a solution for switching from iPhone to Android, but it's only available on Samsung phones to begin with.
How to switch phone numbers in WhatsApp
To move your account to the new phone number, follow these steps:
- Open WhatsApp and on Android tap the three dots; the cog on an iPhone.
- Tap on Settings and then on Account.
- Tap Change number.
- You’ll see a warning that the process can’t be undone. Tap Next.
- Enter your old phone number and your new phone number. Make sure the country is set correctly for both numbers. Tap Next.
- On the next screen you have the option to notify contacts of the change. You can choose between "All contacts", "Contacts with whom I have chats" or "User-defined" if you only want to inform certain contacts about the change. Make your selection and tap Done.
- The verification takes place via an SMS that is sent to you on the new SIM card. Enter the verification code to complete the phone number change.
If you’re moving to a new phone, you can now make a backup (go to Settings > Chats > Chat Backup) and when you’re certain the backup has been created, you can pop the SIM into your new phone, install WhatsApp and enter your new number (not the old one) and you should then see the option to import your chat backup.