WhatsApp has warned users who are considering switching to an unofficial version of the chat app to unlock some exciting new features. While WhatsApp has a lot to please – it uses secure end-to-end encryption to keep your texts safe from prying eyes by default, it rarely goes offline, and includes helpful features like voice memos and video calls – it still pretty much lacks some of the glitzier features that you can find on some competing services.
To make up for this shortcoming, a number of developers have created unofficial versions of WhatsApp. When you import your existing contacts and conversations into these chat apps, additional functions are unlocked … while your entire chat history remains intact. It’s far more tempting than switching to a competing service like Telegram, which may not be used by the same friends and family that can be found on WhatsApp.
WhatsApp Plus is one of the unofficial messaging apps that adds extra functionality to Facebook’s own messaging app.
Switching to this app allows WhatsApp users to schedule text messages and create automatic replies – e.g. see if your recipients have read your texts.
But while these additional features may sound tempting, they’re really not worth the risk.
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That’s because anyone caught using WhatsApp Plus or any other third-party version of WhatApp will be permanently banned from the teams on WhatsApp. Yes, really.
Why is WhatsApp so strict on this? Well, the Facebook-owned company says it’s because it “can’t validate its security practices”.
Hence, it is possible for these apps to read your messages in the background or run advertisements to generate revenue for the developers. Or, it could be that the developers behind these third-party versions aren’t as secure as WhatsApp – allowing bad actors to inject malware into the app in the future.
WhatsApp Plus is not available in the Google Play Store. Instead, Android smartphone owners have to search for “WhatsApp Plus” from unofficial app repositories online. You will also need to disable some of the security features that are enabled by default on Android in order to download them from the internet.
Since Apple doesn’t allow iPhone owners to download software from anywhere other than the official App Store – and there’s no way the company will let an unofficial version of WhatsApp in their online store – iPhone owners won’t have to worry about the latest warning from Whatsapp.