WhatsApp is clearly the world's largest cross-platform instant messaging application with over a billion users on the platform. But sustaining such a massive user base hasn't always been easy, for which WhatsApp constantly rolls out new features to keep users hooked to the app. It appears those efforts aren't enough as many users are known to flock over to rival apps, or worse, start using unofficial WhatsApp clones.
WhatsApp has warned users against the perils of using unofficial apps such as WhatsApp Plus and GB WhatsApp, but the wide range of features offered by those apps makes it worth the risk. But one of the biggest risks of using such modified WhatsApp clones is that users are at a safety hazard as the company cannot validate their security practices.
Now, WhatsApp is taking a harsh step to convince users of WhatsApp Plus and GB WhatsApp to switch to the official app or face dire consequences. WhatsApp will start banning user accounts that are used on unofficial versions of the app.
As reliant as users are on WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned app needs its user-base to thrive. While banning users who are using modified WhatsApp apps is a harsh approach, the ban is only a temporary one and users can then switch to the official version of the app.
"WhatsApp cares deeply about the safety of our users. To protect the privacy and security of their account, we strongly recommend users only download WhatsApp from official app stores or from our website. We are continuing to step up our enforcement against imposter WhatsApp services to help curb abuse and keep WhatsApp users safe," WhatsApp spokesperson told Indian Express.
WhatsApp has also shared a detailed FAQ page on how to migrate from unofficial to official WhatsApp app and restore chats.
Here's how one can switch to the official WhatsApp app in a few easy steps.
For GB WhatsApp users:
Step 1: To retrieve old chats, users must back up chat history on unofficial apps once the temporary ban is lifted. To do so, go to WhatsApp > Options > Chats > Backup chats.
Step 2: Go to phone settings, then storage, select files and find GB WhatsApp folder.
Step 3: Rename the select folder to "WhatsApp" by long pressing the icon.
Step 4: Download official WhatsApp from Play Store.
Step 5: Verify phone number with OTP and select Restore when prompted to backup chats.
Step 6: WhatsApp will retrieve your old data from unofficial app.
For WhatsApp Plus users:
Step 1: Download and install official WhatsApp from Play Store.
Step 2: Verify your phone number and restore all chats seamlessly.
Make sure users delete the unofficial apps or APKs from the phone in order to prevent any problems.