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How to Create a Chat App like WhatsApp?

17 Jul 19  

Reading Time: 7 minutes



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a whatsapp-like app screen

We have been spending our entire day with our smartphones in hand and nonstop access to the Internet. So it’s not surprising that we prefer to communicate with family and friends through the widely used instant messengers and, the most popular among them being WhatsApp. 

As per research, consistently 1 billion people all over the world use it. Moreover, WhatsApp is the most used app in 109 countries.

chat app growth statistics

But, how to create a chat app like WhatsApp?

A further 75% of mobile users prefer to use instant messengers for communication rather than the traditional modes of communication like emails. So it is no dramatization to say that instant chat based messaging has indeed, taken over the business, and is just set to increment. From 2016 till now, WhatsApp currently flaunts a user base of 1 or 2 billion, making it the most popular messenger app on the planet followed by Facebook IM and WeChat.

Ideal Features in a Chat App

a messaging app screen

Primarily WhatsApp is a messenger service built for smartphones, depending on the internet connection or mobile phone data. Instant messengers are usually cheaper than the SMS services, and some chat apps work on low-cost subscription models but the majority of them are free. Every successful chat app will have salient features to draw in new users and this will be the sole reason for the success of a chat app. Learn how user engagement and user retention boost the success of apps. The number of features that is to be hosted in the app determines the cost of your app’s development. 

Here are some features that have made WhatsApp fiercely successful.

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• Instant Messaging:

This is the primary reason for your app’s success, and an essential feature while creating messenger apps. It depends largely on the users’ internet connection, and when the users go disconnected to the internet, they can receive the notifications they missed, when they return online. Since instant messaging is an inevitable feature while making messenger apps, a small addition is definitely going to count like the provision to have either public or private chat. To draw in more users, features like the app hosted custom fonts, emoji, and stickers for the app, mute chat option, a scheduling feature with push notification for upcoming birthdays, holidays etc. can be included.

• Real-Time Connectivity:

Taking into account the ‘instant’ in instant messaging, real-time connectivity is the preferred medium for chat apps, since message delivery happens instantly and quickly, without any distance barriers, making users close to each other.

• Multimedia File Transmission:

Users of your chat app are going to love the ability to share different types of multimedia like images, videos, files, GIFs, stickers etc., Further allowing a sync service with cloud services (e.g. Dropbox, Google Drive, and Evernote) that can boost the efficiency. This element, however, increases the cost of development.

• Security:

This is one among the main issue as keeping the data safe and secure from the third party is important. The leakage of data is an all-time concern, so make sure to prioritize user security. You can invest in premium encryption technologies to secure your messages from third-party interference.

• Push Notifications:

This keeps users dynamic within the application and keeps them alert actually the whole day about message alerts and other user’s online availability. Allow users to customize the number of notifications they would like to get. You can use Firebase Cloud Messaging for android chat app development, and Firebase or Apple Push Notifications for iOS, which is native to the iOS platform.

• Quick Search:

This makes it simple for the users of your chat application to search and track conversation that has occurred long back. This element may be helpful both in personal and professional life where something important is shared within a chat.

• Group Chats:

Your chat app should further enable users to connect with other users using group conversations, where multimedia files can also be shared. 

• Video and Voice Calling:

International video calls were first used by Skype, and instant chat takes this quick mode of communication to the next level. Features like voice and video call further make your chat app more intuitive, putting no restrictions on the way users collaborate and communicate with one another. 

• Social Integration:

Social media and lifestyle are connected; likewise, your app should also be connected to social media apps. Enable users to share posts and content from different applications like, Facebook and Instagram, etc. to make the most out of data sharing. 

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Factors that helped in the success of WhatsApp 

some persons walking with laptop with whatsapp logo background

#1 Pioneering the mobile-first approach

Unlike its rivals that are yet depending on desktop versions, WhatsApp was the first to step onto a mobile path.

#2 Cost-efficient substitute for SMS 

While other chat applications, like Skype, were upsetting the international calls market, WhatsApp’s main target was SMS communication. Even its paid model, which the application had used until 2016, was more reasonable than the traditional short-message rates of telephone providers. 

#3 Next-to-nothing user acquisition cost 

You may be shocked to hear that, however, it’s a fact! Customer acquisition eats lion share of the budget for consumer mobile companies. However, WhatsApp chatting app truly sold like hotcakes. Subsequent to onboarding by means of the contact list in their possession, which was brilliant, it was only informal advertising. The insane popularity of the then paid application instantly made the network impact. 

Eminently, even the promotion of more newer features (like voice and video calling) goes for the most part by means of eWOM – or from one user who spots it on their application to another – and not as a result of the costly promotional campaign. 

#4 Multi-platform accessibility 

The initial release of the application on iOS was nearly followed by the development on different platforms – Blackberry, Symbian, Android, Windows Phone, including an older version of the devices running on them, like Nokia N95. Later, they added web and desktop versions too. WhatsApp has done an awesome activity on market coverage. And the different versions of Whatsapp look and feel completely different. Its UX/UI designers worked greatly on the multiplatform adaptation. 

#5 Ads Free User Experience 

Both the co-founders realized what is most important to users This no-ads no-games no-gimmicks approach makes it clear that– the app’s makers could tell, users are paying for their product and not for tweaks or third-party add-ons. 

#6 Consistent product updates 

Assuming that the audience of the app grew enormously – 250 million MAU in 2013 – the paid plan of business gave sufficient operational cost to the company’s development. From its start as just a texting app, the product has included multi-format file transfer, voice and video calls, encryption and other appealing features. It might have fewer functionalities than other chat apps, but whatever the organization embraces to implement, is seen through until top notch. 

#7 Lean development and smart DevOps 

The organization’s highest ratio of developers to users is aware of the team’s great proficiency and talent. They managed to set up a system to sustain the quickly growing messaging users that surpassed the world’s SMS traffic by more than half. With just 50 people to date, it’s been running easily and giving an excellent service. Tools customization, smart efficiency metrics, and flat scaling have also spared the organization huge amounts of money. 

#8 Narrow Focus

The startup business model canvas was an anti-pattern to the classic ones: non-confined target audience, limited functionality, paid service. However, this is the one that actually worked best! 

Unlike many apps that couldn’t survive in the market, WhatsApp carefully escaped all-encompassing portal approach. Its complete focus was on quality messaging and has never taken the eye off the ball.

Development and Cost 

whatsapp like app development cost informations

The huge task of creating an app like WhatsApp consist of backend development, front end, native platform and web app design and quality assurance.

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These expenses depend on the team’s hourly rates. The process towards building the application itself can take up to 1400 hours by a team of experienced developers.
The hours and related expenses of your chat app will be reliant on the inclusivity of your application’s features including user registration, address book information and integration, message notification,, multimedia tile transmissions, group chat, location sharing, user status/profile, the capability to look for users and chats, and also the capacity to start video calling. 


message app screen

These are some specifics you’ll have on how to create a chat app like Whatsapp. WhatsApp may run the market, however, there’s still space for your chat application to flourish when you comprehend what specific feature your application has but WhatsApp doesn’t. This difference will make your application stand out from the rest and hook people onto using your application. 

From the bottom up, the process may appear to be entangled, particularly when you don’t have the high technical knowledge to develop, architect and maintain your app on front-end platforms. You will need a team that explores all possibilities for your business and development needs. A team that serves to explores all your business needs and future goals to empower your application to sprout into its fullest potential. 

Go through our portfolio to draw inspiration from our successful projects and feel free to contact us if you need to create an instant chat app like Whatsapp. If you are looking for a mobile app development company with the capacity and expertise to build apps both for Android and iOS platforms, we provide free consultation on any solutions that match your needs and budgets.