Use a third-party WhatsApp client and you could be banned for life

Use the official WhatsApp client, or else. Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Android

Use the official WhatsApp client, or else. Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Android

WhatsApp has long been warning us that using third-party clients is not permitted, and now it is permanently banning those who continue to do so.

WhatsApp began clamping down on third-party clients back in January. Users were warned that only the official client should be used to access the immensely popular messaging service, and those building third-party alternatives were issued cease and desist letters.

As a result, third-party WhatsApp clients like WhatsApp+ and WhatsAppMD quickly disappeared from the App Store and Google Play, but Android users continued to obtain them from other sources and install them manually.

In late January, WhatsApp began issuing bans to those who continued to use unauthorized apps. The ban was initially for 24 hours, but that quickly increased to 72 hours. Now WhatsApp is banning repeat offenders for life.

German website MobiFlip says it has received a number of reports from WhatsApp users who have been permanently banned for continuing to use third-party clients. Once this happens, it seems there is no way back without creating a new account with a new phone number.

OsmDroid, the developer of WhatsApp+, is now working on a feature that could bypass the ban, but there’s no guarantee it will work. He has warned users to urgently stop using his application and return to the official WhatsApp client in the meantime.

With an official WhatsApp client on almost all platforms, and the risk of a ban for those who use anything else, one might wonder why anyone would attempt to use a third-party alternative at all.

The main reason is to access additional features that aren’t officially offered by WhatsApp, such as the ability to see when a contact was last online, to customize fonts and other design elements, and to send longer videos and audio messages.

But if WhatsApp now has no qualms about kicking users permanently, it seems the advantages third-party apps bring are no longer worth the risk.