This was an issue sent to us by one of our readers and it is a common issue on both iPhones and Android devices. There are many reasons as to why you might not be receiving WhatsApp messages unless you open the application, and some of them are listed below:
- Poor internet connection – If your internet connection is weak, then background refresh may not be strong enough to fetch your WhatsApp messages.
- The cache is full.
- Background application refresh has been disabled.
- Battery optimisation is blocking background synchronisation.
- A faulty version of WhatsApp is installed.
As you can see, the causes of this issue can vary between users so this guide will outline different solutions you can follow to solve this issue on different operating systems like Android and iOS.
Solution 1: Check If WhatsApp Notifications Are Enabled (Android & iOS)
One reason you might think that you are not receiving WhatsApp messages unless you open the app is that you are not receiving notifications. This could be because your notifications for WhatsApp have been disabled, either accidentally or by a third-party application. Checking if WhatsApp notifications are enabled or not is simple and for Android devices:
- Open Settings and go into “Apps and Notification”.
- Find WhatsApp in the list of apps and tap on it.
- Tap on “Notifications” and make sure all the notifications are enabled.
If your notifications were disabled and you have now enabled them, then you should not be facing this issue anymore. However, if you are, then move on to solution 2.
To enable WhatsApp notifications on your iPhone:
- Go to Settings and then WhatsApp.
- Tap on “Notifications” and at the bottom of the page, tap on “WhatsApp notification settings”.
- Enable notifications by making sure the sliders are green.
If your iPhone is still not receiving WhatsApp messages, then move on to solution 3.
Solution 2: Clear WhatsApp Cache (Android)
The cache is when data is stored temporarily so that it can be accessed quickly. For example, if you frequently open the same webpage using the browser on your phone, it will be cached so that loading up the browser will be quicker. Likewise, if you are a heavy user of WhatsApp, some of your chats on WhatsApp and media will be cached. However, if the cache gets too “big”, it may be stopping your phone from receiving WhatsApp messages in the background.
This can be resolved by clearing the cache. Clearing the cache of your device or any application will not delete any data and you will still retain all your information. Although the exact method to clear the cache on your Android phone varies, the general method is to:
- Open Settings and then “Apps and Notifications”.
- Scroll down until you find WhatsApp and choose “Storage”.
- Pick “Clear Cache” and wait until the cache deletes.
On some devices, restarting the phone will result in the phone’s cache being cleared so you can attempt to do this, in addition to manually deleting the cache.
Solution 3: Disable Do Not Disturb (DND) (Android & iOS)
Another reason why it may seem that you are not receiving messages from WhatsApp in the background is due to DND being enabled. Again, this can easily be disabled. To disable DND on Android:
- Open settings and go into “Sounds”.
- Choose “Do Not Disturb” and pick the option which says: “Turn Off Now”.
- Open settings and then “Do Not Disturb”.
- Switch the toggle so that it is in the “off” position (which will be shown by white next to the toggle).
This will allow your phone to receive notifications and alert you whenever you receive a new WhatsApp message.
Solution 4: Disable Battery Optimisation (Android)
Battery optimization is a feature on most modern Android smartphones that elongates your phone’s battery life by controlling which background processes remain running and which are forcefully closed. Normally, battery optimization does not stop WhatsApp messages from coming through however in some circumstances, if the battery optimization is aggressive, then this can happen.
To disable battery optimization on most Android devices:
- Go into settings and then “Battery”.
- Choose the option which says: “Battery Optimisation” or “Adaptive Battery”.
- Disable this.
Note: This may cause the battery life on your device to decrease.
Alternatively, you can choose to disable battery optimization specifically for WhatsApp. This can be done by opening WhatsApp settings through “Apps and Notifications”, then picking “Battery” and under “Battery Optimisation”, disable WhatsApp specifically.
Solution 5: Enable Background App Refresh for Mobile Data (Android & iOS)
Background App Refresh is when applications that require a connection to the internet to function (such as WhatsApp and social media applications) refresh in the background so that you can receive messages and notifications. When using Wi-Fi, since there is seldom a usage cap, Background App Refresh stays enabled. However, on Mobile Data, where plans are more restricting to the user on their data usage, Background App Refresh may be disabled. Therefore, you can enable Background App Refresh for WhatsApp, allowing it to refresh whilst your phone is using Mobile Data.
To enable Background App Refresh on Android devices:
- Open settings and under “Network & Internet”, choose either “Mobile Data” or “Data Usage”.
- Then, pick “App Data Usage” and locate WhatsApp in the list.
- Make sure “Background Data” is enabled.
To enable Background App Refresh on iPhone:
- Open Settings app and choose “General“.
- Find Background App Refresh and turn it On if it is not.
Solution 6: Uninstall and Reinstall WhatsApp (Android & iOS)
If your WhatsApp messages are still not coming through unless you open the application, you might have a version of WhatsApp installed on your phone that has bugs. This can be resolved by removing WhatsApp from your phone and then reinstalling it from either the Play Store or the App Store. Before you proceed with this method, ensure you have created a backup of your WhatsApp. This can be done through the WhatsApp menu and will let you restore to it after you reinstall WhatsApp on your phone.
Uninstalling WhatsApp is usually done by long-pressing on the icon of the application and then either choosing to uninstall it by pressing a cross or dragging it to the section which says uninstall. Once you have reinstalled WhatsApp on your phone, enter the same phone number that you used previously and then restore from the latest backup you created.
We hope this article has been useful to you by resolving the issue of not receiving WhatsApp messages. This is one of many issues users of WhatsApp face and if you are facing other issues when you are using WhatsApp on your phone, make sure you check out our other guides and articles.