Explaining Apple and Android App Privacy Reports

Apple and Android recently launched privacy reporting dashboards that allow their users to receive information about how an app functions and when an app uses certain features of a phone. We support transparency, which is why for years we have provided a way for people to download information associated with their account.
Since 2016 we have deployed end-to-end encryption, meaning that calls, messages, photos, videos, and voice notes to friends and family are only shared with the intended recipient; no one else (not even us) can read them. We make that clear at the start of every conversation. With end-to-end encryption, messages are not stored on our servers after they're delivered, and in the normal course of operating our services, we do not keep logs of who everyone is messaging or calling.
To provide a reliable and seamless global communications service, we collect some information. As a matter of principle, we minimize the categories of data that we collect. For the limited kinds of data we do collect, we take measures to restrict access to that information. For example, when you send a live location to a friend on WhatsApp, your location is end-to-end encrypted, which means we cannot see that location and neither can our parent company Meta. We provide further explanations throughout our Help Center, Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service.
Here’s an overview of how WhatsApp functions and the additional services WhatsApp may use. It’s important to understand that when a user downloads WhatsApp on iOS or Android, they have the option to grant WhatsApp permission to access features like contacts and camera. Our users are in complete control over whether they approve these permissions, and are able to change these permissions at any time in the device’s Settings menu.


To make it easier for you to message your friends and family, when you sign up for WhatsApp we ask for access to your phone numbers to see which of your contacts are using WhatsApp. If you choose to do so, the app displays the names from your address book. When you elect to do this, we will, for instance, access your phone’s contacts on a regular basis to ensure that your contact list in WhatsApp is up to date. We do not share your contact list with Meta.


Your microphone is used for services such as sending voice messages, making and receiving calls and video chats, and recording videos on WhatsApp. You are in full control of when you use it, if at all.


WhatsApp provides options for you to send and receive your location with a friend, and see what is nearby you. These are optional features. When you share your location with someone on WhatsApp, your location is protected by end-to-end encryption, which means no one can see your location except the people you share it with.


WhatsApp only accesses the camera when you tell us to, for example if you take a photo, make a video call or scan a QR code. You are in full control of when you use this feature.


WhatsApp accesses your photo library so you can use, share and receive photos seamlessly. We provide additional controls for you to limit this access, such as Save to Camera Roll. Any photos sent or received on WhatsApp are end-to-end encrypted, meaning we can’t see them.

Files + Media

If you want to save or send a photo or file in WhatsApp, WhatsApp helps you do that. You are in full control of whether you allow this. Any files sent on or saved via WhatsApp are end-to-end encrypted, meaning we can’t see them.


WhatsApp relies on other companies to provide certain features within our app, such as the ability to see someone’s location when they send it to you or enabling you to watch a video directly within WhatsApp. We do not sell your personal information and with end-to-end encryption we do not know what videos you watch.

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