WhatsApp Planning To Bring Annual Subscription To Its iOS App This Year


CEO of popular cross-platform messaging app WhatsApp has said that the company is planning to introduce a yearly subscription service to its iOS app later this year, where new users would pay annually to keep using the app, TechCrunch is reporting. He added that a one-off download fee will be removed from the iOS version, bringing it in line with the app’s distribution on the Android, BlackBerry, Nokia and Windows Phone platforms.


Company CEO Jan Koum was talking to Dutch journalist Alexander Klopping when he made these comments. He also said that WhatsApp is not likely to be making a desktop version of its service any time soon. “We feel strongly that the world is moving to mobile and [so] we want to be mobile-only”, he said. When asked about adding live streaming video to WhatsApp, he said “definitely not this year.”

The new subscription model would apply to new users, Koum said, and would likely follow the same pricing structure as its other apps, which are free for the first year and then cost $1/year, compared to the single, for-life $0.99 purchase that users make on iOS today. “We’re relaxed on dates, but definitely this year. It’s on the road map,” Koum said.

WhatsApp is currently one of the most popular messaging apps around, with 17 billion messages transmitted daily.

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  • Nick

    Will this affect users who already paid the one time cost for the app, or only new users?

  • New users only

  • Ok thats it, i wont use whatsapp anymore then… So many other alternatives out there, r u kidding urself whatsapp?!

  • Mark

    Pout much? $1/year is going to break you? Do you live at home with your parents and get an allowance to pay for your daily $3 coffee? Seriously dude.
    I have yet to find another text service that consistantly “stays connected” and where the app doesn’t need to be re-launched every few days.
    Besides, according to Gary’s comment, this only affacts new users.

  • f1ght3r

    It’s a dollar a year, or about 8 cents a month. Big Deal 😛 It’s not like they’re asking for 5.99 a month, so relax.

  • Simon B

    Not that I’m cheap or anything but I got mine when it was the Free App of the Week. Score big! But even with $1/year, I would definitely oblige to it. The service is worth the fee.

  • Even if you picked it up when it was free? Also how do they distinguish if you already had the app before?

  • Anonymous

    Hmm. You have the money to buy an iPhone, but somehow don’t have an extra $1 per year.

  • Guest

    It seems to suggest that anyone who already has the app, regardless of whether you got it for 0.99 or free, gets to keep using the app with full functionality. My guess is that they will most likely pull the existing app from the app store and introduce a new Whatsapp app with the subscription model perhaps even with a new UI as incentive for existing users to switch to the new app.

  • bee

    Absoloutely wouldn’t mind paying subscription as long as they keep improving with updates and new features.

  • Beebee

    Lame. Not that a dollar is much, but when Kik is free, why pay the $1/yr for WhatsApp? Not sure what they’re trying to achieve but I suspect this will negatively impact their user base.

  • WatDaPhuck

    If you can’t afford $1 a year, I suggest you stop spending all this time behind the computer.

  • bauub

    one word: Viber

  • I like
    WhatsApp, it’s well worth the small fee.