Setting up WhatsApp on your Sailfish OS device

Jolla Testing -

Please note that your software (Sailfish OS) must be in the very latest version in order for all features described in this article to work. Read about updating your software here.

Whatsapp application (like most Android apps) get updates on a regular basis. We recommend installing these updates as after some time the app and Sailfish OS might become incompatible.

NOTE: The implementation of Android App Support varies by device. On the older devices, i.e., Jolla Phone, Jolla Tablet, Jolla C and Xperia X, Android App Support simulates Android version 4, whereas in case of the more recent products Xperia XA2 and Xperia 10 the Android version is 8.1.  Also the related Sailfish menu pages for Android Support have some differences between those two support categories. Bear this in mind when reading chapter 3 of this help article.



1 Downloading WhatsApp

2 Activating WhatsApp service on your device

3 Making sure WhatsApp gives notifications even when not open

4 Troubleshooting


1 Downloading WhatsApp

1) Open Aptoide Store on your device. Aptoide Store icon is shown below. This app appears by the name Store in the Sailfish application grid.


You can install Aptoide Store from the Jolla Store if you don't already have it.

2) Download and install "WhatsApp Messenger" under the "Top" tab or use the Search function to locate it.


After downloading and installing, you are required to activate WhatsApp before starting to use it.


2 Activating WhatsApp service on your device

Next, we will activate WhatsApp on your Sailfish OS device. WhatsApp uses an automated text message system for verification. We will have to help it a little by hand though, as AndroidApp Support of Sailfish OS may not be able to read the necessary info from the verification message sent by WhatsApp.

1) Please ensure that your device has a connection to the cellular network and that Mobile Data is enabled & functioning (see Settings > Mobile network > Use SIM card).  Note that although mobile network connection (arranged with your SIM card) must be available in the registration phase, you can use Whatsapp service over a WLAN connection later on.

2) Open WhatsApp. Agree to the Terms and Conditions and fill in your country and phone number (without the leading zero), and press OK.

3) Next, you will be sent an SMS containing a 6-digit confirmation code (see the views below). Note that Sailfish OS may not detect the incoming SMS automatically but you may need to open the Messages app and check if you have received a text message from Whatsapp:

WA_003b.png  WA_006b.png



4) At this point, Whatsapp presents the following view to you. Please skip it as it does not work on Android App Support of Sailfish OS. Close Whatsapp and check the advice in chapter 3.





3 Making sure WhatsApp gives notifications even when not open

By default, notifications will not come through unless you have WhatsApp open or minimized to the Home screen.

Should you wish to be alerted of WhatsApp messages and calls whenever they might arrive, regardless the application is running, please do the following:

1) In Settings > Android App Support, enable the option "Start Android App Support on bootup". This keeps the Android system operational and ready for use. 

2) Go to Settings > Apps

3) Find WhatsApp from the grid of application icons:


4) Then, enable the option "Allow application background services to start on bootup". This makes Whatsapp's background processes start as soon as the device starts up:


The switch in this view will make WhatsApp's background processes run all the time on your Sailfish device, regardless of WhatsApp is open or not. While this means that you will be receiving messages whenever they arrive, it may also have an impact on battery life, making it shorter, unfortunately.

You may need to restart WhatsApp for this change to be applied.

Please also note the other controls for the Whatsapp application in the view above.

5) The button "Open Android settings" (see the picture above) exists on Android 8.1 App Support only, i.e. on Xperia XA2 and Xperia 10 devices.  

If you have a different device, go to step 6.

This button makes it possible to tune app the Android-specific settings of this app after it has been installed. For instance, consider allowing it to present notifications and permit to use some resources of your phone (if not all - see the picture on below right).

WA-set-2.png  WA-set-3.png  WA-set-4.png

6) Selecting ringing tones and notification tones

Open Whatsapp app. Tap the three dots near the top right corner and select Settings. Next, tap Notifications. On this menu page, you can select in which ways you want Whatsapp to alert you on incoming messages, group messages and calls.



4 Troubleshooting

Q: I can't get notifications from WhatsApp even after following the instructions of chapter 3

A: Please check if there is a newer version of WhatsApp available in e.g. Aptoide Store. You may also need to re-install WhatsApp for notifications to work. You should have the latest Sailfish OS version, too.

Q: I can't get all my contacts to show in WhatsApp. Some show names, but some just show the phone number

A1: If you have an Xperia XA2 or Xperia 10, then follow step 5) in chapter 3 to give the required permissions.  Should this not help, carry on reading the instructions just below the next two pictures.

A2: If you have an Xperia X, Jolla C, Jolla Tablet or Jolla Phone, then this is for you.
First please make sure that you have given Android applications permission to access your contacts in Settings > AndroidApp Support - the pictures below represent the Sailfish settings for Android App Support on Jolla1, JollaC and Xperia X devices:

AAS-4.4-1.png  AAS-4.4-2.png

If activating this setting does not solve the issue, please read on.

Below is a list of everything you can try to jostle up WhatsApp to find all your contacts. You don't have to try all of them, but we recommend you start from the first suggestion that is least intrusive and easy, and continue down the list only if the issue isn't solved for you.

  • Go to WhatsApp "Settings" > "Contacts" (i.e. touch the 3 dots at top right corner; then touch Contacts). Activate "Show all contacts" option.
  • Return to the home view of the app.
  • Tap on the green “New Chat” button at the lower right corner of WhatsApp main view. Select the three dots (top-right) and select "Refresh". This is great for updating your WhatsApp contacts with changes made to their e.g. phone numbers in the People app.
  • Restart (stop and start) Android App Support from the Android App Support page in Settings (see screenshots above).
  • Restart WhatsApp
  • Restart your device.
  • Try the troubleshooting steps provided by WhatsApp in the WhatsApp application. You can find them as follows:

1) Press the New Chat button:


2) In the next view, press the three dots top-right and select Help:


3) Please try out the steps suggested in the next view.

If your problems continue even after these steps, we can only suggest you check in the People app that contact information for these certain contacts are in order (e.g. no multiple numbers, incorrect numbers).

Q: I never receive an SMS code from WhatsApp!

A: Swipe Whatsapp app aside and check if you have received a message from Whatsapp to your Messages app.   If not, please wait for the timer (1 minute) to run down, after which you will be given the options to ask for the SMS to be resent, or request a call from WhatsApp with a code.

Q: WhatsApp seems to be stuck in the "Initializing" or "Connecting" phase during activating the service!

A: Please give this phase time. The cause of this issue is unknown, but you can try some of the tricks available online. Restarting your device might help as well.

Q: Incoming voice calls and video calls do not ring if I do not have the application open. If it is open, I can hear the phone ringing but there is no way to answer the call.

A. Let's check the settings of your Android App Support and of your Whatsapp application first. Please read chapter 3 and follow the advice there.







Have more questions? Submit a request
Powered by Zendesk