Tech & Trends01 Sep 2022
14 min read

How to Create an App Like WhatsApp – Insider Tips and Ideas for 2022

With 2 million monthly active users, WhatsApp is the most popular instant messaging app and its popularity continues to grow. Using instant messengers for both business and personal communication is also a trend that is here to stay and capitalize on. So, how to create a messaging app like WhatsApp, what technology stack to choose and how to promote such a product in a highly competitive environment?

Find the insider answers in this article.

A Quick Look at WhatsApp and Its Value Proposition

So, before discovering how to make an app like WhatsApp, let’s take a quick look at WhatsApp itself, the history of its creation, its unique value proposition and the business model behind it. WhatsApp was created back in 2009, by two employees of Yahoo. The project was largely inspired by social media and the opportunity to quickly update and share users’ personal statuses. This idea is also at the heart of the product’s name.  Each time the users update their personal statuses, their contacts receive a notification that can work as a trigger to start a conversation.

Also, there is one more thing that makes WhatsApp popular and respected by modern users. The application is free from ads, games and gimmicks – this was just the principle the creators developed 13 years ago and it is still unchanged. WhatsApp’s freedom from annoying elements allowed it to win the competition with Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Snapchat, and Viber.  Nevertheless, in 2021, WhatsApp generated $8,7 billion in revenue by selling additional services like WhatsApp for Business and WhatsApp Pay. 

Let’s proceed with the steps to build a WhatsApp-like app, following the LEAN development approach and keeping the best practices of Agile methodology in mind.

How to Create a Chat App Like WhatsApp

In one of our recent articles, we have already discussed how to build a messaging app, so you are welcome to check it and grab some winning ideas for your WhatsApp-like application development as well. Now, let’s discover how to create a chat application like WhatsApp, keeping the specifics of this messanger in mind. 

1. Decide on the unique value proposition

Given the popularity of WhatsApp, making its clone makes no sense. Instead, you have to come up with a unique value proposition that will make your future solution stand out. For example, Snapchat offers engaging augmented reality filters, while Telegram is famous for its data security and encryption mechanism. Get started by analysing the main competitors in the niche, and discovering the features their solutions may lack.

Also, pay attention to business and personal communication trends. For example, more and more users prefer interacting with their favorite brands via instant messengers  and staying in quick touch with them. Instant messengers have also become adopted tools for business communication, and what’s more, some companies encourage using personal devices for it. The opportunity to have all the messages from multiple chatting apps would also be nice for the customers using several communication apps at once, so think about such integration as well.

2. Choose a business model

How to make WhatsApp-like app drive revenue for the long run? The answer is simple – you have to choose a promising business model that will perfectly fit your future app specifics and meet the expectations of the prospective users. While WhatsApp sells additional services, Telegram has recently released some freemium features. Snapchat, WeChat and Facebook Messenger follow an advertising business model. 

While advertising can be a viable monetization tactic for newly created startups, the presence of ads can be quite annoying in a communication app, especially if you want to create a WhatsApp-like solution for business communication. Freemium monetization strategy is the smartest choice for chat apps since in this case, you can offer the basic functionality for free, while more advanced features should be paid for.

3. Compare the development strategies

There are several ways to build a WhatApp-similar application but hiring a tech-savvy development team is a must to create a technically powerful solution with no bugs and data security issues. Below are three ways to hire the necessary talent for your project, along with their pros and cons. 

  • Hiring freelancers. Hiring a freelance development team is the most obvious and intuitive development strategy that first-time startup initiators frequently follow. The opportunities to hire from a global development pool and optimize the development budget are the most significant advantages of this tactic, however, it can hardly be suitable for companies with no freelance teams management experience, especially when team members work in different time zones. There is also a risk of lack of commitment and data leakage so make sure to compare all the pros and cons of hiring a freelance development team before following this strategy. 
  • Gathering an in-house team. Building a WhatsApp-like solution in-house allows for controlling the development process, ensuring instant communication between team members and changing the development course faster, compared to having a team of freelancers. However, gathering an in-house development team requires additional investment in working space and equipment, along with recruitment costs and other overhead expenses, so this development tactic is suitable for the companies that create software projects one by one, using the same or almost the same technology stack. 
  • Partnering with an outsourcing vendor. Hiring a ready-made tech team from a software development outsourcing vendor is the smartest tactic to follow for creating an application like WhatsApp. In this case, you can choose a tech company with practical experience in communication and social media development, gather a team of programmers skilled with the necessary technologies and stay flexible along the way. Software development outsourcing is a way to perfectly balance the development cost with the quality of a final product, especially if you partner with a trusted vendor. We, at Binerals, have 12 years of development experience, and a strong understanding of the business processes behind the solutions we create for our customers.


Ready to create a chat app that will withstand the competition with WhatsApp? Schedule a meeting with our qualified developers right now!

Schedule a meeting

4. Choose the platform and tech stack

So, partnering with a development vendor is a pitfall-free tactic to build an app like WhatsApp. Tech-savvy experts would be able to suggest an effective technology stack for your WhatsApp-like project creation, balancing the development cost, the quality of the final product and the time to market. 

At this stage, you will also have to decide on the operating system you will create your app for since communication apps are better be native. Despite all the popular chatting solutions having their web versions, most users expect them to deliver a native experience and be downloaded from the official app stores. So, depending on the OS your prospective customers use and your development budget, you will have to make a WhatsApp-similar solution for either iOS, or Android, or create two separate native applications. Let’s review these approaches in more detail. 


The Pros and Cons of iOS Development


  • iOS-native apps are more stable and secured compared to Android
  • iOS users are more solvent compared to Android; they are more eager to pay for the apps they use


  • iOS development costs more compared to Android because of the more expensive technologies
  • App Store has more rigorous requirements for the quality of the application so the review process can be time-consuming and laborious

The Pros and Cons of Android Development


  • Android development is cost-effective because of Android SDK
  • Android mobile apps hold a larger market share compared to iOS


  • There is a stronger competition in Play Market compared to App Store
  • There are security issues because of the open sourced nature of an Android operating system

So, creating native apps for Android and iOS has its specific pros and cons, so the main factor to be guided by when making the choice is the share of your target audience using this or that operating system. WhatsApp, in turn, has native apps for both iOS and Android, plus a web version. Let’s take a look at WhatsApp’s technology stack across the platforms.

  • For iOS: Java
  • For Android: Swift
  • Web: JavaScript, HTML, CSS
  • Backend: Erlang, FreeBSD, Yaws, PHP, and XMPP

5. Shortlist the necessary features for MVP

At the next development stage, you have to shortlist the features that will be enough to make your WhatsApp-like app work. Here they are. 

  • Registration
  • Text, voice and video messages
  • Contacts integration
  • Encryption

Plus, you have to add something more advanced to make your communication app stand out. Smart chatbots, augmented reality features, various integrations and gamification are just some of the ideas to keep in mind.

6. Keep UI and design trends in mind

Leading chatting apps have pretty simple and even similar user interfaces. Communication app development isn’t the case when you have to reinvent the wheel – following the established UI/UX practices the users are already used to would still be a wise tactic. However, consider some additional UI and design ideas that can make your solution a little different. 

  • Black screen. A black screen is a strong design trend that you are welcome to use as well. The users who will spend a lot of time in your app, especially from a mobile device, would be happy to reduce the eye strain.  
  • Themes customization. This is the feature available in Telegram – the users can choose the backgrounds of a conversation, making it feel more personalized. 
  • Gradients. Think about employee gradients in your design solution as well. Mixing and combining unique shades and colors will allow you to create an outstanding app identity. 
  • Rounded shapes. The human brain associates rounded shapes and angles with safety and security. Such a simple design trick can help build trust among users, however, keep the importance of end-to-end encryption in mind as well. 

Do you want to get more design ideas and tips for your future app? Get in touch with our creative team to discuss them!

Do you want to get more design ideas and tips for your future app? Get in touch with our creative team to discuss them!

Get in touch

7. Create the first MVP and test it with the target audience

Now, it’s time to create a Minimum Viable Product and test it with the target audience. At this stage, you have to pay special attention to promoting your solution since competition in the communication apps market is fierce. Using social media advertising makes the most sense  in this case. This is a cost-effective promotion tactic that allows for reaching out to the target users quickly. Next, proceed with gathering their feedback for further improvement and scaling.

Receive the Latest News & Updates from Our Team

Join Our Mailing

    How much does it cost to build a native app like WhatsApp?

    So, what is the cost to create a mobile application like WhatsApp? Below is the approximate cost breakdown to develop an MVP for a native mobile app. 
    Development StageHoursCost ($50 per hour on average)
    Market research50$2500
    Business analysis80$4000
    Frontend development150$7500
    Backend development200$10000
    QA and testing100$5000
    Support and maintenance50$2500
    Need to get a more accurate estimate? Contact us now for a detailed project assessment! 

    Need to get a more accurate estimate? Contact us now for a detailed project assessment!

    Contact us now


    Creating a WhatsApp-similar solution can be a viable business idea in 2022, given the popularity of instant messengers for both business and personal communication. Despite the seeming simplicity and a pretty short list of the necessary features to develop, creating such an application still needs practical experience and deep technical expertise. Binerals tech team is highly skilled with communication and social media application development and would be happy to help your project grow as well.

    Drop us a line now to build a WhatsApp-like software and successfully compete with globally leading solutions!

    Drop us a line


    How does WhatsApp make money?WhatsApp makes money by selling additional services but it stays ads-free. Other popular messaging apps follow a freemium business model or mix the features of several monetization strategies into a holistic one. So, the only tactic that doesn’t suit a messaging app is a subscription, but the mix of other business models can be winning if you accurately tailor it to your business specifics and the expectations of your users.
    What tech stack to choose for WhatsApp-like app development?The tech choice made by WhatsApp itself is pretty logical and simple. It uses Java for Android, Swift for iOS and JS for web development. The technologies used on the backend are more sophisticated so getting technical consultation and support would be a wise step to make. Our tech team can help you choose the right technologies for your project, so don’t hesitate to get in touch.
    How to promote an app like WhatsApp?Competing with globally famous messaging services like WhatsApp and Telegram would be challenging. However, if your solution comes with a unique value proposition and meets a specific demand of a certain target group, it has all the chances of finding its user. Get started by promoting your chat app via social media (Facebook and Instagram are the most promising platforms), and make sure to have a well-optimized app description in app stores so that the users can find it according to specific keywords.
    How to hire a development team to create a WhatsApp clone? Creating a WhatsApp-like app requires strong technical expertise and practical experience in communication and social media solutions development since chat apps are somewhere on their verge. Software development outsourcing, in turn, is the smartest tactic to build such software since it allows for hiring the necessary development talent, running the project remotely and avoiding overhead costs. Binerals tech team is here to help you right now.