WhatsApp now tells you when your Windows Phone push notifications are broken

In recent weeks, the team behind the popular messenger WhatsApp have been aggressively pushing out updates for Windows Phone, including a somewhat major overhaul of behind the scenes plumbing.  But if there was one area where people always had complaints about the app, it was with its notification system not working reliably.

We’ll spare you the details of why notifications sometimes fail on Windows Phone, but we can say that things are at least improving. In fact, the Nokia team working with WhatsApp to develop the service has certainly been a positive influence on the app, making it more dependable.

That’s why it’s curious to see this message below, tipped to us by @SQLvariant, that pops up if your system notifications aren’t set up properly (or jammed, to use more common vernacular). We’ve seen a few people report on this phenomenon elsewhere and it does seem accurate: if you see that message, your WhatsApp notification may not work, so reboot the phone and it should fix things.

Interestingly, @SQLvariant notes that while it does work well, it doesn’t play too nice with Data Sense. For those who don’t know, Data Sense is an optional, carrier dependent service that allows users to track in real-time their data usage, cellular and Wi-Fi, so as to better manage things. One feature of Data Sense is that as you approach your allocated data usage, you can have the device throttle your usage, so as to prevent overage charges from your carrier.

So in this case, Data Sense purposefully disabled the background agent for WhatsApp to save data, meaning this was a false report by the app. Still, considering where the app was a few months ago, we’ll take this “alert” any day so that we know we’ll never miss a WhatsApp message. Kind of cool, right?

You can download WhatsApp from the Windows Phone by following this link. Thanks, @SQLvariant, for the tip

QR: whatsapp

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • So many new features! Woohoo! Whatsapp keeps getting better and better. Bout time tho.
  • Cool, but if this is an OS issue, it's really a bandage on a bigger problem, like the storage issue.
  • Exactly! Kind of cool?! Its more frustrating that MS can't build a reliable notification-system. I thought this would be a priority when rebuilding the OS, after all communication is the main purpose for our devices.
  • +1
  • I'm less concerned that notifications don't work perfectly. I'm more concerned that, assuming this is an OS issue and not a dev issue, it hasn't been resolved yet.
  • WOW! Awesome, we are restlessly waiting for this update. Now this will resolve all our issue in WP.
    Thank you Whatsapp Team for giving us such a big update with such Awesome feature.
  • Its already present in current version of app. Don't need an update
  • Yes i have recieve this error a lot of times , but i don't reboot the phone.....just lock it then unlock and then go to WhatsApp....then it doesn't happen any more
  • Restart doesn't solve anything. All you need to do is get out and get back in the app. It starts working again. It indeed is a very lose and inaccurate alert. Data sense - 1, whatsapp - 0
  • Yes, I restarted too, but it still comes back with the same message. Previous edition (2.10.506), I uninstalled it and reinstalled it, it was still the same. In my opinion, WhatsApp for Android is still better.
  • Yay
  • Daniel, have there been any articles written on why notifications fail on windows phone? Notifications for the two apps that matter the most to me (Facebook and Bank of America) are very spoty and most of the time just don't work. I'm not sure if the issue is with the app and the developers or the microsoft notification system in general. Notifications from BoFa on iOS and Android are very reliable.
  • Speaking of notifications, is the reason they don't really work on WP because apps are only able to check for updates every 30 minutes? I would assume that restriction is in there to save battery life and/or data usage, but it seems to be a pretty serious problem when it comes to notifications.
  • I also am curious about notifications on WP 8. They are very inconsistent compared to the competition. Not sure if its a system wide issue or if its the individual app developers who are not coding their apps to communicate with the microsoft push system correctly.
  • Background tasks (local) and toast notifications (server/cloud based)  are two different types of notifications.
  • So is it the developer's issue if an app doesn't properly send toast notifications?
  • No. Almost completely unrelated.
  • Tile updates are different from notifications. Notifications are supposed to be "pushed" to the device immediately.
  • Id say more annoying than cool
  • I get the error too. My phone been having problems since the updates. It freezes the phone. Tapping on any tiles wont start the apps. I can right swipe to bring out the list if installed apps, but again, nothing will launch. Reboot the phone will rectify the freezes, but only temporarily. It keeps re-occurring.
  • After this latest update, the freezing problem has not yet happened on my phone.
  • I am getting this problem too
  • Just too add, WA is probably the most widely used apps here. I'm a couple of group chats and since the notification problem is gone, while not perfect, its very usable now, and it doesn't drain battery (920) like it used to.
  • I get this error all of the time but I just ignore it and I still get notifications. 
  • Battery tip: Go to Settings - Background tasks and block Whatsapp. You'll get notifications normally but it will save up battery.
  • Sadly, ever since the big WhatsApp Overhaul update it has stopped working on my Sprint HTC Arrive running WP 7.8 :( I've tried uninstalling and reinstalling but I can't even get past putting in my phone number to register (It doesn't even accept any input for country or phone number at all). Anyone else experiencing similar issues?
  • It kinda sucks, i still have the 10211.204 os version. I have no data sense. yet everytime i exit the app i get the error. -_-
  • I thought it was a bug and uninstalled the app
  • Really..?
  • Since I updated, I have been receiving the "issue with your phone" error regularly... And, unfortunately, I rebooted my phone more than 20 times already, and I'm still having the same error. So, if there's a solution... It is very welcomed.
  • Just exit and enter again. Restart is a hoax and will only drain battery with each reboot.
  • I had tried it like that, close it, then open it again, it was the same, the message would come again sometimes.
  • Sadly THIS IS the "sulotion".
  • Can anyone explain (or link) me why exactly does WhatsApp have such issues in notifications? Is it limited to WhatsApp or is it common to all IM clients/email clients, etc? Does GDR3 or any currently known OS update resolve this limitation? I currently do not have a Windows Phone, but I intend to buy 1020 when it releases where I live.
  • It seems to be a problem with certain apps and their web based systems. For instance, email works great (particularly outlook, I get emails instantaneously - a few seconds before it even shows on my PC), also my Twitter updates work perfect.
    Facebook notifications are iffy, but I suspect it will improve eventually as FB & Microsoft are still working on the app together. I don't use Whatsapp, so I can't speak to that.
    GDR2 may or may not address the issues, as its not known whether or not the OS is completely to blame. Also, GDR2 hasn't been greatly detailed with bug fixes and improvements.
    That's what I know, maybe someone else can add to it.
  • Yep, Outlook and exchange works flawless.
  • I got this error a lot with the first update a few days ago.
    Popped up almost evertime I sent a message.
    Rebooting the phone didn't help either.
    Only way I sorted it out was to remove Whatsapp, then reinstall it... That solved the issue.
    Now withe this recent up, it only showed up once or twice so far....
    So perhaps they fixed it now?!?!?!?!
    OH, and I don't use Data Sense. Not available in South Africa yet! Wish it was though! :)
  • I suspect after reading all the above comments its more to do with Whatsapp back end. We are getting this notification when their back end loses push to Microsoft.
  • Seriously. It is stuff like this that is killing WP. WhatsApp is the most unprofessional and hacky team of devs I've ever seen that also have a very popular app.
    The WhatsApp team must stop the unprofessional hacking and MS must find a generalized solution for WhatsApp's connection needs that doesn't ruin battery life or run counter to WP's security requirements.
    This is now embarrassing for WP as a platform.
  • As MS cannot even fix Facebook notifications how should they be able to help the WA team then? Notification are a pain in the ass since the release of WP7 and now almost three years later MS still has done nothing about it. I doubt that we will ever get reliable notifications.
  • I'm not so sure WP8 is completely to blame for notifications.
    First, FB notifications aren't perfect on iOS.
    Second, why is it that my Twitter app notifications work perfect? If it were purely a OS problem why does it work so well with Twitter?
    I'm starting to believe that the 3rd parties are more to blame.
  • @Daniel. Please don't spare us the details of why notifications intermittently fail on windows phone. If it is overly technical then get Jay involved. Even if only 5% of us understand the technical details, the issue is worth an article. Help forum members to better support other WP users with this frustrating problem, that has plagued WP (which must be an absolutely reliable communications device) for far too long. Help us, as a community, to put pressure on those that need to get involved to improve the situation. This issue needs to be solved, NOW! Help the community help WP, by furthering our understanding.
  • +1
  • Yes, why don't they work reliably on Windows Phone or Windows 8. Its pretty sad really given how reliable the iPhone notification system is. That had issues when it very first came out for a brief time but was rock solid after that. In this day and age reliable notifications are essential to a platform.
  • Ooh... I don't know about that, I hear iPhoners complain about Facebook notifications all the time. Just yesterday, as a matter of fact, I had to listen to a rant about it.
  • Even my old Symbian Nokia N8 could receive Whatsapp notifications right! Why can't WP8 have it working right? I'm starting to think that this is an OS problem because Facebook, Viber and so many more apps fail to receive notifications on time! I doubt that it is just a lazy developers issue, because if they had it right on Symbian they should also have it right on WP8!
  • I disagree, if it was a purely OS problem then why do some notifications work perfect? For instance, as I said in another post, my Twitter notifications work perfect.
  • I am not particular familiar with Symbian system, but based on my experience with it (my old phone lag much more after using whatsapp), I doubt it works like android that the app will always run in background.
  • With the updates, I found the app to be more laggy. This lag happened sometimes when I'm going to click "send" after typing the message. Not always, but still annoying.
    Or is it just my phone with low memory space and 512mb RAM?
  • Still the same problem (connectivity error) on Lumia 520, needs to be fixed.
  • Can anybody send a report to windows theme so that they be able to fix 3rd party messaging glitches....