It has finally happened. All that talk about the business model of instant messaging service WhatsApp has been going around for quite some time, but now, it’s official. WhatsApp for iOS is now free to download. If you’re one of those who paid $0.99 to download the app – which used to be the case – don’t whine. You’ve probably saved so much more using the app, not to mention enjoyed it.

WhatsApp for iOS Now Free to Download

Anyhow, with the new update to WhatsApp, everyone can get it for free for the first year. After that, users need to pay a $0.99 annual subscription fee – which is actually what’s going on with other platforms. In a blog post announcing the latest version (iPhone v2.10.1), the WhatsApp team makes it very clear that all platforms are on equal footing now.

From now on, we’ve simplified our business model so that all users on all platforms will enjoy their first year of WhatsApp service for free, and only pay $.99 per year after that.

Ad-free + iCloud backup

Some people have this idea that things are supposed to be free, but $0.99 really nothing to complain about, considering that for that tiny amount, you can enjoy an ad-free experience. Another thing going for the updated app is the fact that users can now use iCloud to save your chats – a feature that perennial archivists will find delightful. To do this, simply go to SETTINGS -> CHAT SETTINGS ->CHAT BACKUP. You’ll then see something like this.



Obviously, I have not backed my chats up, but I am not really bothered too much about this. For now.

Wait, there’s more!

So are you still thinking about having to pay for WhatsApp year after year? If you have not downloaded the messaging service prior to this latest update, then you just have to live with paying almost a dollar for a wonderful app. If, however, you were early in the game, and you’ve been using WhatsApp before the update, you’ve got something else to smile about.

 The good news for all current iPhone users is that WhatsApp will be free of charge for the rest of your life.

That’s from the same blog post I quoted from earlier. Thank you very much, WhatsApp. You shall continue to be my main instant messaging app.

[Image via Codemink]