How to fix WhatsApp not working on Mac

WhatsApp has established itself as one of the most popular messaging apps in use today. That’s partly because of its end-to-end encryption and partly because it makes creating groups and holding conversations with multiple people easy. However, a large part of its popularity is down to the fact that it has moved beyond being a mobile platform to one that works on pretty much any device and has clients for Mac, PC, Android, and iOS. However, despite its popularity, there are occasionally problems with WhatsApp. In this article, we’ll show you how to fix WhatsApp on Mac not working.

What is WhatsApp on Mac?

Before we start, let’s clarify what we mean by WhatsApp on Mac because there are a few different ways to use WhatsApp on your Mac, including in a web browser and using a third-party client app. But for our purposes in this article, when we say WhatsApp on Mac, we mean the official WhatsApp Messenger client released by WhatsApp Inc. and available on the App Store.

Why is my WhatsApp not working on my Mac

There are several possible reasons why WhatsApp may not be working on your Mac. If, for example, WhatsApp launches but doesn’t sync or let you see message history or contacts, that could be caused by your Wi-Fi or internet connection not working. On the other hand, if WhatsApp crashes as soon as you open it, that is likely to be caused by an issue with the app or macOS.

How to fix it when WhatsApp is not working on your Mac

If WhatsApp won’t open on Mac or misbehave in some other way, try these fixes one by one.

1. Restart your Mac

This is the first thing you should do whenever there is a problem with an app on your Mac. It deletes temporary files and some caches and performs checks on your Mac’s startup disk. In many cases, it will be all you need to do to fix the problem. So, go to the main Apple menu and choose Restart.

2. Check your internet connection

Make sure your Wi-Fi and broadband connection are working properly by using a web browser on your Mac or another device to go online. Try turning off Wi-Fi and then turning it back on again from the menu bar or System Settings > Wi-Fi.

System Preferences - Wi-Fi

3. Check for an update to WhatsApp

Open the App Store app on your Mac and go to the Updates section. Look for an update for WhatsApp. If there is one available, click Update next to it.

AppStore Updates tab

4. Check for an update to macOS

There may be a bug in your macOS that is preventing WhatsApp from opening or working. So, it’s worth checking for updates. Just follow these steps:

  1. Click the Apple menu and choose System Settings.
  2. Go to General > Software Update and wait for it to check for an OS update.
  3. If there is one available, follow the instructions on the screen to install it.
System Preferences - Software Update

5. Carry out maintenance on your Mac

Regular maintenance is important in order to keep your Mac running smoothly. What do we mean by maintenance? Tasks like running macOS maintenance scripts, freeing up RAM, reindexing Spotlight, and clearing purgeable disk space. Carrying out all those tasks manually is a lot of work, and in the case of maintenance scripts, which should run automatically but won’t if your Mac is shut down overnight, you need to run Terminal commands. However, you don’t have to do it manually. CleanMyMac X’s Maintenance module can perform all those tasks with just a few clicks, as well as repair disk permissions, thin out Time Machine snapshots, and flush DNS cache. You can download CleanMyMac X for free here and try it for yourself.

  1. Open CleanMyMac X.
  2. Go to Maintenance from the sidebar.
  3. Select the tasks and click Run. In this case, we recommend starting with Free Up RAM, Run Maintenance Scripts, and Repair Disk Permissions.

6. Link WhatsApp to your phone again

WhatsApp uses your phone number as an ID, and so the Mac client needs to be linked to your phone in order to work. So, the next step is to relink it:

  1. Open WhatsApp on your Mac. Then, launch it on your iPhone.
  2. On the iPhone, go to Settings > Linked Devices and choose Link a Device.
  3. When you see a QR code appear on WhatsApp on your Mac, scan it with your iPhone camera.

7. Force quit WhatsApp

If WhatsApp is unresponsive on your Mac, you can force quit it. Press Command+Option+Escape to see the force quit window, then choose WhatsApp and click Force Quit.

If WhatsApp launches automatically at startup and you don’t want it to, go to System Settings > General > Login Items, select it, and click ‘-’ to remove it from the list.

System Preferences - Login Items

8. Uninstall and then reinstall WhatsApp

If nothing you’ve tried so far has worked, the next step is to uninstall and then reinstall WhatsApp. The easiest way to completely uninstall it and ensure you have got rid of all the files it has placed on your Mac is to use a specialist uninstaller app. We recommend CleanMyMac X. Its Uninstaller module is easy to use and allows you to uninstall any app with just a few clicks. You can also use it to remove leftover files from apps that weren’t uninstalled properly in the past and to reset apps that are misbehaving. CleanMyMac X is free to download here. Once you’ve downloaded and installed it, follow the steps below to uninstall WhatsApp:

  1. Open CleanMyMac X and choose Uninstaller in the sidebar.
  2. Search for WhatsApp or locate it on the list of all apps.
  3. Select WhatsApp and click Uninstall.

Once you have uninstalled WhatsApp, redownload it from the App Store to reinstall it. If you’re not sure how to start using the app, here’s a quick recap of how to set up WhatsApp on Mac.

9. Use the web client

If nothing has fixed the problem and WhatsApp is still not working on your Mac, you can always use the web client. Go to and link to your account by scanning the QR code on the screen on your iPhone in WhatsApp’s settings.

WhatsApp’s Mac client usually works very well and allows you to message individuals and groups from your Mac as well as share photos and videos. And it syncs conversations with your phone, so you can easily switch between the two. However, now and again, something goes wrong. Follow the steps above to fix it, and hopefully, you no longer ask yourself, “Why won’t WhatsApp open on my Mac?”.

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