Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems now dominate the smartphone market, it must not be forgotten that there is a loyal legion of BlackBerry fans still out there. Its recent devices like the DTEK50 and the Priv run Android, but there are still a fair few people using BlackBerry 10 devices like the Passport and the Classic.
Therefore it was disappointing when we learned the news that WhatsApp is dropping support for all BlackBerry 10 devices (as well as older devices running BB OS 7) from 1 July 2017. This was originally set to happen at the end of 2016, but it's been extended by 6 months. Still, this is a massive shame, as while BB10 market share is small, there is still a huge community of users who will suffer from the loss of a major messaging app like WhatsApp.
It can be easy to dismiss BlackBerry as dead, but it’s not. We’ve used the BlackBerry 10 operating system extensively on a few devices, and it certainly has its place in the market. BlackBerry’s apparent decline is unfortunate – BB10 is very good at many things, even if media consumption and bang up to date apps isn’t one of them.
How to download WhatsApp on BlackBerry 10
There is however a way for you to keep using WhatsApp on your BB10 device after 30 June 2016. It’s a bit of a work around, but it’s fairly straightforward and means you’ll be able to run the Android version of WhatsApp on your BlackBerry.
We’ve tested this method with the BlackBerry Passport and the BlackBerry Classic and got WhatsApp working smoothly. Bear in mind that these phones have 3GB and 2GB RAM respectively, and have decent processors. On lower powered BB10 devices this method will theoretically work, but your device may struggle to run the latest version of WhatsApp (which is what you will be downloading) to an acceptable standard.
We cannot guarantee that this method will work for everyone, and you may encounter problems.
NB: Please note that while we have experienced no unwanted side-effects on our devices after installing WhatsApp in this way, we cannot fully speak to the effects on the security of your BlackBerry device. Make sure you follow these steps to the letter, and if you’re unsure of the technical process – don’t do it. If you do, we advise backing up your device first.
Please also note that while we used a Mac to download WhatsApp to BlackBerry, the same process can be done on a Windows PC using these instructions too.
How to download WhatsApp on BlackBerry 10
What you’re about to do
Here we show you how to download WhatsApp to your BlackBerry 10 smartphone using the free software Snap. Snap allows you install Android apps to your phone as though they have been downloaded from the Google Play Store. Snap is free, though the developer gives you the option to donate to its upkeep if you wish.
In order to download Snap, we’ll first show you how to download Sachesi, a free firmware management tool that is the bridge to getting Snap onto your phone. Snap acts like an app when it’s on your phone, but you have to use this workaround to download it.
How to download WhatsApp on BlackBerry 10: Step 1 – Plug your device into your PC or Mac
Plug your BB10 device into your PC or Mac. You don’t need to be running any sort of management software, it just needs to be connected.
How to download WhatsApp on BlackBerry 10: Step 2 – Open or install Google Chrome
This method can only be done in Google Chrome. Open Chrome, or click here to install it.
How to download WhatsApp on BlackBerry 10: Step 3 – Download the Snap file
Now you have to download the Snap .bar file from Snap’s website.
Select which pricing tier you’d like at this point. Even if you go for the free option, you have to enter your name and billing address.
Then tap Get Snap.
Complete all the onscreen prompts until you reach the screen that says Download Now:
The download will complete, but you don't need to open it. Just drag it from your download folder to your desktop.
How to download WhatsApp on BlackBerry 10: Step 4 – Download and open Sachesi
Next you must download the free Sachesi firmware onto your PC or Mac. This allows you to move the Snap .bar file onto your BB10 device.
We downloaded Sachesi 2.0.3 for Mac. This is file name with OS X in it. There are options for Windows too:
Click on the file and wait for it to download. Once the download is finished, click it and open it in the file viewer. If it’s a .zip file, make sure to unzip it first.
When Sachesi is open it should look like this:
How to download WhatsApp on BlackBerry 10: Step 5 – Install the Snap file onto your device
Here, if you haven't already, go into your downloads folder and drag the Snap .bar file onto your desktop.
From here, make sure Sachesi is open on the Install tab, then simply click, drag and drop the Snap .bar file into the list:
You'll see a progress circle as the file loads onto Sachesi - it's transferring Snap onto your phone. Leave it till it's at 100%.
Be careful not to do anything else with the Sachesi app – don’t change anything and immediately exit the program on your computer. Unless you’re a developer, you shouldn’t change anything else at the risk of your device.
How to download WhatsApp on BlackBerry 10: Step 5 – Download WhatsApp using Snap
This is where you switch to your phone. Unlpug it from the computer and you will see that Snap is now appearing as an app on your phone’s home screen.
Tap it to open, and if you agree to the permissions it asks for, tap OK.
You’ll now have to sign in using your Google account information. If you don’t have one, you’ll need to create one here.
From here, tap on Search in the bottom right corner and type in, and search, for 'WhatsApp'.
Once selected, tap Download.
When the download is complete, tap Open Installer.
You’ll then be faced with the below screen, with a disclaimer explaining how the app is from a source other than BlackBerry World app store or the also BlackBerry 10-supported Amazon Appstore. If you are happy with the disclaimer, click Install.
At this point, you’ll be prompted to go into app settings:
You must then turn on 'Allow Apps from Other Sources to be Installed'. Then tap back in the lower left of the screen – then tap Install again. WhatsApp will download now, so accept the permissions the app requires if you are happy to do so.
Once the download is complete, tap Open at the top right of your screen.
The app now opens! Hooray. BB10 will even give you the below prompt if the app displays weirdly, but we didn’t have to change anything.
How to download WhatsApp on BlackBerry 10: Step 6 – Setup WhatsApp
You can now set up WhatsApp on your BlackBerry 10 smartphone following the app’s onscreen instructions.
Because this is the Android version of WhatsApp, you’ll be able to continue to use it once WhatsApp drops support for the BlackBerry version at the end of June 2017. Happy messaging.