If you want to find a contact, all you need to do is tap on Send Message or New Chat, and WhatsApp will bring out the list of all your contacts whose numbers are registered on WhatsApp. You can then tap on the user you want to chat with, to start a conversation.
Why Can’t I Find Someone on WhatsApp?
There are several possible reasons why you may be unable to find someone in your phone contacts list, on WhatsApp. We have researched them all and detailed them below:
1. WhatsApp is Down
The first possible reason you cannot find someone on WhatsApp is that WhatsApp servers may be down. But, before even considering this as a possibility, you need to first be certain that:
- You have the correct number saved
- The saved number is the number that the person used to register on WhatsApp
Once you are certain of these, then it is very likely that WhatsApp is down. When issues at WhatsApp cause you to be unable to find someone in your WhatsApp contacts list, there are two possibilities:
1. WhatsApp servers are down due to a technical fault – WhatsApp being down is not particularly strange. It happened towards the end of 2021, which is recent to the time of writing this article. And that was only a major outage.
There are minor outages and glitches that occur from time to time but rarely get widespread attention because they correct quickly, and only affect some parts of the application.
So, if you are unable to find a contact that you are certain is on WhatsApp, it is very likely that WhatsApp is having issues due to a technical fault
2. WhatsApp is glitching due to a restart – Let’s say WhatsApp is updating in the background, and you open WhatsApp to find someone.
There are occasions where the update and subsequent application restart causes a brief glitch and make you unable to find some contacts for a brief period.
Bottom line is that issues on WhatsApp, whether on their global servers or on the app may make you unable to find someone even though they are on WhatsApp.
2. They Don’t Have WhatsApp
The fact that WhatsApp has over 5 billion downloads does not mean that 5 billion people currently use the app. It only means that it has been downloaded 5 billion times. Many people who previously had WhatsApp no longer have it.
The point is that you should not assume that everyone who owns a smartphone uses WhatsApp.
There are other popular instant messaging apps now like Telegram, Viber, and Signal, among others. So, it’s possible that the person is using one of those rather than WhatsApp. If you can, reach out to them and ask to be sure.
3. You Don’t Have Their Number
There are two possible ways this works.
1. You were given a fake or wrong number – It may have been intentional or it may have been an error, but it is possible that the number you have for the person is not the correct number.
You may already know that people give out fake numbers all the time just so one can get off their backs.
If you asked for their number, especially if you asked for a WhatsApp contact and you can’t find the person on WhatsApp, then there is the likelihood that you have been given a wrong number.
Whether this was deliberate or a mistake is beside the point. At this point, reach out to them if you can, in order to confirm the authenticity of the number that you have.
2. The number you have is not on WhatsApp – it is possible that the number you were given is correct for the person, but that particular number is not registered on WhatsApp.
Some people may have more than one phone number where they use one for WhatsApp and use the other for just calls and SMS.
Or, they may be using an old phone number that is no longer in use for WhatsApp, while they have given you the new phone number that is not on WhatsApp.
To be fair, when you ask someone for their number, the assumption is that you are going to call or send an SMS, and not to start a chat on WhatsApp. So, if you have a number for someone and you can’t find them on WhatsApp, give them a call and ask for their WhatsApp number.
4. They’ve Blocked You
If you used to have someone on WhatsApp but suddenly can’t find them anymore, it is possible that they have blocked you.
However, blocking on WhatsApp works differently to all the other scenarios described in this article. Find below a detailed explanation of how blocking works on WhatsApp:
When someone blocks you:
- You will no longer be able to see their Last Seen, Online Status, Status Updates, Profile Photo or any changes make to the profile photo.
- However, being blocked will not remove the person from your WhatsApp contacts. The contact will remain there but will be absolutely blank like it does not exist.
- When you try to call the contact, the call will be dropped immediately as if the contact does not exist on WhatsApp
So, even though being blocked does not make the person’s contact completely disappear from your WhatsApp, you will not be able to see any detail about them when you tap on their contact, which is just as good as their disappearance.
5. They’re Banned
WhatsApp does ban accounts that they find to be in violation of their Terms of Service. Such violations include spam, scam, or putting other users at risk.
When the user is banned, this is what they will see: “This Account Is Not Allowed To Use WhatsApp”.
Other things that could cause the person to be banned include:
- Downloading and using the WhatsApp application from outside official channels. The official channels are Play Store, App Store, and whatsapp.com/download
- Adding numbers that are not saved as your contacts, to WhatsApp groups
- Sending promotional messages to unknown/unsaved numbers added in a group
- Then, of course, sending illegal, obscene, defamatory, threatening, intimidating, harassing, hateful, racially or ethnically offensive messages, promoting violent crimes, endangering or exploiting children or others, or coordinating harm.
WhatsApp are quite strict about these things when discovered.
So, if you can’t find a contact on WhatsApp, especially if they used to be on it, it is possible that they got banned. If you have access to the person, reach out to them and find what. If they have indeed been banned, you can send them this link to appeal the ban.
6. They Deleted Their WhatsApp Account
By this, we don’t just mean deleting the WhatsApp app from their phone, but actually deleting the WhatsApp account associated with the phone number that you have.
If you had been chatting with the person before they deleted their WhatsApp account, you will see Deleted Account in your chat window.
But if you had not previously chatted with the person before they deleted their account, you will not find them at all in your contacts list on WhatsApp.
In case you were unaware of the fact, a user can actually delete their WhatsApp account using the steps below:
1. Launch WhatsApp and tap on the More button (3 dots) at the top of the screen
2. From the Menu, click on Account
3. At the bottom of the Account settings window, tap on Delete Account
4. The user will receive suggestion to change their number rather than delete it.
5. If they choose to delete, they will be required to re-enter the number and then complete the deletion
When this process is complete, the person’s number will no longer show up on anyone’s WhatsApp contacts list.
7. You’re Not Connected to The Internet
The final possible reason why you may not find someone on WhatsApp is that you are actually not connected to the internet.
Or, your internet connection may be poor which is preventing WhatsApp from syncing your current phone contacts. This is especially the case when you have just added someone on WhatsApp.
If your internet connection is poor or you are not connected at all, the newly-added contact will not sync to WhatsApp, and you will not find them in your WhatsApp contacts list.
What you need to do is check your internet connection. When the connection is OK:
1. Open your WhatsApp contacts list by tapping on New Message in the Chats window
2. Then, when the Contacts list opens, click on the More icon (3 dots at the top of the screen)
3. Then tap on Refresh and wait for WhatsApp to sync your phone contacts and refresh your contact list.
4. Then check again to see if the contact now shows up on your list
If I Can’t Find Someone, Am I Blocked
If you can’t find someone on WhatsApp it does not mean that you are blocked. It could be due to any of the other 6 reasons listed above.
In fact, it is pretty easy to tell if you have been blocked. Here’s how:
If the person used to have a profile picture, Last Seen, or status message, and you can no longer see any of these details, but you can still see their name in your WhatsApp contacts list, then it is possible that you have been blocked.
You can be more certain of this if the person regularly posts Status Updates but you are no longer able to see the updates in addition to not seeing their profile picture and status message
To make sure, call them on WhatsApp. If the call keeps failing, you can be sure that you have been blocked. Or, if you send messages and they never get delivered, you will likely be blocked.
Still not sure? Try to include the person in a WhatsApp group. If you receive an error message that you cannot add the person to the group, then it’s clear that you have been blocked.
The salient point to note here is that when you are blocked, you will still see the person’s name in your WhatsApp contacts list, but you will not be able to see anything else about them or contact them.
If this is the case, it best to move on. There is no point in trying to reach out to someone who no longer wants anything to do with you.
What To Do If You Can’t Find Someone On WhatsApp
1. Ask Them for Their Real Number
The first thing to consider is that the person may have given you a wrong number or a real number, but it is not registered on WhatsApp.
All you need to do is reach out to the person, tell them that you are unable to find them on WhatsApp, and ask for the correct or registered WhatsApp number. If you feel confident enough, send them your WhatsApp number and ask them to add you instead.
2. Ask Them to Get WhatsApp
Like we explained earlier, it is possible that the person does not use WhatsApp. Many people actually don’t.
So, when you confirm that they don’t have WhatsApp, you could try to convince them to get it so that you can communicate with them there. To make it easier for them, send them an invitation using the steps below:
1. Open WhatsApp, then tap on the 3 vertical dots at the top right of the screen for More Options
2. Select Settings
3. Then select Invite or Invite A Friend
You would then be given the option to choose who to share the link to, and on what platform to do that. You can choose SMS as that is the easiest means
Once the person receives the link and clicks on it, they will be redirected to their application store where they can get WhatsApp and start texting with you.
3. Tell Them to Send the Link to Their WhatsApp
It is possible that a glitch on WhatsApp is causing it not to sync with your phone contacts so that you can find the person on WhatsApp. One way to work around this is to ask the person to send a link to their WhatsApp.
If you’re wondering how to create links for your WhatsApp number, this will help you. So you can forward the link to that article to them. But in summary, they could use any of the methods below:
1. Manual Link
First, enter https://
Then, enter wa.me
Then, enter /their phone number
When you use the manual method to enter your phone number, you should not add + to your country code. Instead, just type out the country code and the phone number together as a singular phone number. Also, do not include the area code brackets.
So, for example, if your country code is +1 and your phone number is (555)456789, just type 1555456789 as your number.
Now, to put all of the above together, this is the WhatsApp link for the phone number provided above: https://wa.me/1555456789.
They can type this in an SMS and send to you. When you click on it, you are redirected to WhatsApp and a chat window with them is started immediately.
2. Using QR Code
This is the simplest method. You can tell the person to generate a QR code for their number and send it to you using the process below:
1. Launch WhatsApp and click on the More Options icon (3 vertical dots at the top right of the screen)
2. Tap on Settings from the options
3. At the top, they will see a bar code next to their WhatsApp name. Tap on the bar code
4. On the next screen, they will see My Code and Scan Code
5. They need to make sure that they are in the My Code section, then tap the Share icon at the top of the screen
6. They can then decide how to share the code with you.