Some South African mobile subscribers recently reported they have noticed long delays between sending a WhatsApp message and it being delivered.
This is not an uncommon problem, and users of other instant messaging services like Telegram have reported similarly long delays.
Often the issue is a temporary connectivity problem that resolves itself when the device’s Internet connection is restored.
In other instances the problem may be with the device itself, and it has to be rebooted or settings changed to fix the issue.
One user who complained about the problem said he specifically noticed long delays among friends and family in Cape Town.
Push notifications delayed
He experienced a problem where messages would come through so long as WhatsApp was open. If WhatsApp’s window was hidden, no push notifications were sent.
Cell C had a problem like this in 2011 when an appliance on its network was cleaning up connections it saw as stale, including those used by push services.
Since the complainant was a Vodacom customer, we asked the operator if it had found an issue on its network that might interfere with push services.
“Vodacom monitors the network performance on a continuous basis and is not aware of any specific or general network performance degradations,” it said.
We asked Vodacom if it could purposefully delay WhatsApp messages – it said it does not, and is unable to.
It said the WhatsApp apps installed on mobile phones talk directly to WhatsApp’s servers, which are located outside of South Africa.
Fixing message delay problems
WhatsApp offers a list of things to try in an FAQ about delayed incoming messages.
It offers the following suggestions before concluding that your operator is at fault:
- Try a different connection. If you are connected to Wi-Fi, try Mobile Data or vice versa.
- Switch your device off, then back on.
- Reset app preferences.
- Leave your phone plugged into a power source when connected to Wi-Fi while a mobile data connection is unavailable.
- Log out from WhatsApp Web.
- If you are often connected to Wi-Fi, check your Wi-Fi sleep policy.
- Uninstall task killers.
- Launch the Hangouts app, press the Menu button, and sign out of all your accounts. Then relaunch Hangouts and sign back into your accounts.
- Try install Push Notifications Fixer and/or DNSet on your device and see if it helps.
- Delete and reinstall WhatsApp.