Many users encounter issues with WhatsApp at some point, like getting stuck on the “Retrieving credentials” screen when opening the app. This can be incredibly frustrating, especially if you rely on WhatsApp as your main communication tool.
In this detailed guide, I’ll walk you through the most common reasons why WhatsApp gets stuck on retrieving credentials and the steps you can take to fix it on both iPhone and Android.
Whether the issue is related to your phone settings, the WhatsApp app itself, your internet connection, or something else, we’ve got you covered. By the end of this guide, your WhatsApp should be working properly again for smooth messaging.
1. Determine If WhatsApp Is Down
Before trying any troubleshooting steps, first check if WhatsApp is down or experiencing an outage. Major outages for apps like WhatsApp are not uncommon – servers go down for maintenance or experience technical issues.
To check WhatsApp’s status, go to their @WhatsApp Twitter account or Downdetector page. If you see a spike in reports of WhatsApp being down, it’s likely a temporary widespread outage and not your device specifically.
The best option is to wait it out – WhatsApp engineers will work quickly to resolve any outage. Keep checking the WhatsApp Status Twitter account for updates.
However, if there are no reported issues with WhatsApp currently, move on to troubleshooting your device.
2. Update or Reinstall WhatsApp
If WhatsApp seems to be working fine overall but is stuck on your device, the next step is to update the app or reinstall it completely.
On both iPhones and Android phones, open the App Store/Play Store and check if any WhatsApp updates are available. If so, update to the latest version and then try opening WhatsApp again.
Uninstall and Reinstall WhatsApp
If no updates are available or updating didn’t fix the issue, uninstall WhatsApp completely and reinstall a fresh copy:
- On iPhone – Go to the Home screen -> Tap and hold the WhatsApp icon -> Tap Remove App -> Redownload WhatsApp from the App Store.
- On Android – Settings -> Apps -> WhatsApp -> Uninstall -> Redownload WhatsApp from Play Store
Reinstalling will give you the latest version and remove any corrupt files that may be causing issues. Be sure to back up your WhatsApp messages before uninstalling.
3. Force Stop WhatsApp and Clear Cache
If WhatsApp continues getting stuck after reinstalling, try force stopping the app and clearing the cache:
Force Stop WhatsApp
- On iPhone – Swipe up from the bottom edge to open the Control Center -> Press and hold the WhatsApp icon -> Tap the minus icon to force close it.
- On Android – Settings -> Apps -> WhatsApp -> Force Stop
Force stopping the app shuts down all WhatsApp processes running in the background.
- On iPhone – Settings -> General -> iPhone Storage -> WhatsApp -> Offload App. This will clear the cache.
- On Android – Settings -> Apps -> WhatsApp -> Storage -> Clear Cache
Clearing the cache removes any corrupt temporary files that may be causing WhatsApp issues.
Try opening WhatsApp again after force stopping and clearing the cache.
4. Restart Your Phone
One of the simplest fixes for any app issues is to restart your iPhone or Android phone. Restarting fully powers down the device and starts it back up, clearing out memory issues.
- On iPhone X or later – Hold down the Side button and either Volume button until the power off slider appears. Drag the slider to turn off. Wait 30 seconds, then hold the Side button again until you see the Apple logo to restart.
- On earlier iPhone models – Hold down the Power button until the power off slider appears. Drag the slider to turn off. Wait 30 seconds, then hold the Power button again until you see the Apple logo to restart.
- On Android – Hold down the Power button until “Power off” appears. Tap it. Wait 30 seconds, then hold the Power button again to restart.
Give WhatsApp a try after restarting your phone to see if it’s fixed.
5. Check Date and Time Settings
An incorrect date and time setting on your phone can sometimes cause issues with apps like WhatsApp.
Here’s how to check your date and time settings:
- On iPhone – Settings -> General -> Date & Time. Make sure “Set Automatically” is enabled and the correct time zone is selected.
- On Android – Settings -> System -> Date & time. Make sure “Automatic date & time” and “Automatic time zone” are both enabled.
If the time was set incorrectly, fix it and then see if WhatsApp will open properly.
6. Turn Airplane Mode On and Off
Toggling Airplane mode off and back on can help reset connectivity issues that may be preventing WhatsApp from retrieving credentials:
- On iPhone – Open Control Center -> Tap the Airplane icon to enable Airplane Mode -> Wait 30 seconds -> Tap the Airplane icon again to disable Airplane Mode.
- On Android – Open Quick Settings -> Tap the Airplane mode tile to enable it -> Wait 30 seconds -> Tap the Airplane mode tile again to disable it.
Try WhatsApp again after the 30 second Airplane mode reset.
7. Check Internet Connection
WhatsApp requires an internet connection to retrieve credentials and send/receive messages. Try these steps:
- Turn off WiFi and cellular data, wait 30 seconds, then turn them back on.
- Try switching between WiFi and cellular data.
- Make sure cellular data is enabled – Settings -> Cellular on iPhone, Settings -> Network & internet -> Mobile network on Android.
- If on WiFi, make sure you are connected to the correct network and can load other web pages. If not, reconnect to the WiFi network.
- Reset the network settings on your phone – On iPhone go to Settings -> General -> Reset -> Reset Network Settings. On Android go to Settings -> System -> Reset options -> Reset Wi-Fi, mobile & Bluetooth.
- Perform an internet speed test on fast.com to check the strength of your internet connection.
Check that WhatsApp loads properly after verifying your internet connection is working fine.
8. Back Up Chats and Reinstall WhatsApp
If all else fails, the nuclear option is to back up your WhatsApp chats, uninstall the app, reboot your phone, and install WhatsApp again from scratch.
On both iOS and Android, go to WhatsApp -> More options -> Settings -> Chats -> Chat backup to create a local backup.
Then uninstall WhatsApp, restart your phone, reinstall WhatsApp from the app store, and restore your chats during setup. This will wipe WhatsApp fully clean, removing any corrupted files, and give you a fresh start.
9. Contact WhatsApp Support
If you still cannot get past the “Retrieving credentials” screen after trying all troubleshooting steps, you’ll need to reach out to WhatsApp directly for support:
- Via Twitter: Tweet @WhatsApp with your issue and any error codes.
- Submit a support ticket with details and screenshots.
- Email WhatsApp support at [email protected].
- Call WhatsApp support if available in your country.
WhatsApp support can further troubleshoot or determine if your account is experiencing issues on their end.
10. Get a Temporary Number
As a last resort if all else fails, consider getting a temporary phone number to use WhatsApp until the issues with your old number can be resolved.
This should allow you to access WhatsApp again in the short term, but continue working with WhatsApp support to recover access to your old number.
11. Try Enabling and Disabling Battery Optimization
Some users have reported that disabling battery optimization for WhatsApp can fix the retrieving credentials issue. Here’s how to try it:
- On Android – Go to Settings -> Apps -> WhatsApp -> Battery -> toggle off “Battery optimization”
- On iPhone – Go to Settings -> Battery -> toggle off “Low Power Mode”
Disabling battery optimization allows WhatsApp to run fully in the background without any restrictions. See if this helps retrieve credentials successfully after toggling it off and restarting WhatsApp.
12. Try Connecting Through a VPN
Some users have reported that connecting through a VPN can resolve the retrieving credentials issue for WhatsApp. Here are the steps to try this:
- Install a free VPN app like ProtonVPN or Cloudflare Warp on your device.
- Connect to the VPN app and select a server location.
- Launch WhatsApp once connected via the VPN.
Using a VPN assigns you a new virtual IP address that may bypass any restrictions or access issues. See if WhatsApp manages to pull credentials when connected via VPN.
Being stuck on the “Retrieving credentials” screen can be a frustrating WhatsApp glitch, but hopefully this guide has provided some useful troubleshooting steps. The key things to try are:
- Update the WhatsApp app
- Reinstall WhatsApp
- Restart your phone
- Check date/time and internet connection
- Log out and back into WhatsApp
- Back up chats and do a clean reinstall
- Contact WhatsApp support if issues persist
- Try enabling/disabling battery optimization
- Connect via a VPN
Following this step-by-step guide should help you get WhatsApp working again smoothly for staying in touch with your contacts. And if you continue facing issues, WhatsApp’s support team can assist further. With some perseverance, you should be messaging again in no time.