WhatsApp is the world’s most popular messaging app with more than 600 million users worldwide, but it’s only available for smartphones, and not fortablets. As such, should you access the Google Play Store with an Android tablet like the Vodacom Smart Tab 3G or the MTN Steppa Tablet, you won’t find WhatsApp available to download and install.

But that doesn’t mean tablet owners are out of options: you can always side-load the app. Side-loading is the art of getting apps onto tablets without using some sort of official storefront, and it’s actually not as difficult as you may think.

To help you, we’ve got this quick How To that will teach you how to do it, step by step, in no time at all.

A word of warning, though: WhatsApp itself can be quite fiddly. By following these steps, which will require that you register your tablet on WhatsApp with a special code sent to a separate mobile phone, WhatsApp won’t work on that phone any more.

So before you begin, we highly advise that you’re 100% sure you want the Steppa Tab or Smart Tab 3G to be your primary means of using WhatsApp.

Ready? Great, let’s go.

WhatsApp 1

You will need:

  • The WhatsApp.apk installer file
  • An Android tablet like the Vodacom Smart Tab 3G or the MTN Steppa Tablet.
  • A cellphone with an active SIM card.

WhatsApp 2

To do it you must…

  1. On your tablet open your web browser and download the WhatsApp.apk installer it can be found On WhatsApp’s official website here. Don’t worry, the file is directly from WhatsApp so it’s perfectly safe.
  2. On your tablet go to Settings —> Security —> Unknown Sources and place a tick in the box that says “Allow installation of apps from unknown sources”.
  3. Using your tablet’s file manager – or a third-party file manager for Android like ES File Explorer if your tablet doesn’t have one installed – navigate to the Downloads folder tap the WhatsApp .apk that you just downloaded.
  4. Give permission for the installation to go ahead. This installs the software and adds the WhatsApp icon to your app drawer.

WhatsApp 3

  1. Open the app drawer and tap the WhatsApp icon; follow the registration process. When you’re asked for a phone number for WhatsApp to send you a registration code, provide the number of that separate phone we told you to bring along. Use the code they send you via SMS to register WhatsApp on your Android tablet.
  2. If no code arrives then after five minutes the timer on your tablet will run out and ask if you want a phone call with the code. Select ‘Call Me’ and use the code given to you by the automated phone call to approve WhatsApp on your tablet.

And you’re done! You can now use WhatsApp for Android even if it’s not available through your tablet’s storefront. You might want to turn off that security setting in step 2 again too.

Deon got his first taste of PC gaming at the tender age of 11 when his father bought an 8088 XT, ostensibly to "help him with his homework". Instead, it introduced him to Leisure Suit Larry, King Graham, Sonny Bonds and many more, and Deon has been a PC gamer and hardware enthusiast ever since. He landed his first professional writing gig in 2006 at a prestigious local PC magazine, a very happy happenstance as he got to write for a living about things he loves - tech, PCs, gaming, and everything in between. He's been writing about it all ever since, and loves every minute of it.