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I'm aware that I don't need a SIM card to continue using my WhatsApp account after the initial activation.

But say, hypothetically, I went into a pool with my phone inside my pocket and my SIM stopped working as a consequence, and I don't want to buy a new since I never use mobile data.

When the carrier inevitably cancels my number and sells it to another person, and said person activates his WhatsApp account with that number, will I still be able to send and receive messages on my account?

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  • You'll most likely have a request to update your form of ( 2FA - Two Factor Authentication ) either by providing a new number or new email address. I had a problem like this with Facebook and it's mobile verification logon. I wrote to them and explained that loosing my sim card locks my account and their security team quickly fixed this issue by giving an option to select other friends to recover my account. Most social networks DO NOT want you to make multiple accounts, and this issue only encourages that. Its a 2FA Problem globally Commented Mar 3, 2018 at 7:29
  • You can also use two step verification to stop others from using your WhatsApp number.
    – aBochur
    Commented Mar 4, 2018 at 6:43

2 Answers 2

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Simple answer No you can't use that account anymore

Reason being that WhatsApp is linked to your number. If the carrier sells that number and new owner activates WhatsApp , they will be prompted to authenticate and a new account is created for them. If they don't install WhatsApp you are good to go to the next time Whatsapp asks for authentication

Actions to be taken for change of number before changing number are mentioned in WhatsApp FAQ

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  • The link to FAQ is broken. Commented Jun 10, 2023 at 13:44
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If you didn't activate the two-step verification, the new owner of the phone number will be the owner of your WhatsApp account. He won't of course have access to your previous messages, but he will receive new messages destined to yourself. He may even be seen with your profile picture and status. See this interesting Vice article : https://www.vice.com/en/article/bv8mqd/how-i-hacked-whatsapp-account

Bottom line is : protect your account with 2-step verification. The new owner of your previous phone number won't be able to access your account, because he won't have your PIN. But after 7 days, he will be able to create a new WhatsApp account linked to your old number, and your account will be deactivated.

See https://faq.whatsapp.com/general/verification/about-registration-and-two-step-verification/?lang=en :

If you didn't enable two-step verification, but are prompted to enter a PIN, the previous owner of the phone number might have enabled it. In this case, you'll need to wait 7 days before resetting the PIN to access your account.

Additional info : if you don't use your WhatsApp account for 45 days, and it's activated on another device, WhatsApp will consider that the number has been recycled and will create a new account linked to that number. See https://faq.whatsapp.com/general/account-and-profile/seeing-your-phone-number-already-in-whatsapp/?lang=en :

To help eliminate confusion with recycled phone numbers, we monitor account inactivity. If an account is unused for 45 days and then becomes newly activated on a different mobile device, we take this as a sign that a number has been recycled. At this time, we'll remove the old account data tied to the phone number - like the profile photo and About section.

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