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Using WhatsApp in Spain? Also 112 versus Alert Cops.

Past OR future Camino
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
Note from mod: This topic came up as a tangent to another discussion. I think it is of more generalized interest, so I created a new thread. Buen camino, Laurie

Do I need to learn to use WhatsApp? People often talk about it and I am not to great at computering. Is it easy to use? Do I want it?
 
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SabineP

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
some and then more. see my signature.
Do I need to learn to use WattsApp? People often talk about it and I am not to great at computering. Is it easy to use? Do I want it?


Do you want it? That is something you can only tell after you used it but yes I personally find it helpful.It does not need many computering/techie skills ( trust me if I can manage you can too! ) .Texting ( SMS ) seems to be out of fashion and Whatsapp is userfriendly and free of charge when you have acces to wifi.

Give it a go!
 
Past OR future Camino
2014, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19
Various routes...
Do I need to learn to use WattsApp? People often talk about it and I am not to great at computering. Is it easy to use? Do I want it?
Anyone with ethical qualms about Facebook should think twice. Whatsapp is owned by FB (as is Instagram).

I don't know if this is you, Annie, But if so, an old-fashioned mobile phone numbef still works.
 
Past OR future Camino
06,CF;13,CP;17,SSal;19,Ingles
I actually prefer the idea of Signal as it is not owned by you know who. Not too many people I know are using Signal, and there is no fun in free connection if it is only the dentist who is using it! Whatsapp is an app on a smart phone. It is useful for sending messages or making calls, free, as Sabine said. In wifi. However, I have a Catalan friend, I will ask her.
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Do I need to learn to use WattsApp? People often talk about it and I am not to great at computering. Is it easy to use? Do I want it?
Annie, WhatsApp is the app that every Spaniard I know uses to text. It only works with a cell phone number, but many many accommodations have WhatsApp accounts, making reservations easy (and whatsApp is free). You can start learning to use it at home and you can add in many contacts before you leave, so it is all there ready to be used. When I make a contact for an accommodation I always put in both the name of the town and the name of the place, so a contact search will work very quickly to bring up the right place.

Happy to be one of your contacts to practice back and forth if you do install it. Buen camino, Laurie
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
many many accommodations have WhatsApp accounts, making reservations easy (and whatsApp is free).
Yes, it’s a plus when on the Camino. I also used it to confirm reservations with albergues this year to say I was on my way. 🙂 And they used it too to contact me which made them feel more secure. (In ‘normal’ years I don’t book so that was new!)
My phone is from the UK and calls cost a lot otherwise, both for people calling and the people called…
I also use Whatsapp to contact my electrician and plumber in Spain (from England) 😁
 
Past OR future Camino
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
Anyone with ethical qualms about Facebook should think twice. Whatsapp is owned by FB (as is Instagram).

I don't know if this is you, Annie, But if so, an old-fashioned mobile phone numbef still works.
I recently booked, then cancelled a reservation with a hotel in Pamplona because in order to get the key, you had to WhatsApp them, and it put me off, not having it. I think I'm in the "old fashioned" category too!
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I am on Signal, but few people are, so mostly use it with family members.
I only recently signed up for Whatsapp as a camino friend uses it and had planned to use it for sending pictures and text of the last camino. I hadn't liked the attachment it has to FB (as I do not use FB, or Instagram), but unfortunately it seems the app of choice for the majority. I think google knows everything about us anyway.🤷
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I am surely not going to tell people how to resolve the conundrum about facebook, WhatsApp, and the ways in which we have sacrificed our privacy. But I think there is one feature of WhatsApp that might make the decision easier for some.

Rescue services in Spain (112) use WhatsApp. If you need their help, they will ask you to send them your actual location via a feature on WhatsApp. With the click of a button you can “share location” precisely. That could be a lifesaver.
 
Past OR future Camino
2022_ViadelaPlata
I am surely not going to tell people how to resolve the conundrum about facebook, WhatsApp, and the ways in which we have sacrificed our privacy. But I think there is one feature of WhatsApp that might make the decision easier for some.

Rescue services in Spain (112) use WhatsApp. If you need their help, they will ask you to send them your actual location via a feature on WhatsApp. With the click of a button you can “share location” precisely. That could be a lifesaver.
Thanks @peregrina2000 - FB etc aside, I like what’s app. It’s easy to use for texts. And I’ve found the connection is often better than messenger or FaceTime for vidéo. From a practical perspective, if it’s being widely used in Spain I’ll be adding all our accom options in as contacts. 👍
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
if it’s being widely used in Spain I’ll be adding all our accom options in as contacts
If you are adding a lot of contacts, here is one little time-saving tip. Add the number first (you will have to change the prefix to 34). When you put the number in, you will be told immediately whether that number uses WhatsApp or not. If it does, then just add the name of the place, town, or whatever other identifying info you want to the contact information. If it doesn’t use WhatsApp, you have saved yourself a minute or so, which may be non-trivial if you’re adding a boat load of contacts.
 
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Ronald Boivin

Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Note from mod: This topic came up as a tangent to another discussion. I think it is of more generalized interest, so I created a new thread. Buen camino, Laurie

Do I need to learn to use WhatsApp? People often talk about it and I am not to great at computering. Is it easy to use? Do I want it?
Very easy to use and extremely useful in Spain. Not everyone has iPhones so it allows you to text someone without glitches who also has Whatsapp regardless of the kinds of phones you have. Easy to learn
 

truenorthpilgrim

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Norte post-pandemic
I think google knows everything about us anyway.🤷
Precisely this. If you have gmail, google already has a whole dossier on you. I too, fussed over the WhatsApp/Facebook conundrum, but in the end I ended up downloading it. Everyone seems to have WA. And…I kind of love it.

Also, having lived in Indonesia for almost two years, there’s almost no way you can function without WhatsApp. It’s all over the place.
 
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truenorthpilgrim

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Norte post-pandemic
Rescue services in Spain (112 or Alert Cops) use WhatsApp. If you need their help, they will ask you to send them your actual location via a feature on WhatsApp. With the click of a button you can “share location” precisely. That could be a lifesaver.
Excellent point!! I’ll remember this for my future camino…
 
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Past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
I wanted some idea of what was going on with Whatsapp. A webpage on the Android Authority website and a YouTube video gave me enough information for me to consider using it although the warning that the webpage gave is concerning. If it worries you then save your time and skip my links below.

When it comes to privacy, things are more complicated. A recent privacy policy update states that some of your data may be shared with Facebook. This will include your telephone number, location, product interactions, and more. Presumably, this is to improve ad targeting in other Facebook products.

This update was the subject of a lot of debate among users but ultimately rolled out on May 15, 2021. In other words, if you are concerned with your privacy and don’t want Facebook having access to some of your data, WhatsApp might not be for you.

This Android Authority webpage does discuss some differences between the Android and iOS versions of the app.

https://www.androidauthority.com/how-to-use-whatsapp-1097088/

YouTube id: y3EdIiJeTXk
 
Past OR future Camino
2021
We have found WhatsApp to be very useful on our Camino. I had never used it before, but downloaded it before we arrived.

It easy to use, it works just like texts so you can enter a new contact with the name and info. As Laurie noted above, I put the name of the albergue as the first name and the city as the last name to keep them straight.

It was also useful for us as we met people and wanted to make plans to meet for dinner or later hear how their Camino was going or if we’d be in the same town. As noted by others, this is what people in Europe use, so makes that easier than trying to text.

When we return home, I plan to exchange email addresses with any people want to keep in contact with, then delete the app and hope Facebook forgets about me and my Camino eventually.
 
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TaijiPilgrim

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2011), Camino Frances (2015), Camino Ingles (2017), Camino Muxia (2017), LePuy(2019)
Thank you for starting this thread. I have read how popular and useful WhatsApp is and I downloaded the app to my phone. However, I don't see the advantage. How is it different from regular texting or Skype or Facetime? Can you only use the app with other WhatsApp users and how do you know if someone like an albergue uses it?
 
Past OR future Camino
2021
The advantage is this is how people in Europe/Spain communicate. They use WhatsApp and not actual texts. So if you meet someone and want to be in contact with them, usually they will want to “text” you using WhatsApp.

For the albergues, you make a new contact and enter their phone number. If they are on WhatsApp, a message pops up saying that that the contact in fact has a WhatsApp account.

I’ve noticed some albergues list two phone numbers and one of them is used for WhatsApp, so sometimes takes entering one or the other to get the right one.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
How is it different from regular texting or Skype or Facetime?
Regular texting comes free with my phone plan in Canada, but that does not seem to be norm in Spain. When I got short-term plans with Spanish SIM cards, regular text messaging was not included.

Facetime is a feature for Apple/i-phones only.

Skype is not the most popular program for this purpose in Spain/Europe. I don't know the reasons, but that's the way it is.
 

Stephan the Painter

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances(2020)
Everybody I know in Europe regularly uses whatsapp. It's extremely easy to use. I use it to call people overseas and when I am in Europe. It's rare in the US for some reason.

Almost every free application that you download on your phone tracks your data, not just whatsapp. Those free Camino apps? Probably. Facebook and google are just the big players. Often the smaller apps sell their data to FB or Google or other private companies.

So what they know about you is your location, what you search for on the internet, and what other apps you have. You can get rid of some of this by turning off location data and using phone browsers like Brave or duckduck-go. Or paying for a VPN. Delete your browser cookies both on your computer and phones, tablets, etc.

They are only tracking data to target you for marketing. Otherwise they actually don't care what you do. If you have some exotic fetish, they only care insofar as maybe they can sell you something to help your interests. If they figure out you're planning a long trek like the Camino, you'll see ads from hiking equipment companies, etc. You just have to decide if it's worth the exchange. It's also all automated. It's data and no human is hardly ever looking at it unless you become a person of interest to the authorities.

As others noted, Signal is a similar app that they claim does not track, but very few people use it so far. I have it and it works well.

Also, it seems the latest version of the software for Apple IOS (iphones) now allow you to block tracking altogether. Of course if everybody blocks it eventually these apps will disappear or you'll start having to pay.
 
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jsalt

Jill
Past OR future Camino
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
Do I need to learn to use WhatsApp? People often talk about it and I am not to great at computering. Is it easy to use? Do I want it?
Hi Annie, Whatsapp is great if you are taking a group.

As in Europe, we use it all the time in South Africa (since long before Facebook bought it), so all the people in my groups are already on Whatsapp. We stay in touch this way.

For example, I can send a Whatsapp about an important change in the itinerary, and everyone immediately receives it (or will, as soon as they are on wifi again).

One major event jumps to mind.

We were all leaving one morning (some had left already), and I received a Whatsapp from the owner of our next booking that night.

He said that his little daughter had just been killed in a car accident, and he had to cancel my reservation (for 15 people).

Despite his tragic loss he had asked a nearby place to put us up for the same price, which they agreed to do.

By forwarding the message to everyone in the group, they were all now aware of what had happened.

It was so much easier than physically getting the whole group together and explaining the situation.

We also share photos on our Whatsapp group. I frequently tell them that I am NOT on FB itself, so please post some photos on the group as well.

Jill
 
Past OR future Camino
06,CF;13,CP;17,SSal;19,Ingles
Thank you for starting this thread. I have read how popular and useful WhatsApp is and I downloaded the app to my phone. However, I don't see the advantage. How is it different from regular texting or Skype or Facetime? Can you only use the app with other WhatsApp users and how do you know if someone like an albergue uses it?
To focus on one point: I can and do have whatsapp video calls, and voice calls, with friends in a variety of countries. When I am in a relatively safe wifi zone, of course. There is no charge, but as has been pointed out, free isn't exactly correct. Some automatic data centre is following me/you/us wherever we go. Some phone packages have a limited number of texts and they they charge when you are outside your limit.
 

truenorthpilgrim

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Norte post-pandemic
So what they know about you is your location, what you search for on the internet, and what other apps you have. You can get rid of some of this by turning off location data and using phone browsers like Brave or duckduck-go. Or paying for a VPN. Delete your browser cookies both on your computer and phones, tablets, etc.
A vpn is absotutely crucial these days. I use Express VPN while traveling, and more and more on a regular basis.
 
Past OR future Camino
2022
If I have a Spanish SIM card and my Spanish is good enough to communicate by phone, is WhatsApp still a good thing to have? Do the folks in the albergues and hostels communicate more readily via WhatsApp texting? Maybe less confusion over details?

The point above about Alert Cops using WhatsApp to locate you is certainly worth considering.
 

jsalt

Jill
Past OR future Camino
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
I find that many places use WhatsApp now.

I load their cellphone number into my Contacts.

I can then easily make a simple booking in Spanish for any date, using Google Translate (although my Spanish IS getting better).

They reply yes or no.

If yes, then I (we) must (usually) arrive by 3pm (for example) or the booking will be cancelled. I reply with a thumbs up.

Easy to modify, confirm again, or cancel nearer the time.
 
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peregrino_tom

Member
Past OR future Camino
.
Grudgingly I have to concede that it is useful.
At home on wi-fi it's great for free international phone calls, also for three-way video calls with my bro and sis. My cheap phone contract charges extra for texting attachments - so I don't use it for that. Instead, everything gets sent for free on whatsapp.
One of the big advantages is how easy it is to share stuff. This can work well on the camino where one person has secured details/directions of say, an albergue. Then with three touches you can forward on the message to anyone/group in your address book. It just makes it so quick and easy to share stuff.
If you buy a SIM card just for use in Spain, then that's the number you are sharing with fellow pilgs. So you may have to make the decision at the end of the trip to notify the group that you are switching over back to your default phone.
I have been in groups that ended up being too chatty and distracting, so I opted out. And it's very easy to do that!
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
If you buy a SIM card just for use in Spain, then that's the number you are sharing with fellow pilgs. So you may have to make the decision at the end of the trip to notify the group that you are switching over back to your default phone.
I think this is not quite accurate. My WhatsApp account name is my normal mobile/cell phone number in Canada, since that's how I originally set up my WhatsApp account. When I get a new SIM card and phone number in Spain, my phone number for real phone call changes, but my WhatsApp identity/number remains the same. Just like my email accounts, Facebook, etc. At home, I still have all my WhatsApp contacts and conversations on my phone.

But you are right that it is easy to remove yourself from any group that you don't want to stay in.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
My WhatsApp account name is my normal mobile/cell phone number in Canada, since that's how I originally set up my WhatsApp account. When I get a new SIM card and phone number in Spain, my phone number for real phone call changes, but my WhatsApp identity/number remains the same.
That’s what I thought, too, @C clearly. However, when I put in my Spanish sim card a few weeks ago, a message from WhatsApp asked me if I wanted to change my phone number for WhatsApp. I said no.

Coincidentally, about a month ago, I was on a WhatsApp group with a forum member who had left his home country for a few weeks and had apparently started the WhatsApp group with the new phone number. When he got back to his home country, I got a message from WhatsApp telling me that so and so had changed from phone number 1 to phone number 2.
 

Mera

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino France, Camino del Norte, Camino de Madrid
Camino Porto, Camino Primitivo
Note from mod: This topic came up as a tangent to another discussion. I think it is of more generalized interest, so I created a new thread. Buen camino, Laurie

Do I need to learn to use WhatsApp? People often talk about it and I am not to great at computering. Is it easy to use? Do I want it?
I find it very useful. I can send photos and videos to my friends and family in the U.S. without worrying about data charge. Most hostal owners use it so I used it to call them and send messages.
 
Past OR future Camino
06,CF;13,CP;17,SSal;19,Ingles
Another feature of whatsapp and Signal, it is easy to make a group of just yourself and you can store notes, photos, voice messages. I will soon be needing to use my covid cert, it is there, and a travel locator form, it is there. I have a copy of my passport there as well. Easier than scrolling through lots of photos or even the notes app on my phone.
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
That’s what I thought, too, @C clearly. However, when I put in my Spanish sim card a few weeks ago, a message from WhatsApp asked me if I wanted to change my phone number for WhatsApp. I said no.
That link that @linkster just posted is very helpful. (Now I understand the reason for that name :))

Basically, if you change SIM cards, you can choose not to make any change to your WhatsApp account. This is good for temporary changes such as a trip to Spain. It is what I must have done.

However, you CAN change your phone number registered with WhatsApp, if you want, and this is probably a good idea if you are permanently giving up your old number.
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
It’s pretty much ubiquitous in Spain. I gave up the battle against big-tech several years ago and whilst I (try to) remain anonymous on-line I will still use the best tool for the job.

I know quite a number of Spaniards and every one, bar none, uses WhatsApp as their primary means of electronic communication.
 
Past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
The point above about Alert Cops using WhatsApp to locate you is certainly worth considering.
I do not think the AlertCops app uses WhatsApp for communication. It likely uses built-in software similar to what WhatsApp uses. If you do not want to use WhatsApp but you do want AlertCops then download that and register. Then use the test button they have. It will not alert the cops but it will check if the app will work with your device and preferences and notify you.
 

TaijiPilgrim

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2011), Camino Frances (2015), Camino Ingles (2017), Camino Muxia (2017), LePuy(2019)
To focus on one point: I can and do have whatsapp video calls, and voice calls, with friends in a variety of countries. When I am in a relatively safe wifi zone, of course. There is no charge, but as has been pointed out, free isn't exactly correct. Some automatic data centre is following me/you/us wherever we go. Some phone packages have a limited number of texts and they they charge when you are outside your limit.
Thanks. But I can skype for free with voice and video calls internationally. If the person/company I am contacting does not have a skype account, I can still contact them and most international calls are 10 cents USD a minute. And as far as I know skype is not connected to big brother FB. So aside from "everybody is doing it" I am still not clear how What's App is better/different from skype or Facetime.More thoughts?
 
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Past OR future Camino
2018
Signal is as easy to use as WhatsApp. Signal allows messages to be automatically deleted after reading (you set the the delete time yourself--a period of time (or immediately) after the recipient reads the message. WhatsApp is about to come out with a new version that will do that as well. I don't know why but on my laptop and phone the audio and video seems call clearer on Signal, although maybe that's related to the devices I have.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I do not think the AlertCops app uses WhatsApp for communication. It likely uses built-in software similar to what WhatsApp uses. If you do not want to use WhatsApp but you do want AlertCops then download that and register. Then use the test button they have. It will not alert the cops but it will check if the app will work with your device and preferences and notify you.
Yes you’re right about that. It’s the direct contact with 112 that uses WhatsApp. Alertcops has the same localization procedure built into its app. I was told by some Spanish friends that they think that 112 is more direct and goes straight to the local EMS, but I don’t know if that’s right.

It’d be good to hear from Spaniards about the difference between Alertcops and 112.

I am still not clear how What's App is better/different from skype or Facetime.More thoughts?
I can’t tell you how any of these apps are different from each other or better than each other, but I can tell you that no one in Spain uses Facetime or Skype. So if you want to communicate with people in Spain, having a superior program that no one uses won‘t help you much.
 

Doughnut NZ

From Aotearoa New Zealand
Past OR future Camino
2022
I do not think the AlertCops app uses WhatsApp for communication. It likely uses built-in software similar to what WhatsApp uses. If you do not want to use WhatsApp but you do want AlertCops then download that and register. Then use the test button they have. It will not alert the cops but it will check if the app will work with your device and preferences and notify you.
There is a lot of misinformation on this thread about WhatsApp, AlertCop and Signal.


Signal the App uses the Open Source Signal end-to-end encryption protocol. The Signal protocol was created by Marlinspike and Trevor Perrin. Brian Acton was one of the co-founders of WhatsApp. Brian Acton left WhatsApp and used some of his huge wealth to finance Signal the App and protocol.

WhatsApp actually uses the Signal protocol for its encrypted communications. Other products from Google and Microsoft also include the Signal protocol.

If AlertCop uses something under the bonnet then that is much more likely to be the Signal protocol rather than something from WhatsApp.

It has been suggested by some people that Brian Acton left WhatsApp and invested in Signal because he was unhappy with the insecurity of WhatsApp. This has not been confirmed by Brian.

I use Signal as do many other technical experts because it is the most secure readily available product.

If you want further information then these links may help

Edit: I forgot to thank Rick for being a voice of reason. I quoted Rick's post because it was the most correct.
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Recently I have been looking up information on AlertCops; I'm still trying to figure out a lot because I haven't seen anything that looks like a user's guide.
I think that one thing that would be really helpful for your average forum peregrino/a would be to get a sense of the advantages and disadvantages of using 112 vs. AlertCops, specifically given the relatively unique situation of walking town to town in Spain, not owning property, not being a long-term resident, etc.

I have looked at the app and agree that it is much more encompassing and compartmentalized than a simple phone number. While that might be more useful for the average Spaniard who may have a variety of law enforcement headaches, I wonder whether the average peregrino/a would be better served by just calling 112 in a crisis situation.

If any forum members have ever actually used AlertCops, it would be great to hear how it went.
 
Past OR future Camino
Past? Not enough.
Future? Sure!
To bring some light in the matter....

- 112 is a phone number, normalized by the GSM standart (it means that all mobile phones support it and most of the mobile operators). It is enforced in the European Union. It use the voice capability of the phone and so, is unable to transmit pictures. The standard was extended in 2018 to include location information.
See this Wikipedia article for more information.

- AlertCops is a smartphone application (Android and iOS), created by the Spanish government. It requires an active data connection to work (Mobile data and/or Wifi). It can transmit voice, text, pictures and usually your estimated position.
See this website for more information.

Both can be used to call emergency services, but the underlying protocols and capabilities are quite different.

Buen Camino,
Jacques-D.
 
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Past OR future Camino
2014, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19
Various routes...
As others noted, Signal is a similar app that they claim does not track, but very few people use it so far. I have it and it works well.
I use Signal as do many other technical experts because it is the most secure readily available product.
Me too. But for now 'everyone' uses Whatsapp. So it's not so useful on the camino.

Re 112 versus Alertcops:
Both can be used to call emergency services, but the underlying protocols and capabilities are quite different.
And presumably user experiences.
So your question is a good one, Laurie - I wonder, too:
I wonder whether the average peregrino/a would be better served by just calling 112 in a crisis situation.

If any forum members have ever actually used AlertCops, it would be great to hear how it went
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
When installing the Alert Cops app, one must give the phone number and it is then verified. Can someone tell me how to deal with the changing of a phone number when I arrive in Spain and get a new SIM card? Do I need to re-install the app, or is there an option to change the phone number, or does it do something automatically?
 

MisterH

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2017, 2018 neither successful
When I had a problem on the Camino three nurses happened by on a short walk from where they worked. They helped me in getting help from 112. Other than taking to me and asking general health questions the only special question that they asked was "Do you have WhatsApp on your phone?" . They were not carrying cell phones with them and I didn't have it on my phone that they were using. In the end everything worked out alright. Help comes from unexpected places.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
When installing the Alert Cops app, one must give the phone number and it is then verified. Can someone tell me how to deal with the changing of a phone number when I arrive in Spain and get a new SIM card? Do I need to re-install the app, or is there an option to change the phone number, or does it do something automatically?
This is another factoid that adds to my growing sense that 112 is the preferred method for pilgrims who need police, medical or other emergency services.
 

HenkSlb

Member
Past OR future Camino
2017
Yes you’re right about that. It’s the direct contact with 112 that uses WhatsApp. Alertcops has the same localization procedure built into its app. I was told by some Spanish friends that they think that 112 is more direct and goes straight to the local EMS, but I don’t know if that’s right.

It’d be good to hear from Spaniards about the difference between Alertcops and 112.


I can’t tell you how any of these apps are different from each other or better than each other, but I can tell you that no one in Spain uses Facetime or Skype. So if you want to communicate with people in Spain, having a superior program that no one uses won‘t help you much.
Facetime and Skype apparently need more bandwdth on an internet connection. My son lives on Aruba and has an internet connection with a low upload speed. When we talk using What's app there is almost never a real problem, but using Facetime or Skype we often lose our connection and have reconnect several times in the course even of a short talk.
 
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Kathar1na

Member
Past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
When installing the Alert Cops app, one must give the phone number and it is then verified. Can someone tell me how to deal with the changing of a phone number when I arrive in Spain and get a new SIM card? Do I need to re-install the app, or is there an option to change the phone number, or does it do something automatically?
See the FAQ section: I have changed my phone number, what can I do?

Answer: It is necessary to uninstall the app and reinstall it. [...]
 

Marcus-UK

Old Git
Past OR future Camino
Camino Ingles 2016 Camino Portuguese 2017 Considering Invierno late (2020) In lieu of VdlP (2020)
Anyone with ethical qualms about Facebook should think twice. Whatsapp is owned by FB (as is Instagram).

I don't know if this is you, Annie, But if so, an old-fashioned mobile phone numbef still works.
I used to use Whatsapp untill they changed a number of permission requirements which went too far down the road of giving them carte blanche access to my data!
However my wife and kids still use it and find it very easy to use.
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
I talk to people. I am a (retired) computer engineer.
 

ranthr

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
C Frances 2005, 2007
Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
Via de la Plata 2011
gr 653 from Oloron to Puente la Reina 2012
Gr65 from le Puy to Figeac 2013
Irun to Santander 2013
Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015
Note from mod: This topic came up as a tangent to another discussion. I think it is of more generalized interest, so I created a new thread. Buen camino, Laurie

Do I need to learn to use WhatsApp? People often talk about it and I am not to great at computering. Is it easy to use? Do I want it?
I started using WhatsApp because one of the places I had booked on the Invierno said I could call them on that. I am not great computering, rather silly actually, but had no problem using it.
Never used it since, mobiltalks are mostly free in Norway, but still have the app on my phone in wait of my last camino, hopefully in May 2021.
 
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alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
Never used it since, mobiltalks are mostly free in Norway,
They are indeed. Also for Norwegians, with a Norwegian number, in the rest of Europe. Thanks for living in a civilized country where more than money counts. Hope your May 2021 Camino walk went well.
 
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ranthr

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
C Frances 2005, 2007
Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
Via de la Plata 2011
gr 653 from Oloron to Puente la Reina 2012
Gr65 from le Puy to Figeac 2013
Irun to Santander 2013
Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015
They are. Also in the rest of Europe. Hope your May 2021 went well.
May 2022, booked a flight to Madrid for my last camino which I had to cancel in 2019 and 2020, see you are soon on your way!
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
May 2022, booked a flight to Madrid for my last camino which I had to cancel in 2019 and 2020, see you are soon on your way!
I hope. Has not reserved the flight (Oct. 18th) to Barcelona yet, due to some uncertain family health issues (old sister who I have to watch/take care of. Brainstroke (light) yesterday...)
 

ranthr

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
C Frances 2005, 2007
Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
Via de la Plata 2011
gr 653 from Oloron to Puente la Reina 2012
Gr65 from le Puy to Figeac 2013
Irun to Santander 2013
Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015
I hope. Has not reserved the flight (Oct. 18th) to Barcelona yet, due to some uncertain family health issues (old sister who I have to watch/take care of. Brainstroke (light) yesterday...)
Brainstroke is my worst nightmare, had a few of them near, hope all goes well❤️
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
Brainstroke is my worst nightmare, had a few of them near, hope all goes well❤️
Thank you so much for your kind words. The stroke was light, and she is fully functional. Being operated tomorrow, and I'm still set to go. Just assessing the situation.

My sister's a tough old skin at 84. She'll survive.
 
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Since Spanish phone numbers beginning with 6 or 7 indicate a mobile phone, would texting work just as well as WhatsApp? Are there specific features of WhatsApp that makes it preferred in Spain?
Bob
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Since Spanish phone numbers beginning with 6 or 7 indicate a mobile phone, would texting work just as well as WhatsApp? Are there specific features of WhatsApp that makes it preferred in Spain?
Bob
Yes - it is generally less expensive (free) for Spaniards to use than standard texting.
 
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I’m still a bit confused — how can I recognize if a listed number is a Whatsapp number? For example, if I look up phone numbers for an Albergue, how can I tell which is a regular mobile number and which is a Whatsapp number??

I believe I can call a WhatsApp number only if I have WhatsApp, right?

Thanks in advance!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I’m still a bit confused — how can I recognize if a listed number is a Whatsapp number? For example, if I look up phone numbers for an Albergue, how can I tell which is a regular mobile number and which is a Whatsapp number??

I believe I can call a WhatsApp number only if I have WhatsApp, right?

Thanks in advance!
WhatsApp is a separate app that you download from the App store. It works based on cell phone numbers. All WhatsApp numbers are cell phone numbers, but not all people with cell phones use WhatsApp. Once you have the app, you can download contacts into the WhatsApp app, and they will tell you whether the phone number you are trying to make your contact is a user of WhatsApp or not. It does not use the phone line, it uses either data or internet to connect people, so it is a handy way to call or text when you don’t want to use the phone service.

So your first decision is to decide whether you are willing to download WhatsApp. It’s owned by facebook, which makes it a no-go for some people.
 
Past OR future Camino
2022
All WhatsApp numbers are cell phone numbers, but not all people with cell phones use WhatsApp
So if I don’t want to use WhatsApp, I can just call any of these numbers direct, because they’re just regular mobile numbers, yes? My Spanish is adequate to make a direct call for reservations, etc., and I’ll have a Spanish SIM card.
Thanks again!
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
So if I don’t want to use WhatsApp, I can just call any of these numbers direct, because they’re just regular mobile numbers, yes? My Spanish is adequate to make a direct call for reservations, etc., and I’ll have a Spanish SIM card.
Thanks again!
Yes, you can just call them without WhatApp. For those with no or poor Spanish texting with WhatsApp can be very useful.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
So if I don’t want to use WhatsApp, I can just call any of these numbers direct, because they’re just regular mobile numbers, yes?
In my experience, it is frequently a LOT easier to make contact with many small places on the Camino by using WhatsApp. Recent experience — a forum member had tried calling Ray y Rosa several times to see if their place in Manzanares on the Madrid was available for him to stay the next night. No answer. I suggested (me communicating from the US with him in Spain via WhatsApp) that he try a WhatsApp message, and he got a response almost instantly. The other good thing about using the text message function is that you have a record of what your reservation is, in case of mix-up.
 
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