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WhatsApp to charge iPhone users annual subscription

But the yearly price tag for the messaging app, which has more than 250 million users, is only 99 cents.


iPhone owners who use WhatsApp for their instant messaging needs will now have to pay 99 cents a year for the privilege.

Following a new version of WhatsApp for iPhone released on Tuesday, the developer unveiled the new pricing scheme.

Previously, iPhone users made a one-time payment of 99 cents for WhatsApp with no annual charge. Folks on Android and other mobile platforms enjoyed free service for the first year and then had to pay 99 cents each year. Now, everyone is on the same page.

WhatsApp now has more than 250 million active users.

In a blog posted Wednesday, the developer explained that all users can download WhatsApp for free, but then they must pay the annual 99-cent fee to continue to use the app.

"We feel that this model will allow us to become the communications service of the 21st century, and provide you the best way to stay in touch with your friends and family with no ads getting in the way," the WhatsApp blog reported.

The latest version of WhatsApp does add a handy new feature. Users can now back up their message history directly to Apple's iCloud.

Update, 9:28 a.m. PT adds WhatsApp user number.