Unable to make or receive any WhatsApp calls via Tor/Orbot?

Is it because of WhatsApp is only using UDP/STUN servers but not TCP/TURN servers?

But from this research paper, it seems WhatsApp was using the TURN method. So rightfully it should work: https://www.fit.vut.cz/research/publication-file/10979/WhatsApp.pdf

Skype calls work over Tor

Some even report success with Signal

Either Tor can make it easy to tunnel UDP over Tor

Or I really hope the Tor project can request WhatsApp to support making voice and video calls work over Tor

This could reach out to more users, including those in places with strict censorship.


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I have no technical expertise, but I do believe the issue lies in UDP vs TCP. I have faced the same issue on Signal too, and even video streaming (including Youtube). Overall, the best option for WhatsApp at the moment is to use a VPN. TOR is working on supporting UDP so we will have a great solution soon.

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:clap: Wow, great to have someone working on UDP here, welcome!

Oh, I learned something new. This explains why WhatsApp calls for example couldn’t work over Orbot.

There are many use cases and benefits:

  • If both contacts is in a strict censorship country
  • If one contact is in a free country, and the other in a strict censorship country
  • Even if both contacts is in an uncensored country. Or only one of them is on Tor. There are still a number of advantages

I agree that it won’t protect from WhatsApp from already knowing so much about you. Also many contacts of privacy conscious individuals refuses to use anything other than WhatsApp (or iMessage depending where you are). But Tor may still help to protect from an unfriendly contact or stalker who knows your phone number. Or you or your contact’s ISP or untrusted network from performing MitM attack or surveillance.

E.g. a researcher demonstrated how coarse location can be tracked from Signal calls

Although I heard like Signal, WhatsApp is supporting opt-in relay servers soon

But this still doesn’t solve the censorship problem. And lets just say GFW is extremely sophisticated at blocking stuffs and Tor is easier to setup and better than most at this.

If Orbot is used as a VPN with kill switch. It’s not convenient to be constantly switching the network on and off just to make or receive WhatsApp calls, and that will lead to many missed calls. Also disabling kill switch to conditionally select apps will risk traffic leakage (by untrusted apps) or human error.

And I think networking effect is at stake. If one side finds it too inconvenient or impossible to use, then the other will simply give up because there are nobody to contact with. This gradually creates a domino effect.

In a nutshell, Tor supporting UDP will bring immense benefit not just for WhatsApp or Signal but all other apps using it.
Thanks @anon53360594 and other developers for listening and your contribution.
I hope Tor project succeeds in making more apps and websites (like banking) compatible with it.

Thanks for the testing, beth. It definitely has been a moving target with WhatsApp and TCP support, and whether it works over Orbot or not. Signal seemed to work better in the past, but not sure now.

Just as a side comment, voice messaging works great over both WhatsApp and Signal, since those are just sent as files essentially, and are not streaming.

Interesting thanks for your research.

I tried WhatsApp calls on Android 13, Orbot and WiFi. And it never works for me.

Did you check both “Always on VPN” and “Block connections without VPN”? It could be leaking traffic via clearnet?

Also can anybody else help to confirm if WhatsApp calls is working for you via Orbot?

I’m happy to report that after updating to the latest WhatsApp version, calls now works for me via Orbot!

Regarding the phone number,
There are many countries where u can buy sim card ie get proper phone number without providing any ID.

U can register wa account with such a number a number annoynmously and trash the sim card ie no location, bts logs etc…

My question would be how can u be 100% sure that all traffic will be routed via tor /orbot…

What if something fail and whatsapp traffic will be routed outside orbot app.