You wanted better phone number and email address handling, and we delivered 💪. We’ve enhanced phone number validation, error handling and formatting capabilities for phone numbers used across the platform, including in contact imports, API, Workflows, Dialogflow, Zapier and more.
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A New Standard for Phone Number Formats now formats and stores all phone numbers according to the E.164 international phone number standard. This format comprises the (+) sign, country code and subscriber number.
You can input phone numbers in any format, including with spaces or the (-) sign. As long as the country code is provided, the phone number will be accepted, formatted according to the E.164 standard and stored on the platform.
New phone numbers without a country code will be deemed invalid and can’t be stored.
This update will sanitize all existing phone numbers in your contact database. Special characters will be removed and the (+) sign will be added to the start of all phone numbers. However, existing phone numbers without a country code are deemed invalid.
To address this, update your contact list with phone numbers in the correct format through Zapier, APIs or Contact Import.
If you opt to bulk update your contacts via Contact Import, note that you should not use phone numbers as an identifier as invalid phone number formats will not be recognized and will cause the update to fail. Instead, use email or Contact ID as identifiers to update your contacts’ phone numbers. This will give you a clean contact database moving forward.
Email Addresses are Now Case-Insensitive
Previously, email addresses were case-sensitive. If the same email address with different capitalizations (eg vs was imported or added via API, the email address was not recognized. Each version was considered unique and a new contact would be created for each email address.
Now, email addresses are case-insensitive so the same email address will be recognized no matter how it’s formatted during contact imports or API updates. For consistency, email address formats have been standardized and will be stored in lowercase on
Reduced Contact Duplication
As a result of these updates, contact duplication occurrences will be reduced. Contact profiles with the same phone number in different formats (e.g one with a “+” sign and one without) will be identified as a single contact.
Your contact database might have duplicate contacts with the same phone number in different formats. Fret not; you will start seeing merge suggestions for these contacts. Do review these suggestions and merge the contacts to unify their profiles for a clean database.
This release also features a bugfix related to phone number identifiers:
  • The bug that duplicates contacts when a contact replies on WhatsApp Cloud API has been fixed. Contacts will be recognized regardless of whether their phone number has a (+) sign or not.