WhatsApp will begin testing support for multiple devices in the near future, @WABetaInfo has claimed. The popular Twitter account, which trawls through the latest beta versions of the chat app to figure out what the teams at WhatsApp are working on, has a pretty solid track record of predicting new features coming to WhatsApp.
Support for multiple devices will allow WhatsApp users to stay logged-in on several smartphones at the same time. It also paves the way for WhatsApp to support new device categories, including Android tablets and iPad models. A native macOS and Windows 10 app could also be created for WhatsApp. While WhatsApp does already offer a desktop and laptop app, this is really just the online messaging portal wrapped-up in a Windows 10 or macOS app window, which is why you’ll still need to keep signing-in using a QR code.
Support for multiple devices has been a long time coming. Hints that WhatsApp was looking to allow users to send and receive text messages from two or more smartphones, or a smartphone and a tablet, first surfaced in March.
Messages, videos, files and voice memos will be synced between devices. This has been one of the biggest frustrations of keeping all your chats in WhatsApp – it’s nigh-on impossible to seamlessly move between devices.
Unlike iMessage, Facebook Messenger, or almost any other messaging service, it’s tough to send a text from your smartphone, pick up a tablet to join a video call, and then reply in a group chat from your laptop. All of these quirks of the Facebook-owned service (now comfortably the most popular on the planet with more than two billion users and counting) are due to the fact that WhatsApp accounts are tied to your phone number.
And using the service on a device without a SIM card installed – like a laptop, desktop PC, or tablet – isn’t possible right now.
WhatsApp users with access to the latest beta app will soon be able to test the Californian firm’s solution to this. @WABetaInfo has unearthed a new Settings option with a toggle that’ll allow you to enrol in early access. Once you’ve signed-up for multiple device support, WhatsApp will allow you to link additional devices to your account using another new option inside the Settings menu.
WhatsApp looks set to allow chat app users to stay signed-in to four devices at any one time.
There are still a number of questions around exactly how multiple device support will work in WhatsApp. When you receive a VoIP call – should every device signed-in with your WhatsApp account ring… or just those devices with a SIM card? Or should only the most recently used version of the app start ringing? Should your “Last Online” status update reflect when you were last online with a single device with the SIM card installed, or when you used any of your gadgets with a WhatsApp app installed?
With the arrival of multiple device support for WhatsApp almost here, it finally paves the way for a fully-fledged iPad app. So, in the future, WhatsApp users will be able to pick-up calls, receive video calls and send images as they move between iPhone, Android handset, iPad and Windows 10 or macOS PCs. @WABetaInfo has unearthed a number of screenshots of the iPad interface.
The iPad app looks almost identical to the iPhone version, except that a second column showing all of your active conversations has been added when holding the iPad in landscape orientation – to make use of the vast amount of screen real estate available.
The Settings page also uses this column view. Apple’s own Messages app uses the screen real estate in a similar way.
Of course, there’s no guarantee that WhatsApp will ever launch this iPad version of its app. The multi-national company often tests new features or changes and then abandons – with the two billion users worldwide blissfully unaware of what they’re missing out on.
However, a quick search on the Apple App Store reveals dozens of unofficial apps claiming to allow iPad owners to send and receive texts from their tablet – essentially by using an app to launch the WhatsApp Web portal (similar to the current desktop apps from the messaging service) – shows there is clearly a demand for this update. Fingers crossed WhatsApp delivers.
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World news – US – WhatsApp is testing a dramatic change and it’s VERY good news if you want WhatsApp on iPad