One frustration that I have with WhatsApp (and I think I am not alone in this) is how you need to have your phone connected to the network in order to use the desktop or web app. Sometimes my phone would be out of power or might be having connectivity issues even though the same network is working fine for my laptop. WhatsApp was, to its credit, aware of this problem but there was one issue in the way of it being solved and it was maintaining end-to-end encryption. However, it looks like that hurdle has been overcome with news that WhatsApp multi-device support is now in early access or more commonly referred to as “available to beta testers”.
Very excited to be launching a beta of our new multi-device capability for @WhatsApp. Now you can use our desktop or web experiences even when your phone isn't active and connected to the internet. All secured with end-to-end encryption.— Will Cathcart (@wcathcart) July 14, 2021
Learn more: https://t.co/AnFu4Qh6Hd
The highlights of the feature are:
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- WhatsApp’s Web and desktop app can now work independently of the mobile phone.
- According to WABetaInfo, you can link up to 4 devices to a single account
- WhatsApp voice and video calls work across devices
Caveats to the feature are that it doesn’t support cross-linking between mobile devices (phones and tablets). At present the feature is only available for WhatsApp on desktop and web but the feature could extend to mobile devices in the near future.
For those who are interested in testing out the multi-device feature, all you need to do is join WhatsApp’s beta program. However, if you intend to do so, you should keep the following in mind.
According to WABetoInfo, your current setup may be removed and you will need to link your devices again. Your devices will be logged out automatically after 14 days of inactivity. This is reportedly because of security concerns. So just check in on those devices once a fortnight. Some devices may not yet be supported because it is after all a beta. This is something that has happened in other beta rollouts and seasoned beta testers will be aware of this.
But if you are like the rest of us you’ll probably wait until all the bugs have been worked out and its rolled out to the public. I am excited about this one beyond making my life easier, I think it will help businesses, particularly the small ones that have WhatsApp as one of their customer services channel. The only limitation is that it’s four users per account but that’s a lot better than what it is now.
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