WhatsApp begins rolling out multi-device support to beta testers

Jack Wilkinson

WhatsApp on Windows Phone

Popular messaging service, WhatsApp, has long been available on a wide range of devices, from phones, to desktop, and the web. But the primary device for WhatsApp has always been the phone, and using the service on any other type of device, be it desktop or web, ha srequired a constant internet connection to the phone, in order for it to function.

But that is beginning to change.

WhatsApp previously announced that it was working on multi-device support, in which WhatsApp would be able to be used independently on other devices, negating the need for a constant internet connection. As of this week, beta testers are beginning to get access to this new multi-device feature (via WABetaInfo). Essentially, the feature would allow you to use WhatsApp Desktop or Web on your Windows computer even when your phone is not connected to the internet (for example, if the battery died).

With it, users will be able to set up a maximum of 4 devices, with a maximum of 1 phone, and will be able to use WhatsApp independently on each of those devices.

At the time of writing, the feature is rolling out to a limited number of beta testers. To be eligible to access the feature, you must be registered for the WhatsApp beta. After joining the beta on a mobile device, then connecting to WhatsApp Web or Desktop, you’ll then receive a beta version of the web/desktop experience. Once everything is set up, and the beta has rolled out to you, you’ll gain the ability to use WhatsApp Web or Desktop even when your phone has no internet connection.

As this is a beta, there are some limitations, such as not being able to view the live locations of contacts, business users cannot edit the name or label, and pinned chats won’t show up until you manually search for them the first time.

For the security-conscious, this feature does not change how messages are stored. The messages will not be stored on WhatsApp’s servers once delivered, and they are transferred between your devices using end-to-end encryption. If you remain inactive on a linked device for 14 days, it will be automatically unlinked for security purposes.