WHATSAPP has started to bring multiple device support to beta testers on Android and iPhone. This allows chat app users to sign-in to WhatsApp on multiple smartphones, laptops, and paves the way for a fully-fledged iPad and Android tablet app in the future.
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.
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.