One of the biggest frustrations of keeping all your chats on WhatsApp is that it is really difficult to move seamlessly between devices. Unlike iMessage, Facebook Messenger or almost any other messaging service, it is difficult to send a text message from your smartphone, grab a tablet to participate in a video call and respond to a group chat from your laptop.
Although WhatsApp offers a desktop application, this is basically the online messaging portal grouped in a Windows 10 or macOS application window. You will need to scan a QR code from your smartphone periodically to ensure that you are connected and can send or receive messages. And if you're thinking about making or receiving video calls from a PC – forget it.
All of these peculiarities of Facebook's proprietary messaging service (now comfortably the most popular on the planet with over two billion users worldwide) are because WhatsApp accounts are linked to your phone number. And you can't use the service on a device without a SIM card installed – such as a laptop, desktop PC or tablet.
But that could finally be about to change.
WhatsApp is looking for ways to sign in and use accounts on multiple devices at the same time. This may seem simple, but it does require some fundamental changes to the chat application. When you receive a VoIP call – should all devices connected to your WhatsApp account ring … or just those devices with a SIM card? Should the "Last Online" status update reflect when you were last online with a single device or when you used any of your gadgets with a WhatsApp app installed?
According to the code dug up by @WABetaInfo – a Twitter account that scans the beta code for clues about upcoming features – WhatsApp will send a notification soon whenever your account is being used on another device. This will likely work as a security measure to ensure that someone is not sending text messages from your account on another device without your knowledge.
It is important to remember that the feature is currently in the development phase. Therefore, the Facebook-owned app, which has seen an increase in popularity following the distance and social blockade measures applied in the UK, the United States and several other countries in the world, may not start the feature for a few months.
With this change in the way WhatsApp works, it finally paves the way for a complete iPad app. Therefore, in the future, WhatsApp users will be able to answer calls, receive video calls and send images as they move between iPhone, Android device, iPad and Windows 10 or macOS PCs. @WABetaInfo revealed several 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 by keeping the iPad in landscape orientation – to make use of the large amount of space available on the screen.
The Settings page also uses this column view. Apple's messaging app uses screen space in a similar way.
Of course, there is no guarantee that WhatsApp will ever start this iPad version of your app. The multinational company usually tests new features or changes and then leaves – with two billion users around the world happily unaware of what they are missing out on.
However, a quick search on the Apple App Store reveals dozens of unofficial apps that claim to allow iPad owners to send and receive text from their tablet – basically using an app to launch the WhatsApp web portal (similar to desktop apps service messages) – clearly shows that there is a demand for this update. Fingers crossed WhatsApp delivery.