WhatsApp announced today that it has launched a native desktop app that’s available on both Windows and Mac devices. The Facebook-owned company said that it supports desktop notifications, better keyboard shortcuts, and more. All messages are synced with WhatsApp’s mobile devices as well.
Earlier this week, leaked screenshots indicated that a desktop app was going to be released soon, allowing you to send messages to friends and share files, all from your PC.
The addition of WhatsApp’s desktop app joins Facebook Messenger which debuted a standalone version of its service for the web and also PC. The addition of this new tool makes the service more accessible and could be aimed at helping to accelerate growth — WhatsApp already counts more than 1 billion monthly active users, a number that could soon be surpassed by its messaging cousin.
WhatsApp’s desktop app works on computers with MacOS X 10.9, Windows 8, or higher. After installing the app, you’ll have to scan a QR code using the WhatsApp app on your mobile device — the feature will be under “Settings” > “WhatsApp Web”. If the QR code is recognized, you’ll be authenticated on the desktop. WhatsApp for desktop connects to your phone to sync messages so potentially quite a bit of data will constantly be transmitted, depending on usage of course. The company advises that you connect your phone to Wi-Fi.
The desktop app is essentially no different than the mobile version, especially the one that it launched in August: You can find contacts to communicate with and attach emojis and files to messages. Voice dictation is supported as well.
Releasing a new app comes just days after the company faces continued legal issues within Brazil concerning access to user data. A judge in the country has already suspended the service twice and even ordered the imprisonment of a Facebook executive over demands to access WhatsApp’s encrypted messaging service as part of a drug trafficking investigation.
Having a desktop app certainly will make communicating not only with loved ones but friends and business associates much easier, especially when your messages as synced. It’s now more on par with competitors like Facebook Messenger, Skype, and Telegram to have a native desktop tool.
To download the app, visit https://www.whatsapp.com/download from your desktop browser.