Last month, Mark Zuckerberg confirmed that WhatsApp will soon receive the multi-device function. Now the most talked about and anticipated feature is slowly moving towards a public release.
The feature has just been made available for a limited public beta test for a limited group of users. Users had been vigorously demanding support for multiple devices on WhatsApp. The reason? It allows them to use the same WhatsApp account on multiple devices without the need for a smartphone.
What it essentially means is that users can use WhatsApp on their laptops, tablets, etc. that do not have cellular connectivity. Chats from all devices, including the original one on your phone, will be synced in real time.
Facebook announced the public beta test through an official blog post. It says that the apps on the other devices will continue to work even if your phone is turned off; this is not the case with the current WhatsApp web portal. Additionally, the company says that to ensure a seamless experience on a single device and to maintain end-to-end encryption on all devices, it had to rework the architecture of the messaging platforms.
WhatsApp multi-device function: how it works
Although WhatsApp is establishing some basic rules that will define how the multi-device function will work. First, only four add-on devices can be connected to the same account at any one time; however, only one of these can be a smartphone. Also, while the apps on other platforms will remain independent, you will need to link your account to the new devices using your phone. And finally, if the phone that has the basic WhatsApp account remains inactive for 14 days, the applications of other devices will be closed automatically.
Facebook has clarified that it is testing the feature with a limited number of users under the beta program. However, it has not clarified which countries are eligible for beta testing. WhatsApp has listed the process that needs to be followed to sign up for the beta testing program that has been created specifically for this feature.
While Zuckerberg had hinted that this new feature is extremely technical and complicated, Facebook has tried to explain the technical magic behind this feature.
And since this is a complicated process that ensures end-to-end encryption is maintained, we may have to live with some limitations, at least until such time as the developers don’t find a solution.
What you should keep in mind
Here’s a quick list to keep in mind before trying activate the multi-device function of WhatsApp for you:
- Live location display on add-on devices.
- Pin chats on WhatsApp Web or Desktop.
- Join, view and restore group invitations from WhatsApp Web and Desktop. Instead, you will need to use your phone.
- Sending messages or calling someone who is using a very old version of WhatsApp on their phone will not work from your paired device.
- Call from Portal or WhatsApp Desktop to linked devices that are not enrolled in the beta version of multiple devices.
- Other WhatsApp accounts on your portal will not work unless those accounts have joined the beta from multiple devices.
- WhatsApp Business users cannot edit their company name or labels from WhatsApp Web or Desktop.