Earlier this week, WhatsApp published a blog post detailing how multi-device support will work and the company has now rolled it out to selected users. In case you don't know, WhatsApp requires users to have an active internet connection in order to use the app on desktop. However, with the new feature, WhatsApp users will be able to seamlessly use the app on multiple devices without maintaining a constant internet connection. The company notes that it made changes to allow each companion device to connect to WhatsApp independently.
With this new capability, you can now use WhatsApp on your phone and up to four other nonphone devices simultaneously — even if your phone battery is dead. Each companion device will connect to your WhatsApp independently while maintaining the same level of privacy and security through end-to-end encryption that people who use WhatsApp have come to expect. Importantly, we have developed new technologies to maintain end-to-end encryption while still managing to sync your data — such as contact names, chat archives, starred messages, and more — across devices.
Furthermore, the company also noted the following limitations that will apply to multi-device support:
- You cannot message/call from web, desktop or Portal to users who have an outdated version of WhatsApp on their phone
- Performance and quality may be affected
- Other minor issues
Apart from that, multi-device will currently support up-to four additional devices and one phone. This means that you cannot use one WhatsApp account on two separate phones but you can use it on two separate devices like a desktop and laptop.
We did manage to get access to the new multi-device feature. Currently, for some reasons, the WhatsApp Desktop app does not work as I was unable to link it with my phone. However, I was able to go to WhatsApp Web and continue with the multi-device setup. Once you have completed the setup, you will see a 'BETA' tag on the top left corner, near your profile picture indicating you are using a beta version of WhatsApp web.
On the phone, the setup is similar to what you currently do to access WhatsApp Web. The option, however, has been renamed as Linked Devices. Once you select the option, you will be able to link your phone to a different device and use WhatsApp just like you normally do. The difference is that if you phone loses connection, WhatsApp will continue to work.
Currently, multi-device support is available for selected WhatsApp Beta users but the company is expected to roll it out to all beta users soon. Unfortunately, the timeline for the public roll out is still unknown. However, in the coming months, WhatsApp plans to roll it out as an opt-in option to a select group of users on stable version.