WhatsApp is one of the best messaging clients around, and it just got better. Apart from supporting all mobile platforms, WhatsApp has now launched a web-based client, so you can finally use WhatsApp on your PC and sync with your phone.
“Our web client is simply an extension of your phone: the web browser mirrors conversations and messages from your mobile device — this means all of your messages still live on your phone,” WhatsApp said in their official blog.
How To Use WhatsApp Web (And What You Need)
WhatsApp Web is super simple to use, although it has some restrictions in which devices it works with. You will need:
- A phone running on Android, BlackBerry, Nokia S60 or Windows Phone. WhatsApp Web won’t work with iPhones because it restricts background multitasking and push notifications, according to The Verge. Chalk up yet another reason to choose Android over iPhone.
- Google Chrome. WhatsApp Web works on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, but it only supports the Chrome web browser. We already know it’s the fastest browser, but apparently WhatsApp believes it has the best push notifications system, according to GigaOm. That seems like a weak excuse to restrict to Chrome, in our opinion, and there might just be something else to the story. However, it works with other browsers based on Chrome, like Opera, which is a faster and simpler Chrome. Note: If you’re in a restricted installs environment (like your office PC) and still want to use it, you can download the portable version of Chrome from our Best Portable Apps list. We checked, it works.
- You’ll need to update WhatsApp from your smartphone app store or install the latest version.
- Your phone will have to be connected to the Internet at all times.
If you have those elements ready, setting up WhatsApp Web is a snap.
- Open Google Chrome and go to http://web.whatsapp.com.
- On your WhatsApp mobile app, tap Menu > WhatsApp Web to start the QR code reader.
- Point your phone’s camera to the QR code on your PC screen.
As soon as WhatsApp reads the QR code, it will sync with your phone and you’re ready to go. It’s that simple! WhatsApp rises to the top of web apps that make creatives use of QR codes.
What You Can Do With WhatsApp Web
The web interface lets you do a number of useful things:
- Use your keyboard to type.
- Access media (photos, videos, audio) in-line. You can also download any media directly to your PC.
- Start a new conversation with any contact, or search for existing conversations.
- View contact info.
- Talk in group chats and view group info.
- Connect multiple computers to your phone and save them for the future. You can also remotely disconnect any browser from your phone.
- Get or mute desktop alerts and sounds.
- Share photos, record audio, or use your webcam.
What You Can’t Do With WhatsApp Web
The web interface is limited in a few ways:
- Emojis aren’t mapped to your keyboard, so you’ll need to manually add them using the emoji keyboard available in the web interface.
- You can’t start a new group chat or leave an existing group chat from the web interface.
- It’s not possible to share contacts or maps via the web interface.
- You can’t block users directly through the web interface.
- You can’t change your profile picture or profile status.
- You can’t use two browsers at the same time. While you can add multiple browsers/PCs to your phone, you can only use one at a time.
Is It Secure? Is It Worth It?
While it initially got some flak for its lack of security, last year, WhatsApp rolled out end-to-end encryption for all its messages. The new WhatsApp Web uses the same technology and is dependent on your phone for all message transfers. Plus, you can always check which browser is connected to your phone at any moment, and remotely disable any browser. While it’s not foolproof, the security is good enough.
WhatsApp Web is the best-looking web interface for WhatsApp we have seen, and definitely better than WhatsCloud or WhatsApp Remote. And it’s completely free as well. It has some limitations to what you can do online, but if you pair it with AirDroid 3’s screen mirroring, you won’t have to touch your phone for any WhatsApp-related actions.
Get WhatsApp Web: web.whatsapp.com