WhatsApp is testing a new feature that will make it possible for users to send messages using multiple devices at the same time without having to “mirror” from your smartphone.
WhatsApp is testing the new feature with a select group of users before rolling it out to everyone.
“We’ve been working on this for a long time,” said WhatsApp’s Will Cathcart.
“Until now, WhatsApp has only been available on one device at a time.
“And desktop and web support only worked by mirroring off your phone.
“Which meant your phone had to be on and have an active internet connection.
“Now you can use our desktop or web experiences even when your phone isn’t active or connected to the internet.”
However, the current test is limited to people who were already part of WhatsApp’s beta program.
Several other messaging apps already have such a feature, including rival encrypted app Signal, which requires a phone for sign-up, but not to exchange messages.
The new feature needed a “rethink” of WhatsApp’s software design, that is because the current version “uses a smartphone app as the primary device, making the phone the source of truth for all user data and the only device capable of end-to-end encrypting messages for another user [or] initiating calls”, the company said.
WhatsApp Web and other non-smartphone apps are essentially a “mirror” of what happens on the phone.
But that system has significant drawbacks familiar to many regular users, as the web app is known to frequently disconnect.
It also means that only one so-called “companion app” can be active at a time – so loading WhatsApp on another device will disconnect a WhatsApp web window.
“The new WhatsApp multi-device architecture removes these hurdles, no longer requiring a smartphone to be the source of truth, while still keeping user data seamlessly and securely synchronised and private,” the company said.