Just last month Mark Zuckerberg confirmed that WhatsApp will soon get Multi-Device support and now the most talked about and anticipated feature is inching towards a public release.
The feature has just been made available for a limited public beta test to a limited set of users. Users had been vociferously demanding multi-device support on WhatsApp as it allows them to use the same WhatsApp account on multiple devices without actually needing a smartphone.
What it essentially means is that users can use WhatsApp on their laptops, tablets etc. which do not have cellular connectivity and chats from all the devices, including the original one on your phone, will get synced in real-time.
Facebook announced the public beta testing via an official blog post and says that the apps on the other devices will continue to work even if your phone is switched off which isn’t the case with the current WhatsApp web portal. Additionally, the company says that to ensure a seamless single device experience and to maintain end-to-end encryption on all the devices, it had to re-work the messaging platforms’ architecture.
WhatsApp Multi-Device feature: How it works
Though WhatsApp is laying some ground rules that will define how the multi-device feature will work. Firstly, at any point only four companion devices can be connected to the same account, however, out of these only one can be a smartphone. Additionally, while the apps on other platforms will remain independent, you will need to link your account to the new devices using your phone. And lastly, if the phone that has the basic WhatsApp account remains inactive for 14 days, apps from other devices will get logged out automatically.
While Facebook has clarified that it is testing the feature with a limited number of users under the beta program, it has not clarified which countries are eligible for the beta test. 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 tricky, Facebook has indeed tried explaining the technical wizardry that has gone behind this feature.
And since this is a complicated process ensuring end-to-end encryption is maintained, there are a few limitations that we may have to live with, at least till the time the devs do not find a workaround. Here’s a quick list that you should keep in mind before you try to get the WhatsApp Multi-Device feature going on for you:
- Viewing live location on companion devices.
- Pinning chats on WhatsApp Web or Desktop.
- Joining, viewing, and resetting group invites from WhatsApp Web and Desktop. You’ll need to use your phone instead.
- Messaging or calling someone who is using a very old version of WhatsApp on their phone won’t work from your linked device.
- Calling from Portal or WhatsApp Desktop to linked devices that aren’t enrolled in the multi-device beta.
- Other WhatsApp accounts on your Portal won’t work unless those accounts have joined the multi-device beta.
- WhatsApp Business users can’t edit their business name or labels from WhatsApp Web or Desktop.