Facebook-owned WhatsApp has released a new beta version that brings multi-device support to the encrypted messenger without the need for your smartphone to be powered on or connected to the internet.
WhatsApp already provides the option to use the messaging service on multiple devices, such as the desktop app and web version but these required the primary smartphone to be switched on and connected to the internet. However, the new beta version update provides WhatsApp users with multi-device support that works on up to four non-phone devices and without the need for the registered smartphone.
The company says in its blog post that it has developed a new technology that ensures messages remain in sync while maintaining end-to-end encryption even on multiple devices. It adds that every message is individually encrypted using the established pairwise encryption session with each device while storing no messages on the server after they have been delivered.
According to the company, the current multi-device support in WhatsApp requires the phone to be powered on and connected to the internet which makes companion devices slower and causes them to disconnected but the new architecture removes these hurdles.
The company explains this on their official website:
By requiring the phone to perform all operations, companion devices are slower and frequently get disconnected — especially when the phone has a poor connection, its battery is running low, or the application process gets killed by the phone’s OS. It also allows for only a single companion device to be operative at a time, meaning people can’t be on a call in Portal while checking their messages on their PC, for example.
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 synchronized and private.WhatsApp Blog
However, the company has stated that not all features work with the new beta version of multi-device support, which include the following:
- Viewing live location on companion devices.
- Pinning chats on WhatsApp Web or Desktop.
- Joining, viewing, and resetting group invites from WhatsApp Web and Desktop. For these functions, you’ll need to use your phone.
- 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.
WhatsApp has not released an exact date when this multi-device feature will become accessible to everyone. The company is currently testing the new beta version with a limited number of users and will probably start rolling it out to more people in the coming months.