- WhatsApp multi-device support limited beta testing has started
- It lets users to use WhatsApp on up to four devices without a phone
- WhatsApp promises end-to-end encryption on companion devices
WhatsApp multi-device feature is now being rolled out to limited public beta testers. This functionality allows users to use WhatsApp on up to four non-phone devices, taking the user’s primary smartphone out of the equation.
With the WhatsApp multi-device feature, each of the companion devices will be able to connect to a user’s WhatsApp account independently. With the end-to-end encryption, all the companion devices will be able to sync various kinds of data such as message history, contact names, starred messages, and more.
WhatsApp multi-device support rolling out to beta testers
At present, users can use WhatsApp on a companion device like a PC or browser by pairing it with a phone. Companion devices simply mirror the contents of the WhatsApp app running on the phone. However, it requires the phone to stay connected at all times. Users face difficulties in using WhatsApp on companion devices when the phone encounters issues like poor connectivity or low battery. Moreover, it only lets users pair a single companion device to the WhatsApp app on the phone.
The new WhatsApp multi-device feature will let users use WhatsApp on up to four non-phone devices like desktop or web browsers simultaneously. The only caveat is that the multi-device functionality needs the phone to be connected to the internet.
According to Facebook, it has developed new technologies to provided end-to-end encryption while syncing messages on multiple devices. The company claimed, “Each message is individually encrypted using the established pairwise encryption session with each device. Messages are not stored on the server after they are delivered.”
Linking between the WhatsApp app and a companion device can be done by scanning a QR code using the phone like before. In addition, it also requires biometric authentication on compatible devices. Users will be able see the list of linked companion devices through their phone app. Users will be able to track when a companion device was last used, and it will also allow users to log out of connected devices remotely.
The company is making use of security codes to represent the identities on companion devices, which makes it possible for anyone and their contact to verify all the devices they are sending messages to. In addition, it has developed Automatic Device Verification that can automatically carry out identity verification.
WhatsApp multi-device beta: what doesn’t work?
Currently, the company plans to test the WhatsApp multi-device feature with a small group of users that belong to its beta program. Those who have opted to try the feature can opt-out of it anytime.
The following features are currently not supported on WhatsApp multi-device beta:
- 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