If you’ve got a smartphone, chances are you’re already using WhatsApp to chat with your friends and family.
The Facebook–owned messaging service has more than a billion users, but until now, it’s been awkward to use on a desktop computer.
While the WhatsApp Web service was fine for more tech savvy consumers, it couldn’t match up to Apple’s iMessage. Not least because the iOS service allowed iPhone users to send and receive texts on their Macs via a native app.
Now, though, in a bid to change all that WhatsApp has released a special version designed for desktop.
The idea is to make it as easy as possible to deal with missives without having to go rummaging for your smartphone. Here’s how to set it up.
Make sure you’ve got the right machine
Before you set up WhatsApp for desktop, you’ll need to make sure your home computer has the right software.
PC owners need Windows 8 or higher, while Mac owners need OS X Mavericks (version 10.9) or above.
Checking which software you have is easy.
PC owners need to type Computer on the Start screen, right click on Computer and then click 'Properties'. Under the Windows Edition menu you’ll see which edition your PC has.
Mac owners simply need to click the Apple icon in the top right-hand corner of their screen and then on the 'About This Mac' tab.
Download the app
WhatsApp isn’t offering its new desktop app via the Windows or Mac app stores. Instead, you need to download it directly from WhatsApp's website.
Head to whatsapp.com/download and follow the on screen instructions to get the app installed on your machine.
Fire it up
Open the app up on your desktop once it’s installed. When you do so, you’ll see a QR code, a unique box not dissimilar to a barcode.
This is the way WhatsApp transfers all your messages and contact information from your smartphone.
Scan the QR code
To scan the QR code, open WhatsApp on your smartphone and tap the Settings button in the bottom right hand corner.
Then hit the WhatsApp Web tab. Your phone’s camera will then be activated. Point it at the screen and it’ll automatically scan the on–screen code.
Once the code is scanned, your chat history will appear immediately.
The app on your Mac or PC looks identical to that on your smartphone, with chats down the left hand side and a message box at the bottom.
Using the service on your desktop is free, just make sure your smartphone and computer are hooked up to Wi–Fi in order for it to work seamlessly.
WhatsApp for desktop offers better keyboard shortcuts and you’ll also get notifications on your Mac or PC, perfect for when your phone is out of reach.
Messages you send on your computer will also show up on your smartphone and vice versa, so you can switch between devices with ease.