WhatsApp, the most popular messaging app on mobile, had little presence on desktop, until 2015, when it finally became available in-browser. More recently, the company created standalone desktop clients. How does the Windows version compare to its mobile counterparts?
Messages get full encryption: The desktop version of WhatsApp gets the same end-to-end encryption as the mobile version, which means that your messages get scrambled for privacy the moment they are sent and aren’t unscrambled until they arrive at their destination. Only you and the recipient can see message content.
Streamlined, intuitive interface: The desktop version takes full advantage of the horizontal orientation most desktop monitors have, with a conversation list on the left and your active conversation on the right, and separate menus for app settings and conversation actions. Everything you can do in the mobile version (aside from calls) is available in the desktop version.
Archived images are blurred for privacy: Due to the desktop screen’s larger size, an additional layer of privacy is encouraging when you’re looking at archived conversations, which may contain sensitive information. Just click on the image to unblur it. However, there isn’t an option to re-blur, which would be nice to have.
Free and easy to set up: Like the mobile app, the desktop version is free and ready to use in less than a minute. Just open the mobile app, set it up if you haven’t already, open the desktop app, and scan the QR code with your phone’s camera to verify your identity.
No support for calls or video messaging: You can take photos with your device’s camera and record audio clips, but WhatsApp for desktop doesn’t support video or audio calling. It’s primarily a text messenger that can send images and sound clips.
While the desktop version does not support calls, WhatsApp for Windows is still an end-to-end encrypted, cross-platform, free text messenger that only needs a QR code to set up, and the phone number of another WhatsApp user to contact them. These are excellent ingredients for bringing private desktop communication to the masses.
The new desktop app is available for Windows 8+ and Mac OS 10.9+ and is synced with WhatsApp on your mobile device. Because the app runs natively on your desktop, you’ll have support for native desktop notifications, better keyboard shortcuts, and more.
Download the app from your desktop browser. Then, open the app and scan the QR code using the WhatsApp app on your phone (look for WhatsApp Web menu under Settings).
Just like WhatsApp Web, the new desktop app lets you message with friends and family while your phone stays in your pocket.