Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and WhatsApp head Will Cathcart joined the person behind the WaBetaInfo blog in a WhatsApp chat where they talked about the various new features coming to the chat app. The blog usually details WhatsApp functionalities that Facebook tests before making them available to all users.
One of the most discussed WhatsApp features is multi-device support, essentially a way to have the same WhatsApp account running on multiple devices. As it is now, you can install a PC version of the app that works with the phone. But the true multi-device experience would involve setting up the same WhatsApp account across multiple smartphones and tablets.
Zuckerberg confirmed that multi-device support is coming too, teasing a unique approach for enabling the feature while keeping end-to-end encryption in place — from the interview:
It’s been a big technical challenge to get all your messages and content to sync properly across devices even when your phone battery dies, but we’ve solved this and we’re looking forward to getting it out soon!
[It’ll] still be end-to-end encrypted. I think we’ve solved this in an elegant way and it’ll be the best solution out there.
Cathcart added that multi-device support would be available in beta in the next month or two. The exec teased that Facebook would “love to support WhatsApp on iPad” and said the feature would support up to four linked devices.
Earlier in the chat, Zuckerberg announced a few additional features that should boost security and privacy on WhatsApp. Facebook will roll out a “disappearing mode,” which will turn on disappearing messages for all the threads in a WhatsApp account. That way, the entire WhatsApp experience should become ephemeral.
Furthermore, Facebook will implement a “view once” feature for media and content, which will ensure that a shared file is only viewed once by the intended recipient. However, a screenshot showing the feature informs users that recipients could still take screenshots before the content is gone.