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WhatsApp might soon receive the major update you’ve been waiting for

Published Oct 30th, 2019 6:04PM EDT
WhatsApp vs. iMessage
Image: Martin Meissner/AP/Shutterstock

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WhatsApp is easily one of the most popular messaging apps out there, and Facebook’s only chat app that supports end-to-end encryption, just like iMessage on the iPhone. The advantage of WhatsApp is that you can use it across devices to stay in touch with your contacts regardless of their mobile operating system.

However, WhatsApp isn’t perfect, and some users have been waiting for years for Facebook to roll out a few features that could turn it into an even more powerful iMessage alternative. Some of those features include support for multiple devices, as well as a custom version of the app for tablets — or at least for the iPad.

Facebook has been working on an iPad version of WhatsApp for months now, as we saw the first leaks detailing the app’s UI changes for tablets back in April. But the feature has yet to roll out.

Customizing the app to take advantage of the iPad’s bigger screen can’t be that complicated, but there is a more complex feature required to make it all work. Facebook has been looking at letting users access the same WhatsApp account from multiple devices at the same time, including multiple phones.

WhatsApp accounts are created with the help of phone numbers, which means you can’t use the same account on two phones right now. It’s a security feature, and one that prevents the rollout of the iPad version of the app, according to prominent WhatsApp leaker @WABetaInfo on Twitter:

A desktop version of WhatsApp does exist, but that only works in tandem with the main phone where the account was activated. Using WhatsApp on multiple devices simultaneously also needs to have the same end-to-end encryption support, and Facebook is developing support for that, according to the same leaker:

Once that happens, people who use more than one smartphone, or a combination of smartphones and tablets, will be able to set up the same WhatsApp account across all of them:

It’s unclear when the feature will roll out, but the leaker suggested that screenshots of the new multi-device WhatsApp experiences might arrive soon. Comparatively, iMessage works simultaneously on iPhone, iPad, and Mac, as long as you sign in with the same Apple ID.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.