Last month WhatsApp confirmed to TechRadar that it would soon be rolling out support for using accounts across multiple devices, and now there's more evidence that an iPad app for WhatsApp is going to be included in that feature push.
A tweet from the always reliable tipsters at @WABetaInfo shows off a screenshot of WhatsApp running on an iPad as one of the devices linked to an account. At the moment, multi-device support is being tested with a limited number of users.
The tweet refers to "multi-device 2.0", suggesting that more devices – specifically the iPad and tablets running Android – are going to be added to the mix very soon. At the moment, only the web app, the desktop app, and Facebook Portal gadgets qualify as part of a multi-device setup.
NEWS: WhatsApp is finally working on multi-device 2.0, and you can use iPad as new linked device ☄️Android tablets are also planned to support multi-device on WhatsApp for Android!It's under development and it will be released in a future update. Follow me to discover more 💚 pic.twitter.com/rND4xQfBDjAugust 20, 2021
Watch this space
WhatsApp CEO Will Cathcart has previously gone on record as saying that he would "love" to see a WhatsApp app for the iPad, which sounds promising for those owners of an Apple tablet who would like to keep messaging while away from their phone.
Multi-device support means each device gets a separate connection to WhatsApp. Right now, if you open the desktop or web app, they sync conversations over from your phone; in the future, these apps will communicate directly with WhatsApp's servers, while maintaining the end-to-end encryption it's known for.
According to this new leak, support for the iPad and Android tablets is now "under development" and will appear "in a future update", though we don't have any more details in terms of a specific timetable or launch window. Based on this new evidence, it's going to happen sooner rather than later.
Analysis: WhatsApp knows it has to keep evolving
Multi-device support has certainly been a long time coming – we've been talking about WhatsApp enabling users to log in from multiple devices for several years at this point, and it now looks as though the wait is coming to an end.
Whether it's iMessage, Google Chat, Facebook Messenger or Telegram, most messaging apps now work seamlessly across several devices at once – and WhatsApp owner Facebook knows that its users are going to want to log into several places simultaneously. It needs to continue adding features to keep up.
There is still going to be one important limitation, even with this new multi-device support: you'll still only be able to use WhatsApp with one smartphone at once. The secondary devices will need to be computers and (as we've learned today) tablets.
A follow-up tweet from @WABetaInfo confirms that the iPad app will indeed be a native app rather than a web app, and that it will work independently from an iPhone and other devices. The quickest way to get the new functionality is to join the WhatsApp beta.
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Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.