There's some disappointing news about multi-device support in WhatsApp

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All apps and services have missing features that users are begging for. In the case of Twitter, for instance, it's the option of editing tweets. When it comes to WhatsApp, though, it is the ability to use the chat app on more that one device that has topped people's wish lists for some time.

Pleasingly, Facebook has listened. We've known for a while now that multi-device support is coming to WhatsApp, but that day is growing ever closer. So close, in fact, that the feature is on the verge of starting public beta testing – but we already know of at least one limitation that will disappoint people.

The ever-reliable WABetaInfo has learned a great deal about what we can expect from multi-device support, starting off with the fact that beta testing should start with Android and iOS users within a couple of months. When it launches, you will be able to link up to four devices your WhatsApp account. What's more, there is no need for the main device to have an active internet connection which will help to free up more usage scenarios.

But there's some less than positive news – at least about the beta testing period. While it will be possible to use WhatsApp on up to four devices, multi-device support will initially be limited to multi-device beta for WhatsApp Web, WhatsApp Desktop and Portal platforms.

The more the merrier

A note about the beta program points out:

After your devices are linked, your phone will no longer need to stay online to use WhatsApp on web, desktop or Portal. Up to 4 additional devices and one phones can be used at once.

Of course, this is only the first outing for multi-device support. While this initial beta has limitations, this will not necessarily be the case when the feature gets a full launch. There's also another limitation which – although not entirely surprising – will limit beta users' ability to test the feature to its fullest extent.

WhatsApp says that beta users will not be able to message or call users who are running an outdated version of the app on their phone.

But while there are limitations, there are still some exciting times ahead, and WhatsApp is about to become even more useful.

Sofia Elizabella Wyciślik-Wilson
Freelance writer

Sofia is a tech journalist who's been writing about software, hardware and the web for nearly 25 years – but still looks as youthful as ever! After years writing for magazines, her life moved online and remains fueled by technology, music and nature.

Having written for websites and magazines since 2000, producing a wide range of reviews, guides, tutorials, brochures, newsletters and more, she continues to write for diverse audiences, from computing newbies to advanced users and business clients. Always willing to try something new, she loves sharing new discoveries with others.

Sofia lives and breathes Windows, Android, iOS, macOS and just about anything with a power button, but her particular areas of interest include security, tweaking and privacy. Her other loves include walking, music, her two Malamutes and, of course, her wife and daughter.

You can find her on Twitter and Mastodon.