San Francisco: Until now, using WhatsApp web on desktop or any other device has required having a phone that's powered on and connected, but the Facebook-owned platform has now launched a new beta test that supports multiple devices without needing a phone in the mix.
In a statement issued late on Wednesday, the company said that the users can use desktop or web experiences on up to four devices, even when their smartphones are dead, with the same end-to-end encryption, as per a report by The Verge.
WhatsApp head Will Cathcart announced the rollout of a limited public beta test for WhatsApp's updated multi-device capability.
Currently, the Beta is available with a limited group of testers who are part of WhatsApp's Beta programme and will be rolled out globally soon.
Importantly, Cathcart informed that the company has also developed new technologies to maintain end-to-end encryption while still managing to sync data — such as contact names, chat archives, starred messages and more -- across devices.
Until now, WhatsApp has only been available on one device at a time and desktop and web support only worked by mirroring off the phone with an active internet connection.
The current WhatsApp experience for companion devices on the web, macOS, Windows, and Portal uses a smartphone app as the primary device, making the phone the source of truth for all user data and the only device capable of end-to-end encrypting messages for another user, initiating calls, etc.
"This architecture makes it easy to deliver a seamlessly synchronised experience between a phone and companion device without compromising on security," WhatsApp said.
The company said it will also give people additional control and protections over which devices are linked to their accounts.
First, everyone will continue to be required to link new companion devices by scanning a QR code from their phone. This process now requires biometric authentication before linking where people have enabled this feature on compatible devices.
"Finally, people will be able to see all the companion devices linked to their account as well as when they were last used, and will be able to log out of them remotely if needed," WhatsApp said.