For months on end, WhatsApp has teased its multi-device feature — a feature that will let you use WhatsApp on your computer even if your phone isn’t constantly connected and nearby, with up to four devices. (And all your messages will still be protected using end-to-end encryption.) WhatsApp has been taking its sweet time actually rolling it out, but after months of testing, the feature is finally available to all users — in the form of a public beta. Here’s how the WhatsApp multi-device feature works, and how to enable it.
How WhatsApp’s multi-device feature works
WhatsApp’s multi-device feature lets you use WhatsApp like Telegram or Facebook Messenger. Well, kind of. You still need to manually link devices using QR codes, and these devices need to reconnect with your smartphone at least once every 14 days.
While you can use WhatsApp with up to four connected devices (including Facebook Portal), only one phone can be connected to your WhatsApp account at a time. Once enabled, launching the WhatsApp Desktop app will automatically and securely download recent conversations from your WhatsApp account.
How to enable WhatsApp multi-device beta
If you want to try it out, you can enable the feature from WhatsApp settings. On your iPhone, go to the “Settings” tab, and tap on “Linked Devices.” Choose the “Multi-Device Beta” option, then the “Join Beta” button to get started. From the popup, tap the “Continue” button.
On your Android smartphone, tap the three-dotted menu button from the top toolbar, and choose the “Linked Devices” option. Then, go to the “Multi-Device Beta” section, and tap “Join Beta.”
Once the process is complete, the multi-device beta will be enabled. WhatsApp will log you out of current sessions on linked devices, and you’ll have to re-connect with the WhatsApp Desktop app on Mac or PC. To do that, open the WhatsApp Desktop app. On your smartphones, go to the “Linked Devices” section in WhatsApp and tap on the “Link a Device” button. Scan the QR code to link the device.
Once it’s scanned, the application will take some time to download recent messages and media from your WhatsApp account. After it’s done, you can continue to use WhatsApp like you normally do.
WhatsApp multi-device beta limitations (and how to leave the beta)
As this is a beta, things aren’t perfect, or even complete. WhatsApp still has a long list of features that aren’t available if you’re using the multi-device beta on the WhatsApp Desktop app. According to WhatsApp, here are the features that aren’t supported:
- Clearing or deleting chats on companion devices if your primary device is an iPhone.
- Messaging or calling someone who is using a very old version of WhatsApp on their phone.
- Using tablets.
- Viewing live location on companion devices.
- Creating and viewing a broadcast list on companion devices.
- Calling between Portals that have joined the Multi-Device Beta and Portals that haven’t joined.
- Sending messages with link previews from WhatsApp Web.
If you rely on one of these features, or if you’re experiencing issues, you can always leave the multi-device beta — just go back to the “Linked Devices” section in WhatsApp Settings, tap “Multi-Device Beta,” then “Leave beta.”