WhatsApp, the messaging service owned by Facebook, is one of the most popular online international communication services on the planet. WhatsApp Web is a browser version of the WhatsApp Messenger chat and video/voice calling app from iOS and Android. Desktop WhatsApp comes in two flavors — a downloadable system app for Mac and Windows or the ability to operate directly from the browser.

WhatsApp Web and WhatsApp Desktop function as extensions of your mobile WhatsApp account, and all messages are synced between your phone and your computer, so you can view conversations on any device regardless of where they are initiated. Here, we’ll walk you through how to use the WhatsApp browser app.

The process and interface are identical in iOS 13 and iOS 14. Similarly, the Android 11 interface is the same as the previous version.

How to use WhatsApp Web

To launch WhatsApp Web, just click on its URL in Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari, or Edge and scan the QR code on the page with the WhatsApp mobile app from your phone. WhatsApp Web automatically launches in the browser and remains active until you log out on your computer or phone.

WhatsApp Web

For iOS 14, here are the steps:

  • Go to the WhatsApp website to link WhatsApp Web with your mobile phone app.
  • Launch WhatsApp on your iPhone or Android mobile phone.
  • Scan the QR code that appears on the site with your phone open to WhatsApp.
  • On the iPhone, tap Settings > WhatsApp Web/Desktop.
  • Tap Scan QR code and hold your phone up to the code to pair it.

For Android 10, here are the steps:

  • On Android phones, tap on the three dots at the upper right from the Chat pane.
  • Tap on WhatsApp Web and scan the QR code.
  • Your smartphone account is now linked to the web version of the app.
  • From there you can send and receive messages from your computer’s desktop browser.

WhatsApp Web features

After scanning the QR code, you can view your WhatsApp chat list directly on the web page. On the left, you can see your chats by clicking a contact to open the chat and your message history, if you saved it.

On the top left of the Web page, three icons are available: Status, New chat, and Menu, which offers a list of nested options. The Status option reveals all statuses posted by your contacts along with the ability to respond from the reply area at the bottom of the pane. Clicking New chat opens the contacts list on the left side of the page. From here, you can create a new group or begin a conversation.

The three-dot drop-down menu lets you create a new group, change information in your profile, search archived chats, view starred messages, change settings like notifications and chat wallpaper, or log out.

Sending messages

WhatsApp Web is as easy to use as the mobile app, and the interface will look familiar. To send a message from your desktop, click on an existing chat or click on the New chat icon and select the contact you wish to interact with. Here, you can see previous chats, if they are saved, or alternately you see the message bar at the bottom. Click on the Type a message bar and start chatting. When you’re done with your message, click the Enter key on your keyboard to transmit — or just click on the Send icon.

If you want to include documents, images, or recordings, just attach the files from your desktop and send them as you would any other message by clicking on the paper clip Attach icon at the top of the current chat.

Install WhatsApp on your system

Additionally, WhatsApp gives users the option to have a Windows or Mac desktop client that you can download directly from the app’s website. Follow the installer’s instruction prompts once you download the app (which is essentially just a replica of the web-based app) on Windows. If you’re using a Mac, you can launch WhatsApp once you drag the icon to your Applications folder. Launch it, and you’ll receive a message asking you to scan a QR code on both the web browser version and the web app. Remember that WhatsApp keeps you signed in until you manually sign out. 

When you’re ready to sign out, navigate to the WhatsApp menu on your cell phone and select Log out from all devices. If you’re on a computer, you can click the three-dot icon at the top of the message and select the Log out button.

Desktop video calling on the horizon

WhatsApp has announced exciting new plans to employ multi-party desktop videoconferencing in its web app. This endeavor will allow a maximum of 50 participants in each call. These plans will make WhatsApp an effective alternative to Zoom, Skype, and Google Meet, offering a fantastic convenience to WhatsApp users worldwide. Unfortunately, users can’t take advantage of this feature just yet since it’s still in the unreleased beta version. But if you have the app’s mobile version, you can set up a group video chat.

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