We’ve been waiting for it for a long time, and today is the day! Your experience while using WhatsApp Web, WhatsApp Desktop and Portal is going to change starting today. Let’s see what’s changing!
|Name of the feature?||Multi-device|
|Compatibility?||If you’re on the most recent WhatsApp beta for Android and iOS builds, your WhatsApp account might be eligible to receive the feature|
|I’ve the same version but I don’t see this feature, why?||WhatsApp is testing multi-device for specific users, so you might be unable to see the feature at first.|
|Previous news?||WhatsApp is working on an in-app tool to review bans!|
Multi-device is surely the most discussed topic here at WABetaInfo, and we were the first to announce the feature, providing several details:
- WhatsApp Web, WhatsApp Desktop and Portal can work without an active Internet connection on your mobile phone.
- This first version of multi-device does not support another additional phone, but it’s possible they will provide the support in the future, seen that WhatsApp was working on a log out option on linked mobile devices.
- It’s possible to link up to 4 devices to your WhatsApp account. We spotted the news 1 year ago.
- Voice and video calls work across linked devices.
- You cannot message or call people that have an outdated WhatsApp version installed, from WhatsApp Web/Desktop or Portal.
Mark Zuckerberg and Will Cathcart confirmed in our interview that multi-device was coming within 2 months, and we are finally happy to announce that WhatsApp is starting to roll out multi-device for specific beta testers on WhatsApp beta for Android and iOS today!
If you want to discover if you’re one of the lucky users, just open WhatsApp Web/Desktop Settings from your iPhone or Android device (WhatsApp might rename it to Linked devices in the meantime, but this does not mean you have received the feature) and, if the feature is enabled for your WhatsApp account, you can see a new row called “Multi-device beta”.
Yes, you need to join the beta program manually, but you can always opt back out. When you join the beta program for multi-device, and you connect to WhatsApp Web/Desktop for the first time, you will start using a beta version of the web/desktop client!
So you can start using WhatsApp Web without an Internet connection on your phone. Don’t you believe it? Just turn off your phone and you can see you can use WhatsApp Web normally!
You might experience some issues, like chatting with people that have an outdated WhatsApp version from WhatsApp Web/Desktop beta, and Portal. This is simple to fix: just ask your frequently contacted people to update WhatsApp from the App Store and Google Play (yes, they don’t need to use the beta version to chat with you).
A lot of users will be wondering how it works now… are our chats stored on the WhatsApp/Facebook cloud right now? The answer is no. WhatsApp does not store your messages after being delivered but, when someone sends you a message, the message is delivered to all your linked devices. When you create a new session, your chat history is transferred from your phone to the linked device, and this process is encrypted. When the process is completed, all keys are deleted from the new companion device, and messages will be saved in the local database.
Your messages, calls, status updates are still end-to-end encrypted, even if you join the multi-device beta program. This will never change.
How does encryption work when using multi-device? WhatsApp decided to apply a client-fanout method, where the message is encrypted individually using the established pairwise encryption session with each device (Device A <-> Device B; Device A <-> Device C; Device A <-> Device D; etc…) and it is sent to all your other companion devices and other people’s devices. WhatsApp has also introduced several protections, in order to avoid malicious identities to secretly add devices to someone’s account.
WhatsApp has also implemented a new feature to sync different actions you do in the app, for example when you star a message from a device, it’s starred on all your linked devices too, or when you archive a chat. But there is an exception: when you clear or delete a chat from a device, it’s not removed from all other linked devices. To ensure this work, the server securely stores a copy of these events that your linked device can access to and everything, including the metadata about your events, is end-to-end encrypted. Keys used to encrypt the information and metadata about those events constantly change.
If you would like to learn more about how encryption works when multi-device is enabled, you can visit the security page from the official WhatsApp website. WhatsApp has also published a new blog post about multi-device: give it a look!
What you should know when using multi-device beta:
- When you join multi-device beta, all your previous sessions will be removed and you need to link your devices again. Probably WhatsApp will ask to connect your phone to WhatsApp Web or WhatsApp Desktop twice when you join the multi-device beta the first time. This is to ensure the transition to multi-device.
- Linked devices are automatically logged out from your WhatsApp account after 14 days of inactivity on your phone, due to security reasons. So you need to use your phone at least once every 14 days.
- Some features are not supported yet, because it’s a beta version, like the possibility to view live locations on linked devices, pinned chats don’t show up immediately but you need to manually search for them the first time and, if you use WhatsApp Business, your business name and labels cannot be edited from WhatsApp Web and WhatsApp Desktop. These small issues will be fixed in a future update.
If the multi-device beta program is not visible for you, don’t worry: WhatsApp is testing the feature for specific people and, after some time, WhatsApp will start rolling out it for more beta testers. It will be very slow initially (believe me, it’s really slow!), but just give it some time. Note that when you enroll in the multi-device beta, you might experience some small issues. Being a beta program, things like that can happen, so WhatsApp gives you the possibility to opt out.
WhatsApp listens to your feedback, so it’s important you report all bugs you experience while using multi-device, in order to help them build a perfect feature.
Is the multi-device beta program available for you? You are very lucky, so please let us know on Twitter!
Stay tuned to discover new features and updates about WhatsApp beta for Android, iOS, Web!
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