For the longest time, using WhatsApp for web on your computer or any other device has required that one has a phone which is powered one and connected to the internet. However, a new beta test is trying out support for multiple devices without the need for a phone in the mix.
The update enables WhatsApp users for the first time to use the service on up to four nonphone devices without having the registered phone switched on or otherwise connected to the internet.
WhatsApp had this to say in a statement, “By requiring the phone to perform all operations, companion devices are slower and frequently get disconnected — especially when the phone has a poor connection, its battery is running low, or the application process gets killed by the phone’s OS. It also allows for only a single companion device to be operative at a time, meaning people can’t be on a call in Portal while checking their messages on their PC, for example. The new WhatsApp multi-device architecture removes these hurdles, no longer requiring a smartphone to be the source of truth while still keeping user data seamlessly and securely synchronized and private.”
In a whitepaper produced by the platform, they outline how the feature works. The firm says it has developed new technologies that ensure that even on multiple devices, messages sync while maintaining end-to-end encryption, a feat that is currently rare in the market.
According to the firm, they had to rethink WhatsApp’s architecture and design new systems to enable a standalone multi-device experience while preserving privacy and end-to-end encryption. They added that, each message is individually encrypted using the established pairwise encryption session with each device. Messages are not stored on the server after they are delivered.
WhatsApp doesn’t have a specific date for when it plans to roll out this feature to all users. Instead, the firm indicated that it is initially rolling out this feature to its existing beta users.