I love WhatsApp but don’t want to always be staring at my phone. Is there any way to use WhatsApp from my laptop and Web browser?
You’re not alone in your devotion to the popular text messaging alternative app WhatsApp. According to Statista, the service now has 1 billion active users every month. Oh, and it’s owned by Facebook, but it’s possible you already knew that as it was pretty big news when it was acquired back in 2014. The idea of the app is simple: it’s an SMS text messaging service that bypasses the usual cellphone networks, so you don’t have to pay your cellular carrier on a per-message basis but can still exchange text, audio, photos, etc, as if you were using a regular service.
It’s also really designed for mobile use much more than it is for your laptop or desktop system, sort of like Instagram, which is another social service that requires a smartphone to use. Except WhatsApp isn’t just trapped in your iPhone or Android phone, actually, because it does have a Web service you can configure. It’s just a bit… weird to do so, as you’ll see.
To start, log in and set up your WhatsApp account on your smartphone, then put your phone aside.
Go to web.whatsapp.com and you’ll see something very similar to this:
Your QR code (the weird black and white dot chart) will be slightly different, though I’m unclear what’s actually encoded in this code graphic. It’s okay, just leave that on your computer screen for now.
Pick up your smartphone again, and in the WhatsApp program, tap on “Settings” to get here:
Now tap on the “WhatsApp Web” link, the second one down on this page.
It’ll activate the camera — it might need to be granted permission first. Do so. — then it’ll show you that it’s ready to scan the weird black and white dot pattern:
Line up your phone so the QR code on the Web page shows up in the box and in a fraction of a second the phone app will change to showing you that the Web app is successfully activated:
More interesting is on the Web browser screen on your computer, where it’s changed from the QR code to your active chat session:
Once it’s done transferring data between the two devices, it’ll show you the most recent dialog, as shown above. And that’s it. I can now chat back and forth with an existing WhatsApp user like Ashley, or I can start a new discussion!
In some Web browsers like Google Chrome, you can also set up notifications so that it’ll let you know when you receive a new message even if you don’t have the WhatsApp page up or in a tab. How useful is that?!
Simply click on the “Get Notified of New Messages” on the top left of the Web page and it’ll confirm:
Now you’re done and you can easily engage in dialog with friends via WhatsApp whether you’re on your iPhone or Android smartphone, or whether you’re using your desktop or laptop computer. Darn handy, really!