WhatsApp's new multi-device support is in the hands of beta testers

Whatsapp Group Message on iPhone X
Whatsapp Group Message on iPhone X (Image credit: Luke Filipowicz/iMore)

What you need to know

  • WhatsApp is now testing multi-device support with beta testers.
  • The feature isn't available to all testers yet, but continues to roll out.

Hugely popular instant messaging app WhatsApp is now beta testing a feature that people have long been crying out for. Those on the current iOS beta of the app have begun to notice a new feature — multi-device support.

According to a new report by beta watchers WABetaInfo, those who have the latest TestFlight beta installed have begun to notice a new option relating to multi-device support, although it isn't yet available to all.

WhatsApp is finally releasing the multi-device beta program for more iOS beta users today! Thanks to multi-device, you can use WhatsApp Web, WhatsApp Desktop and Portal without an Internet connection on your main phone. WhatsApp is still partially rolling out the feature for specific users, so it's possible your WhatsApp account is not eligible yet. You can verify if multi-device is enabled for your WhatsApp account opening WhatsApp Settings > Linked Devices (previously called "WhatsApp Web/Desktop"): if you see a new row called multi-device, it means you can finally join the beta program!

However, there are some caveats that should be noted. Not all features are currently working as they should, including live locations, pinned chats, and more.

  • Pinned chats: they aren't immediately synced, so you need to manually search for them the first time in order to show them up.
  • Live locations: they might not be visible on linked devices.
  • If you join the beta program on WhatsApp Business, your business name and labels cannot be modified from WhatsApp Web and WhatsApp Desktop.
  • You cannot chat and call people having an old WhatsApp version on their phone, from WhatsApp Web/Desktop. Just tell them to update WhatsApp from the Google Play Store or App Store.

While WhatsApp has long allowed people to use its service via the web and desktop apps, an iPhone running the WhatsApp app was required to be turned on and have an internet connection for everything to work. With proper multi-device support enabled, that requirement is no longer in place.

There's no telling when multi-device support will be made available to everyone beyond the current beta, but we can only hope it isn't too much longer for us to wait! WhatsApp is already one of the best iPhone apps around for people who want to communicate with people who don't use iPhones. Proper multi-device support will just drive that point home.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.