WhatsApp has just released a new dedicated app for Windows, and it’s a big step forward compared to the previous version.
While the core functionality remains unchanged, WhatsApp Desktop no longer requires a permanent connection to your phone in order to work. After setup you can send, receive, and check for new messages even if your phone is offline.
This is the main advantage over WhatsApp Web, which has been available as a desktop app or via browser since 2015. As a native app, WhatsApp says the new version will also be faster and more reliable than before.
It can be installed on up to three devices as part of WhatsApp’s multi-device feature, although this still doesn’t include tablets running Android or iOS.
As well as being more independent, WhatsApp Desktop has also undergone a subtle redesign. The cleaner interface means it’s more in keeping with other Windows 11 apps and looks less like a magnified version of the mobile app. All the main features should still be in the same place though, so there’ll be no major learning curve.
The app is available to download now from the Microsoft Store on Windows 10 and Windows 11. WhatsApp says a native version is also on the way for macOS, but it’s not clear when that’ll be available.
WhatsApp Desktop arrives just in time to take advantage of the service’s new privacy features.
You’ll soon be able to hide your online status (just like you already can for ‘Last seen’), leave group chats without notifying everyone, and block screenshots of any ‘View Once’ messages. All three privay updates are expected to be available before the end of August.