The WhatsApp Desktop app for Windows has been updated, it is now a native UWP app. It replaces the old web-app version.
The messaging service, owned by Meta, released a beta version of the UWP app in November last year. You can read more about it here.
What’s new in WhatsApp Desktop
The app is faster, and you can tell it right from the get-go. That’s basically because it is not an Electron app anymore. The performance improvements are welcome, as are the notification badges. Speaking of which, notifications arrive instantly in the new app, and you don’t need the program running in the background either. The interface of WhatsApp Desktop has been revamped, it now resembles a native Windows 10 program. The app has a light theme and a dark theme that you can switch to from the Settings.
The old version of the messaging app would only work if your phone was online, it was a requirement to synchronize your chats between the devices. This limitation was also true for the WhatsApp Web version that is accessible via web browsers. The new WhatsApp Desktop app is a proper standalone program, it no longer requires your phone to be connected to the internet, in other words it supports multiple devices just like its rival, Telegram. Your chats are still end-to-end encrypted, which is a good thing.
Note: There is a device limit, you can use WhatsApp on up to 4 linked devices and a phone at the same time.
Download the WhatsApp Desktop app from the Microsoft Store. It requires Windows 10 14316.0 or higher. New users will need to scan a QR code using WhatsApp on your phone, to sign in on your PC. If you already have the Electron app installed on your computer, it will be upgraded to the UWP version. You can use it alongside the beta version, but you may want to disable notifications in one of the apps, otherwise you will be bombarded with double notifications for every message that you receive.
WhatsApp for macOS
WhatsApp states that a native app for macOS is in development. If you have a Mac, you can opt in to the Testflight program to participate in the beta. Unfortunately, the slots in the beta are full already, so you may have to wait for a while to try it.
I’ve been using the regular beta app for a few months on my MacBook, it’s based on Electron (web-based) and looks similar to the Windows version, except for some visual elements such as the colors and button styles. Its performance, however, is quite poor, it’s slow to open, and there is a delay while messages are synced between devices, and notifications don’t arrive immediately.
WABetaInfo says that the new WhatsApp macOS beta version is built on Catalyst technology, which means the app is actually a port of the iPad version. So, we can expect it to offer better performance while using fewer resources. The app has a refreshed design that introduces a new sidebar to quickly access Chats, Calls, Archived Chats, Starred Messages, etc.
Do you use WhatsApp on your computer?