After years of customer demand, Facebook-owned encrypted chat app WhatsApp is finally adding true multi-device support.
Where previously all of a user’s WhatsApp traffic would have to be routed through their smartphone regardless of the device they were using, the new limited public beta sees the app allow use on up to four simultaneous non-phone devices even without a phone in the mix.
This means users can continue to access WhatsApp even if their phone battery is dead, and will no longer have to contend with slow service due to all data being routed through the phone.
According to Facebook, this involved rethinking the app’s architecture while preserving privacy and end-to-end encryption.
“Each companion device will connect to your WhatsApp independently while maintaining the same level of privacy and security through end-to-end encryption that people who use WhatsApp have come to expect.
“Importantly, we have developed new technologies to maintain end-to-end encryption while still managing to sync your data — such as contact names, chat archives, starred messages, and more — across devices,” the company said in a blog post.
The new multi-device capability is being trialled with a small initial group of existing beta testers, and will see a slow broader rollout.