WhatsApp is the messaging app of choice for many smartphone users considering a staggering one billion messages are sent on the platform every day, but when your battery is dead or you don’t have your phone to hand, you can suddenly find yourself isolated with no access to your messages.
By logging into WhatsApp on a computer, however, you can ensure you are always contactable, especially while you’re at work.
Although it is possible to install WhatsApp on a tablet, and arguably on a computer using the same process with Android virtualisation software, it’s not something we’d recommend.
The WhatsApp app can be active on only one device at a time, which means to have separate instances on your phone and tablet you must have two separate accounts. Leaving aside the fact your contacts won’t know on which account to reach you, there’s also the small problem that you need a unique phone number to set up each account.
WhatsApp Web is a far more attractive solution for most users, ensuring you can not only read and respond to messages on any device but send and receive photos and videos too. The best part is it’s completely free to use and requires only a quick setup, after which you stay logged in until you actively log out.
We’ll take you through the short process below.
How to access WhatsApp Web via browser on a PC or laptop
On your smartphone launch WhatsApp, tap the three dots icon and choose WhatsApp Web.
Tap the + icon in the top right corner to launch your smartphone camera.
On the device on which you want to access WhatsApp, head to web.whatsapp.com on your browser of choice. It’ll even work with Safari on the iPad if you want to access it from your tablet.
You should now see a QR code on your tablet or PC display; point the phone camera at this to link the two.
WhatsApp Web will automatically launch in the browser, and will remain active until you log out either on your computer or on your phone.
You can achieve this on your phone by returning to the WhatsApp Web menu and tapping ‘Log out from all devices’, or on your PC by tapping the three dots icon at the top of the conversation thread, then clicking ‘Log out’.
How to install the WhatsApp Web app
Rather than logging in through the browser, WhatsApp also offers a desktop client for PC or Mac, bringing extra functionality including full notification support for keen desktop chatters. If you’ll be using WhatsApp Web on a daily basis, it’s the easier option, and it can be downloaded from whatsapp.com/download right now.
Click the green Download button to download the installer file to your computer. Once downloaded, locate the file (usually in your Downloads folder) and double-click it to install.
On a Windows PC you should follow the steps in the installer, and on a Mac, simply drag the WhatsApp icon into your Applications folder to complete the install.
Launch the WhatsApp desktop app and you’ll be greeted by the near-identical WhatsApp Web interface. As with the browser version, you’ll be prompted to scan a QR code, so take your phone, open the settings menu and choose WhatsApp Web. Then point the phone’s camera at the QR code displayed onscreen.
As with the browser app, the desktop app will keep you logged into WhatsApp until you choose to log out.
That’s about it! You’ll then be able to chat with your WhatsApp buddies while you’re on your PC or laptop, complete with the ability to send and receive media and more.