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WhatsApp rolls out multi-device feature for limited users: Story in 5 points

WhatsApp rolls out multi-device feature for limited users: Story in 5 points

The Facebook-owned messaging app today announced that it would be providing early access to the multi-device feature to beta testers.

Story highlights
  • After years of speculations and leaks, WhatsApp has officially announced multi-device support.
  • WhatsApp will be providing early access to the multi-device feature to beta testers.
  • The multi-device capability will let users access the messaging app on their phones as well as four other devices.

After years of speculations and leaks, WhatsApp has officially announced multi-device support. The Facebook-owned messaging app today announced that it would be providing early access to the multi-device feature to beta testers. The multi-device capability will let users access the messaging app on their phones as well as four other devices. This primarily means, users can sync devices including a laptop, computer or tab but not another phone. The feature is at present limited to one phone per account. However, WhatsApp does plan to add more devices in the coming days.

WhatsApp has noted that the company took so much time to roll out the feature because it "had to rethink" its architecture. The Facebook-owned messaging app said that the architecture makes it easy to deliver a seamlessly synchronized experience between a phone and companion device without compromising on security. WhatsApp has introduced new technologies to maintain end-to-end encryption while keeping the user's data in-sync across devices.

WhatsApp has reportedly been working on the feature since 2019. However, WhatsApp CEO Will Cathcart and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had officially confirmed launching the feature during a chat with WhatsApp features tracker Wabetainfo. So let us have a look at some of the key details of the multi-device support

— WhatsApp always allowed users to log in to a single account from the web and phone simultaneously. Currently, you can log in to WhatsApp from the desktop if your phone is near you and has a working internet connection. Without a phone with an internet connection, you will not be able to access WhatsApp web. However, as per the latest developments, WhatsApp users will be able to use the desktop or web versions of the app even when their phone isn't active and connected to the internet. The dependency on your phone to use the messaging app on the computer will be eradicated.


— WhatsApp chats are end-to-end encrypted and this is something WhatsApp has carried to the multi-device support as well. The company said that new technologies that maintain end-to-end encryption while keeping the users data which includes messages, message history, contact names, starred messages across devices. "WhatsApp multi-device uses a client-fanout approach, where the WhatsApp client sending the message encrypts and transmits it N number of times to N number of different devices — those in the sender and receiver's device lists. Each message is individually encrypted using the established pairwise encryption session with each device. Messages are not stored on the server after they are delivered. For groups, we still use the same scalable Sender Key encryption scheme from the Signal Protocol," WhatsApp said in its blog.

— WhatsApp has said that every device linked to a WhatsApp account will have separate encryption keys. The company said that encryption keys of one device are compromised, the hacker will not be able to use it to decrypt the messages sent to other devices, even if the devices registered to the same user.

— To use the feature, you will need a primary device, which would be your phone and companion devices including your laptop or tablet. The QR code of your phone will be used by the companies devices to sign in to your account. You are not required to have a phone with an active internet connection to activate the other devices.

— WhatsApp is rolling out the beta version of the multi-device capability to a small group of users. The users who were already a part of the WhatsApp beta programme will be given access to the feature first. WhatsApp plans to make the opt-in access to users on a stable version that will be available in the Linked Devices option in the Settings menu. The company is yet to provide the exact timeline of the stable rollout.

Published on: Jul 15, 2021, 1:58 PM IST
Posted by: BT Siteadmin, Jul 15, 2021, 1:33 PM IST