WhatsApp finally lets iOS users use their PC to chat – seven months later
WhatsApp users on iPhone can now send messages to friends and family using the web version of the service – seven months after the feature was made available to Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone users.
iOS had previously been excluded from the rollout due to unspecified “Apple platform limitations”, but an update to the app this month appears to have enabled compatibility with the web client, as spotted by an eagle-eyed Reddit user.
WhatsApp Web Chat
Like other over-the-top messaging services, WhatsApp uses a smartphone’s data connection to communicate, bypassing any call, SMS or MMS charges, saving users money – especially when contacting people in other countries. Voice calls are a relatively new feature to the platform, introduced in March.
Web chat can be switched on via the ‘settings’ menu of the iOS app, where it will prompt you to scan a QR code on the desktop version of WhatsApp. Once this done, you can access messages and media and continue conversations from your phone to PC.
It is unclear why iOS is now supported and what technical issues WhatsApp had to overcome. TechWeekEurope has asked for more information but had not received a response at the time of publication.
WhatsApp has more than 800 million monthly active users and was purchased by Facebook for $19 billion (£12bn) in 2013. However the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has serious misgivings about its attitudes towards privacy, with the app earning just one star out of a possible five in a recent report.
WhatsApp earned just one star, given for publicly opposing back doors in its software. But the Facebook-owned messaging app also failed to earn stars on disclosing government-issued data requests, disclosing policies on data retention, and following industry-accepted best practices for security.