While most people message others through their mobile phones, they don't do that all the time.
WhatsApp is the Meta-owned messaging app, considered the most popular in the world with more than 2 billion users. Knowing that its users can use multiple devices to chat, the messaging service starts rolling out a feature to support that.
Previously, users had to make sure that their main smartphone was still connected to the internet before they could carry a conversation on their linked web browser.
This time, users can run WhatsApp on four linked devices, without the need for a smartphone connection.
This should be a welcome move, since people can use a phones, and a laptop, and a desktop computer, and a tablet for communication purposes.
To do this, users have to first enable the multi-device support from the WhatsApp app's settings.
Once enabled, they can start using multiple devices with the same WhatsApp account.
And once users have linked all of their devices, the messages can be sent and received using the WhatsApp app on mobile, the WhatsApp for desktop, and the WhatsApp for the web.
And most importantly, once the devices are linked, users don't need to use their phones anymore.
With the feature, WhatsApp that have been linked can stay running without having the phone they have been linked to, active all the time.
In other words, users can turn off their phones, and still use WhatsApp on their other linked devices.
Previously, WhatsApp for the web needed to connect to the primary smartphone, before communicating to WhatsApp servers. This time, linked devices can communicate with WhatsApp servers independently.
WhatsApp only need users consent to link, and use that permission to use users' phone number as a token to link itself to users' other devices.
Initially, WhatsApp introduces this feature in beta to all of its Android and iOS users.
On the privacy and security side, WhatsApp retains the end-to-end encryption across all of users linked devices.
And to make things even safer, linked devices will automatically lose connection, if users phone that has the WhatsApp app is not connected for more than 14 days.
Besides making WhatsApp available in more places, the feature can come in handy in situations like, when users lost their smartphone and needed to stay in touch, or when their phones run out of battery, but are near to a linked computer.
“With this new capability, you can now use WhatsApp on your phone and up to four other non-phone devices simultaneously — even if your phone battery is dead. Each companion device will connect to your WhatsApp independently while maintaining the same level of privacy and security through end-to-end encryption,” the company said.
While this makes WhatsApp even more ubiquitous that it already is, it should be noted that the feature has some limitations.
For example, users cannot message or call users who use an older version of WhatsApp on their phone from the connected devices, and that users can only have one primary phone connected to their WhatsApp account at a time.
Then, there is the limitation on iOS, which prevents WhatsApp to delete messages or conversation threads from a linked device.