WhatsApp Messenger is an incredibly popular app for the iPhone, connecting over one billion active members around the world every day. It lets you send messages to your friends, or to groups of friends, over Wi-Fi or 4G, thereby saving on your phone bill (although you may still end up paying for the data if you go over your limit!).

The sad thing is that the app is only available for iPhone - there isn't one for the iPad or the iPod Touch.

But don't despair: in this tutorial, we show you how to use WhatsApp Messenger on the iPad (or iPod Touch) using WhatsApp Web on your iPad. WhatsApp Web connects to the WhatsApp account on your iPhone and forwards the messages on to your iPad, allowing you to send and receive WhatsApp messages, pictures and videos.

Beyond this, developers have taken it upon themselves to use the WhatsApp Web functionality and wrap it into a range of apps with varying features, including notifications. While the results are hit-and-miss, we also mention one of our favourite alternatives if the web-based option isn’t for you. 

Read next: How to dry out a wet iPad

How to use WhatsApp on an iPad

If you’re looking to access WhatsApp on your iPad via WhatsApp Web, there are two ways to do so – either via Safari, or a third-party app on the App Store.

WhatsApp Web

Here’s how to access the service via Safari:

Step 1) Open Safari on your iPad and head to web.whatsapp.com. Upon loading the page, you’ll notice that it doesn’t take you to the WhatsApp Web interface and instead takes you to the WhatsApp home page.

Step 2) Tap on the URL and swipe down to access the ‘top drawer’ of the favourites menu that appears when typing a web address. You should see an option that says, “Load desktop site” – tap it.

Step 3) The page should reload and display the familiar WhatsApp Web interface displaying the QR code to pair with your iPhone. Using your iPhone, head to Settings > WhatsApp Web and scan the QR code to pair the two devices together.

Step 4) Success! The page should reload and display all your recent messages along with any media or voice notes sent to you.

It’s worth noting that there are a few limitations when using this workaround. The first limitation is that you can’t send voice notes, as the browser isn’t officially supported by WhatsApp (although you should still be able to play them).

The second limitation is that unlike when the service is used on a Mac or PC, notifications from web browsers aren’t supported on iOS and so you won’t receive notifications of incoming messages. Apart from that and a few small bugs, the service is pretty easy to use and is a great alternative for most WhatsApp users.

Messenger+ for WhatsApp

Admittedly, using WhatsApp Web via Safari on an iPad isn’t a great experience because it wasn’t designed with the iPad (or Safari for that matter!) in mind. Developers realised there was a gap in the market for a great WhatsApp Web app for the iPad, and we’ve been seeing apps appear in the iPad App Store ever since.

Many of these apps simply load WhatsApp Web via a built-in web browser, and it doesn’t provide a great experience – swiping is laggy, and push notifications (if offered) tend not to work properly.

There is one that stands out from the rest, to us at least; medical student Ryan Peggs has developed “Messenger+ for WhatsApp”, a WhatsApp Web app that has been optimised for touchscreen devices.

According to Peggs, Messenger+ for WhatsApp wraps WhatsApp Web in a native app, providing smooth scrolling, keyboard responsive user interfaces (ideal for those of us with keyboard cases) as well as real-time notifications.

He claims that other developers use a method that flies in the face of Apple’s guidelines, playing a ‘silent song’ in the background whenever the app is closed to keep it alive, which will of course be the cause of unwelcomed battery drain while also stopping users from being able to use apps that require sound.

Messenger+ for WhatsApp uses background continuation and background app refresh to pull messages from the WhatsApp servers, as any good app should.

WhatsApp Web

WhatsApp Web

WhatsApp Web is a free and easy way to access WhatsApp on your iPad.