WhatsApp Messenger is an incredibly popular app for the iPhone. It lets you send messages to your friends, or to groups of friends, over Wi-Fi or 3G, thereby saving on your phone bill (although you may still end up paying for the data if you go over your limit!). It’s a service that’s used to communicate worldwide, and WhatsApp has over 900 million active users as of September 2015.
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 install WhatsApp Messenger on the iPad (or iPod touch) or alternatively, use WhatsApp Web on your iPad. Installing WhatsApp on your iPad is a bit more fiddly than a standard installation, but it's still fairly straightforward - and you don't need to jailbreak your iPad or spend any money. You do need an iPhone at one point, though, to register the app.
It's been one of our most popular articles and seems to have made a lot of readers very happy, but a few months back we hit a wall with this tutorial: after the launch of iOS 8, the methods below seemed to simply stop working.
We've added a section devoted to iOS 8, which contains one possible workaround for the problem, but it's far from ideal: it requires you to access a version of the WhatsApp install file that both predates the launch of iOS 8 and is linked to your own personal account: no easy matter. And other than that, we (and the rest of the tech press) have been unable to really crack this issue. Give our methods a try, but prepare yourself for potential disappointment.
There are three sections to this article:
- How to use WhatsApp Web on your iPad
- How to install WhatsApp on your iPad (iOS 8 workaround)
- How to install WhatsApp on your iPad
How to install WhatsApp on an iPad: Can I use WhatsApp Web on an iPad browser?
Excitingly, WhatsApp has launched a browser-based client for its messaging service. This allows users to access the messaging service from a web browser on their Mac or PC. Users can send and receive not only messages but voice notes, media and contact details easily. The best part is that the web client supports notifications so you’ll never miss a message, and once its viewed on a browser the notification is cleared from your iPhone.
There are a few limitations to the service – WhatsApp Web supports Chrome, Opera and Firefox. It’ll still work in Safari and Windows Edge, but the company notes that not all features (namely being able to record voice notes) will be available. With regards to tablets however, there isn’t any ‘official’ support, which we can’t quite understand. Sure, iPads and other tablets don’t have their own phone numbers and therefore can’t register an account, but with the introduction of WhatsApp Web for browsers, why aren’t there tablet equivalents for those that use iPads instead of PCs?
Anyway, we digress. We’ve made an amazing breakthrough, thanks to a tip off from commenter Karen, that allows us to access WhatsApp Web from an iPad using Safari. Here’s how to do it:
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.
How to install WhatsApp on an iPad running iOS 8: One possible (but far from ideal) workaround
The methods we describe below have helped a lot of people out since we first wrote this tutorial, but it seemed to stop working when iOS 8 launched. We're still investigating how to get round this, but a clever chap on another website thinks the issue is with the specific version of WhatsApp - post-iOS 8 versions, such as 2.11.11 (actually posted the day before iOS 8 was released to the public) won't work with the iPad, but if you can get hold of version 2.11.8, that should work ok, even on systems running iOS 8.
One way you can conceivably get hold of this older version of the app is if your system has discarded it when updating: Gee Are recommends searching your Mac's Trash folder for WhatsApp 2.11.8.ipa. (This is likely to work only if you previously downloaded WhatsApp before iOS 8 was released.) You can then install that version, rather than the most recent one - currently 2.11.12 - from the iTunes Store.
We'll continue to look into this, but let us know how you get on with Gee Are's workaround.
How to install WhatsApp on an iPad: Download WhatsApp on your Mac (or PC)
We need the install file of the app, but we won't be allowed to install it directly on the iPad (at least, not if it's unjailbroken - is that a word?).
Instead, we'll do things the old-fashioned way, and install it on our Mac (although this would also work on a PC). Go to iTunes, then to the iTunes Store, and type WhatsApp into the search field. You'll see WhatsApp Messenger in the iPhone apps list, but not under iPad. Don't worry. Click to download the iPhone version (where it says Free), and enter your password. It shouldn't take long to download.
How to install WhatsApp on an iPad: Get the .ipa file
We're going to go off the beaten path a bit now, because we need the installation file itself, which uses the .ipa file format.
Open Finder, and go to your music folder - where this is located will depend on which OS you're using. You may be able to simply click Go in the top menu bar, then Home. In my case I go to the folder whose name is a variant on my own - priced - and music is a folder off that.
Then click iTunes, and either iTunes Media followed by Mobile Applications or just Mobile Applications (depending on your OS). You'll see all the .ipa files that you've downloaded. Scroll down to the WhatsApp file and drag it on to your desktop.
How to install WhatsApp on an iPad: Download and start up iFunbox
Connect your iPad (or iPod touch) to your Mac (or PC).
We need a program other than iTunes to manage the files on our iPad. The one we’re using in this tutorial - iFunbox - is available from www.i-funbox.com and is free.
Download the latest version of iFunbox for your platform of choice, and start it up.
Click Install App, navigate to your desktop and click on the WhatsApp .ipa file. It will quickly install, and hey presto, you've got the WhatsApp icon on your iPad screen. But we're not there quite yet - if you click on the icon you'll see that it doesn't work. We'll fix that in the next few steps.
How to install WhatsApp on an iPad: Install WhatsApp on your iPhone
For this bit you need an iPhone. Install WhatsApp on this iPhone in the normal way (it needs to be a fresh install - you may need to delete it and reinstall if you had WhatsApp already), start it up, and then register a phone number - the one you wish to use with WhatsApp on your iPad. You'll have to confirm this using a code sent to the number you give.
Now unplug the iPad, plug the iPhone into the Mac and go back to iFunbox. Click in User Applications under the entry for the iPhone, double-click on the icon for WhatsApp, and then copy the Library and Documents folders in there on to your desktop. This will contain the registration data.
How to install WhatsApp on an iPad: Load the registration data on to the iPad
We're nearly there. Unplug the iPhone, plug the iPad back in, and in iFunbox, click on User Applications under the iPad's entry, and then WhatsApp - as before. We will now replace the Library and Documents folders in here with the ones on the desktop, thereby copying the iPhone's registration data on to the iPad.
How to install WhatsApp on an iPad: Finished!
That's pretty much it. A few people have found glitches at this point but you should be ok if you've followed the steps carefully. You may need to close WhatsApp on your iPad and start it up again to stop it saying that the device isn't supported.