WhatsApp is arguably the most popular messaging platform on the planet, with the Facebook-owned company boasting an eye-watering 64 billion messages processed by its servers on its most successful day (we'll give you a second to let that sink in).
But what if you want to use WhatsApp on your Mac to reply to the messages on your iPhone? Is there a way to do that? It turns out, there are handfuls of way to access WhatsApp on a Mac, and here is where we outline your best options.
It previously wasn't officially possible to send or receive WhatsApp messages from your desktop, be it on Mac or Windows, but on 10 May 2016, WhatsApp announced its new desktop app.
This article therefore explains how to access, send and receive messages via WhatsApp for iPhone (or Android!) via your Mac, including through third-party apps.
Read next: How to get WhatsApp on an iPad
A little thing called WhatsApp Web
Apple’s introduction of the Messages app back in OS X Mountain Lion brought much convenience for iOS users, giving them the ability to send and receive iMessages (and later, all text messages) via their Macs. It meant users could quickly reply to messages and carry on with what they were doing before, along with being able to type longer messages, quickly.
Back in January 2015, WhatsApp had its own variation for PC & Mac users, through WhatsApp Web, allowing users to log onto a website from virtually any device and be able to access their WhatsApp messages. It’s fully supported on Google Chrome, Opera and FireFox, but doesn’t offer official support for those using Safari – although it does work, just with a handful of features missing.
By heading to the WhatsApp Web website on Chrome, Opera or FireFox, you’re able to log in quickly using a QR code and access all conversations available on your smartphone. In addition to this, you can send and receive media, participate in group chats, send and receive voice notes and even receive notifications whenever a new message is received. If you access WhatsApp Web via Safari, you’ll have access to all the above features apart from push notification support, and voice note recording (you’re still able to listen to them).
It should also be noted that you'll need to have your phone connected to the internet to send and receive messages using WhatsApp Web.
The WhatsApp desktop app
On 10 May 2016, WhatsApp launched its very own desktop app. It can be downloaded for free through their website and is extremely simple to setup.
Once you've downloaded and dragged the program to your application folder on Mac, you'll be presented with a QR code. Get on your phone, open WhatsApp and hit the three little dots at the top right-hand corner and select WhatsApp Web.
You'll now have a QR scanner open within your mobile app and it will allow you to scan the code on your Mac screen.
Once you've scanned it, you'll have your WhatsApp contacts and conversations directly synchronised to your desktop!
Any messages sent or received are reflected on both your phone and the desktop app in real-time. Therefore, if you delete a conversation on your phone, it will delete it off your desktop app and vice versa.
Just like the Web app, you'll need to have your phone's data or Wi-Fi enabled, so ensure you've got a mobile data plan to cater for your demands or that you're on a Wi-Fi network. If your phone is not connected you won't receive messages and your sent messages will be put on-hold. Read next: How to use WhatsApp hands-free with Siri
If you ever want to stop your desktop app sending and receiving your messages, simply log out of the desktop app.
Read next: How to set up WhatsApp Web on your iPhone.
There are also third-party WhatsApp Web Mac apps
There are also other third-party Mac apps, which allow you to send and receive your messages. We’ve found a great third-party WhatsApp Web client for Mac users that offers push notifications, a neat UI and regular updates, completely free of charge. The app is called ChitChat but it’s not on the Mac App Store, as the developer publishes the app (and its updates) via GitHub.
Simply head over to the ChitChat GitHub page and follow the instructions to download the app. Once downloaded, open the app and you should be greeted with the QR code login menu – simply open WhatsApp on your smartphone, head to the Settings menu and select “WhatsApp Web”. You’ll then be able to use your smartphone camera to scan the QR code on your Mac, and sync the two apps together.
Once complete, you’ll be free to send and receive messages via ChitChat, with the latest notifications appearing in your Mac notification centre. We've got a more detailed tutorial on how to set up WhatsApp Web on an iPhone here.
As mentioned above, the app is a third-party app that wraps Safari (and the WhatsApp Web site) into an app wrapper, and as such, not all features are supported. While you’ll be able to send and receive messages, view, download and send media, and even receive notifications, you’re currently not able to record voice notes.
We’ll keep a look out for a Mac app that supports voice note recording, and we’ll update this article with more options as and when we come across them.
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