WhatsApp finally launches desktop version, but it’s missing iOS support

Jan Koum co- founder of WhatsApp

Jan Koum co- founder of WhatsApp

The Facebook Inc.-owned instant messaging app WhatsApp has finally launched a desktop version so you can chat with your friends instead of working, but the service is rolling out without iOS support.

Since its launch in 2009, WhatsApp has grown to be one of the most popular messaging apps on mobile devices, and at last count the service had around 700 million monthly active users. That is nearly double the user base of services like Instagram, Twitter or Facebook Messenger.

Fans of WhatsApp have been asking for a web version for years, and WhatsApp Web has finally launched. But the service is missing out on a critical audience: iOS users. In a blog post announcing the new web version, WhatsApp explains why it does not support iOS on the web yet.

“Unfortunately for now,” the blog post says, “we will not be able to provide [the] web client to our iOS users due to Apple platform limitations.”

A WhatsApp spokesperson explained the lack of iOS support in more detail. “Apple has no background multi-tasking and no proper push technology,” the spokesperson said. “So it is a bad user experience on iOS.” An iOS version is still in the works, but “the timeframe is unclear.”

While iOS users are left out in the dark, the new WhatsApp Web desktop version supports users on Android, Windows and even Blackberry.

At the same time it is releasing its desktop version, WhatsApp is also cracking down on third party apps that claim to offer more customization within the mobile version. The company sent a cease and desist order to WhatsApp+ citing security concerns over “source code which WhatsApp cannot guarantee as safe.” WhatsApp has even banned some of the people who were using WhatsApp+.

Using WhatsApp Web

Using WhatsApp Web is simple, and the service makes it easy to sync up the account you use on your mobile device with the desktop version.

  1. Open WhatsApp on your mobile device
  2. Navigate to the WhatsApp Web option in the app menu
  3. Visit http://web.whatsapp.com/ on your desktop
  4. Using the mobile app, scan the QR code that appears on the WhatsApp website

That’s it!

photo: Marc Müller