Facebook-owned WhatsApp is currently beta testing multidevice support for its messaging platform. Multidevice support enables users to use the service on up to four devices without having the phone used for their account switched on or connected to the internet.
WhatsApp is currently testing multidevice support that works without a phone
In a blog post, the company said it has developed new technologies to maintain end-to-end encryption while still managing to sync a user’s data like contact names, chat archives, starred messages, and more across multiple devices. In addition to this, each message is individually encrypted using the established pairwise encryption session with each device. Messages are not stored on the server after they are delivered.
As explained by the company in a blog post, the current multidevice support in WhatsApp requires the connected phone to be powered on and have access to the internet. This leads to companion devices getting disconnected frequently especially if the phone has an unstable connection to the internet, low battery, etc.
By requiring the phone to perform all operations, companion devices are slower and frequently get disconnected — especially when the phone has a poor connection, its battery is running low, or the application process gets killed by the phone’s OS. It also allows for only a single companion device to be operative at a time, meaning people can’t be on a call in Portal while checking their messages on their PC, for example.
The new WhatsApp multi-device architecture removes these hurdles, no longer requiring a smartphone to be the source of truth while still keeping user data seamlessly and securely synchronized and private.
The company has not revealed an exact date for when this multidevice capability will become available to all users. The feature is currently being beta tested with a small number so users and will probably start becoming available to more users in the next several months.