A new feature is under testing that will allow WhatsApp users to message without using their mobile phones. This change is the very first of its kind for WhatsApp messenger.
Currently, WhatsApp is linked to your mobile phones, and to connect its desktop and web apps that device should have an active internet connection to receive messages. The new feature will let users send and receive messages even if the mobile phone’s battery is dead. Excluding mobile phones, four other devices like PCs and tablets can be used together.
To begin with, the new feature will be rolled out for small groups of users which will be a part of testing that new feature. This testing will enable the overhaul of the feature before rolling it out in the market for every user. As end-to-end encryption is the main feature of WhatsApp and the main reason why people opt for using this app will continue to work even if this new feature rolls out.
Many other apps including WhatsApp’s all-time rival app, Signal, also have such a feature that requires a mobile phone to sign-up but not to receive and send messages. There were around two billion WhatsApp users who requested WhatsApp for such a feature.
In a blog post where they announced the feature, the Facebook engineers said that they needed a rethink of WhatsApp software design. The current version of the app uses a smartphone app as the primary device, which makes the mobile phone the source of truth for all user data and the only device capable of end-to-end encrypting messages for another user. Excluding smartphone app, WhatsApp Web and other non-smartphone apps are a mirror image of what happens on the mobile phone. This version has its own drawbacks as well, as the web app is known to frequently disconnect.
This also means if one wants to operate WhatsApp on some other device it will disconnect a WhatsApp Web window. The company said, “The new WhatsApp multi-device architecture removes all these hurdles which no longer requires a smartphone to connect while keeping the data encrypted, secured, and private.”