WhatsApp could be working on support for multiple phones and tablets

Smartphone showing WhatsApp
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Update: WhatsApp's latest big update is adding emoji reactions, better file-sharing and larger group chats. Here's what you need to know. 

WhatsApp could be on the cusp of official tablet and multi-device support, based on a new finding in the beta version of the app.

Over at WABetaInfo, the team has spotted a feature described as both "Link New Mobile Device" and "Register Device as Companion" that allows you to set up a code on a mobile device to scan with your registered WhatsApp phone and link the two together. 

FYI: WhatsApp gets an upgrade to make group calls less painful.

A screenshot of the WhatsApp Register Device as Companion beta feature

(Image credit: WABetaInfo)

While you can currently link other devices to your WhatsApp account via the WhatsApp browser or desktop apps, you can't set up secondary devices running the WhatsApp iOS or Android app itself, which this new feature suggests you'll soon be able to do. The only problem is no code appears, so there's no chance of trying to get this feature to work yet even if you do download the beta.

It's also worth noting that WABetaInfo found this on the Android version of the app, so it's not certain if or when we'll see this on iPhones. Of course, there's also the chance that with this being a beta, there’s no guarantee if or when we’ll see it go live at all

You can currently pair your WhatsApp account with a single linked device via WhatsApp Web/WhatsApp Desktop, or four linked devices if you’ve signed up to the multi-device beta. These links maintain WhatsApp's signature end-to-end encryption, plus if you want to, you can chat freely on your linked devices without accessing your main phone for up to two weeks.

However, this linked device mode lacks some features, like viewing live locations. More importantly there's still no tablet version of the app, something users have been asking for for years. Hopefully the finding of this feature points to WhatsApp delivering us tablet-optimized apps soon, so we don't have to rely on sketchy third-party apps or awkward browser shortcut workarounds. 

In the meantime, there are plenty of WhatsApp alternatives out there, including some with functional tablet apps. Good luck convincing your friends and families to switch though.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.