WhatsApp launches desktop app for Window and Mac computers

SINGAPORE — It already has more than 1 billion users, but WhatsApp announced yet another initiative on Tuesday (May 10) that will probably see it extend its reach: You can now use the popular messaging service on Windows and Mac computers.

“Today we’re introducing a desktop app so you have a new way to stay in touch any time and anywhere – whether on your phone or computer at home or work,” the company announced on its blog. “Our desktop app is simply an extension of your phone: The app mirrors conversations and messages from your mobile device.”

The new desktop app is available for Windows 8+ and Mac OS 10.9+ and can be synced with the messaging app on your mobile device.

“Just like WhatsApp Web, the new desktop app lets you message with friends and family while your phone stays in your pocket,” the company said.

This also includes sending images, video and audio files. The one thing it cannot do — yet — is let you make voice calls.

To download the app, visit https://www.whatsapp.com/download from your desktop browser. Then, open the app and scan the QR code using the WhatsApp app on your phone. Your messages will then be synced.

One benefit of using a dedicated desktop messaging app of course, is the fact that you don’t have to fumble for your phone if you’re working on your computer. “Because the app runs natively on your desktop, you’ll have support for native desktop notifications, better keyboard shortcuts, and more,” WhatsApp added on its blog.

This move means that WhatsApp, which was acquired by Facebook for US$19 billion (S$25.9 billion) in 2014, is now present on every major operating system or OS, and could possibly pose a threat to competitors such as Apple’s iMessage, Facebook’s Messenger, Google Hangouts and Microsoft’s Skype.

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