WhatsApp’s new multi-device mode is live for Android tablets in beta
WhatsApp has come a long way from the days when the web interface only worked if your phone was also connected to the internet. Multi-device support has changed things for the better, allowing your PC to communicate with the messaging service’s servers and work as a connected device even if your primary phone is offline. WhatsApp is expanding this capability to other devices, starting with a new companion mode beta feature for Android tablets.
WhatsApp’s multi-device support allows you to connect one WhatsApp account on a phone with up to four desktop computers. However, it is not officially possible to duplicate the account on another smartphone or tablet. We first learned about WhatsApp’s plans to develop a cure in the form of multi-device 2.0 last year, and the first signs of the new Companion mode appeared in May. At the time, we could see instructions on how to use the feature and a half-baked screen to connect a device, but the feature wasn’t working.
WABetaInfo reports that the latest WhatsApp Beta versions on the Play Store (v22.214.171.124 and v126.96.36.199) are bringing Tablet Companion Mode to a handful of beta testers. This means testers can link their WhatsApp account from their Android phone or iPhone to an Android tablet. Setting up Companion mode is similar to using multiple devices on WhatsApp Desktop or Web — just tap the three-dot menu in the top-right corner of the WhatsApp app on your Android phone (or the gear icon on your iPhone) and select Connected Devices. Then point your phone’s camera at the QR code displayed on the instance of WhatsApp running on your Android tablet.
Once set up, chats will sync between your Android phone and tablet, even when the former doesn’t have an active internet connection. When we tested this ourselves, the WhatsApp beta first asked us to add a phone number to get started. It was only after restarting the app by swiping it from the recent apps view that we were able to get the QR code interface to show up. After linking our WhatsApp account to it, we were greeted by the familiar WhatsApp interface as you know it from your phone, spread wide across our tablet. While almost everything works as expected, it’s not the perfect experience and probably why it’s still in beta right now.
The report says that you can still only connect four companion devices to a WhatsApp account, but now at least one of them can be a tablet if you want. WABetaInfo warns that the new beta version may have several missing features, including communities and the ability to view live locations. WhatsApp may roll out support for them in due course.
The functionality of Companion Mode and its appearance may change during the beta testing phase, but we believe that a similar implementation of Companion Mode could eventually make its way to smartphones, allowing them to work as connected devices as well. Whenever this happens, you won’t need to rely on sketchy or clunky solutions to use one account on multiple gadgets like smartphones, tablets, and computers.
If you want to try this out for yourself, be sure to join the WhatsApp beta on the Play Store or, if it’s full, download the latest version from APK Mirror.
UPDATE: 2022/09/23 09:43 EST BY MANUEL VONAU
Updated with practical experience