WhatsApp launched limited public beta test for its multi-device capability. The update enables WhatsApp users to use and sync up to four non-phone devices without having the registered phone switched or connected to the internet.
According to the latest official statement by the company, four devices apart from the smart phone can be simultaneously connected to WhatsApp. While putting forth the new feature, the company ensured that it will still maintain the same level of privacy and security.
WhatsApp – the most popular platform for instant messaging, launched limited public beta test for its multi-device capability. For the first time ever, the update enables WhatsApp users to use and sync up to four non-phone devices without having the registered phone switched or connected to the internet.
WhatsApp is currently used by billion users globally and provides support for multiple-device use, wherein a user can simultaneously access the app from a web browser or a desktop app on their computer. But as of now the multi-device support flow requires users to connect their phones to the internet.
According to WhatsApp, users will need to link the new devices by scanning a QR code from their phone. However, this process now requires “biometric authentication before linking”, which the users need to enable on compatible devices.
Users will be able to see multiple devices linked to their account with the time of their last used. Moreover, remote log out option is also available to users enabling them to log out whenever they wish to.
The official statement by the company notified that “WhatsApp multi-device uses a client-fanout approach, where the WhatsApp client sending the message encrypts and transmits it N number of times to N number of different devices — those in the sender and receiver’s device lists. 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. For groups, we still use the same scalable Sender Key encryption scheme from the Signal Protocol.
One of the spokespersons of the company added that – The new feature doesn’t change how WhatsApp uses cloud backups for users. “The mechanism we use to synchronize messages and other app data across a user’s devices is independent from our cloud backups.
On discussion about Twitter, Will Cathcart, Head of WhatsApp at Facebook said, “We developed new technologies that maintain end-to-end encryption while keeping your data in sync — message history, contact names, starred messages, and more — seamlessly across devices.” Will also revealed that the option to join the beta test will be available on the ‘Linked devices’ screen in the near future.
The company has still not finalized a specific date as to when it will roll out this feature to all users. Initially it will avail this feature to its existing beta users. Eventually, it will start adding it as an opt-in beta feature for a small number of users on stable versions of the app, as well.