It was already possible to use WhatsApp on the desktop by firing up the service’s web app in your browser. And in fact, this is pretty much the same thing, only in a standalone app.
Like the web app version, the WhatsApp desktop app mirrors what’s going on in the user’s smartphone app, to which it connects by using the phone to scan a QR code on the desktop version.
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That means it takes advantage of the same end-to-end encryption that was last month rolled out across all the mobile platforms on which WhatsApp operates.
The desktop version does come with some inherent advantages, such as the ability to drag and drop photos into messages, and of course the ability to type more easily.
It is available now for Windows users on versions 8 and up, and Mac OS users on 10.9 (“Mavericks”) and up. WhatsApp already has over a billion users, but maybe this will add a few more to the pile.