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How to set up and use WhatsApp on your computer

WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging apps in the world and you can use it directly from your computer. Here’s how:

whatsapp logo on blurred background
Image: KnowTechie

WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging platforms. The Meta-owned chat app is used by billions of monthly active users.

Apart from the WhatsApp mobile app, you can also use WhatsApp on your computer in two ways; either with a browser (WhatsApp Web) or without a browser (WhatsApp Desktop).

In this article, we’ll show you how to set up WhatsApp Web and WhatsApp Desktop, plus how to use them on your computer.

What you need to use WhatsApp on your computer

whatsapp app on windows
Image: KnowTechie

To use WhatsApp on your computer, you’ll need:

  • An active WhatsApp account
  • Windows 8.1 or later
  • macOS 10.11 or later
  • An active internet connection for both your phone and computer, preferably WiFi
  • Webcam and microphone output for voice and video calls on WhatsApp Desktop

You can download WhatsApp Desktop from the Microsoft Store, Apple’s App Store, or the WhatsApp website.

WhatsApp is also developing a new, native WhatsApp Desktop app for Windows and macOS. The Windows version is ready, but requires Windows 10 or later to run.

The Mac version is still in the works, and the beta program is currently full. This means that it may soon roll out to the public.

WhatsApp Web does not support video calls. However, you can make free voice and video calls to your contacts on WhatsApp Desktop if you use Windows 10 or later or macOS 10.13 or later.

At this time, group calls are not supported for WhatsApp Desktop. But we wouldn’t be surprised if that changed in the future.

How to set up and use WhatsApp on your computer

First, go to WhatsApp Web, or download WhatsApp Desktop, then install and open itwhatsapp link screen
Now, open the WhatsApp app on your phoneiPhone with arrow pointing at Whatsapp
On Android, tap Menu (the three dots button). On iPhone, tap Settings. Then tap Linked DevicesiPhone with WhatsApp app open showing to red arrows to click settings and linked devices
Point your phone at your computer and scan the QR code. Give it a moment to load your chats and you’re inscanning QR code from phone to PC on WhatsApp
Click on the notifications prompt that appears in the top-left corner to set up desktop notifications for new messages. Otherwise, start using WhatsApp on your computerlink computer to whatsapp screen

How to use WhatsApp on your computer

Once you’ve set up WhatsApp on your computer, you can start using it for messaging your contacts. Here’s how:

  • To continue a conversation, simply click on it in the left-side panel and start chatting.
WhatsApp start chatting on  with red arrow pointing to chat
Image: KnowTechie
  • You can use the search box just below your profile picture to search or start a new chat.
WhatsApp search box red arrow pointing at it
Image: KnowTechie
  • To change your profile picture, display name, or about info, simply click on your profile picture.
WhatsApp change profile picture red arrow pointing at it
Image: KnowTechie
  • To view Status updates, simply click on the Status icon.
WhatsApp status icon with arrow pointing at it
Image: KnowTechie
  • To start a new chat, click on New chat (the message icon).
WhatsApp new chat with red arrow pointing at it
Image: KnowTechie
  • To create a new group, view archived/starred messages, go to settings, or log out, click on the three dots (More actions) menu button.
WhatsApp new group three dots with arrow pointing at it
Image: KnowTechie
  • To use other in-chat features, simply open a chat and click on the three dots button. You can also mouse over a message and click on the dropdown button to reply, delete, etc.
WhatsApp-three dots in the chat with arrow pointing at it
Image: KnowTechie

Please note that changes made while using WhatsApp on any device or platform will be synchronized across all your linked devices.

Pros of using WhatsApp on a PC

whatsapp business screenshot
Image: KnowTechie

One of the first benefits of using WhatsApp on a computer is its ease of use. Signing into your account is as simple as scanning a QR code.

Also, you can open multiple WhatsApp accounts on your computer using WhatsApp Web, provided you open a new window for each account.

You can type faster and chat better using WhatsApp on a computer with an actual keyboard. This can also reduce the likelihood of carpal tunnel syndrome from the extended use of smartphones.

Multitasking is also easier when using WhatsApp on a computer. For instance, you can easily drag and drop files into a chat window.

What’s more, your messages are also end-to-end encrypted while using WhatsApp on a computer, just as they are on the mobile app.

Cons of using WhatsApp web apps

You cannot access WhatsApp on the web or desktop app if your mobile phone is dead. That is a big turnoff of the feature.

You’ll also lose all privacy if you’re using WhatsApp Web in a public space, as anyone can snoop in on your conversations on a big display.

And finally, it’s yet another app you’ll have to keep up with and update. It’s not a huge deal, but still worth mentioning.

Chat on WhatsApp wherever and however you like

whatsapp logo
Image: WhatsApp

Not only can you chat and call on the WhatsApp mobile app, but you can now do the same on a computer, whether on the web or through the PC app.

All your chats and settings will be synchronized, so whatever happens in one reflects in all. This way, you do not need to repeat actions across the board.

Have any thoughts on this? Carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Joy Okumoko is a freelance technology writer who loves all things tech. She spends her spare time crocheting and working on her crafts.

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