It seems that WhatsApp is finally embracing the multi-device support it launched earlier this year. The service’s new Windows app can sync and send messages even when your phone is offline, meaning that you no longer need to keep a smartphone on hand to use WhatsApp on a computer.
And unlike the old Electron-based WhatsApp software, this new app runs natively on Windows. So, not only does it look nice, but it should be faster and more reliable than the previous WhatsApp desktop software.
You can install the new app from the Windows Store. The app will guide you through the account-linking process, which requires a phone. But once everything’s set up, WhatsApp for Windows will function like a standalone app. It even offers full end-to-end encryption.
Note that you still can’t use WhatsApp without setting it up on a smartphone first. WhatsApp requires a phone number—this is standard for mobile messaging apps, including Signal and Telegram (which also have standalone desktop apps).
Again, WhatsApp’s new desktop software is available on the Windows Store. Meta says it’s currently developing a macOS-native version of this app, so Mac users shouldn’t feel like they’re missing out.