If you were born in the 1980s, or at least the early 1990s, there’s a good chance you remember the days of Windows Instant Messenger. You might recall some fun times then, meeting complete strangers and chatting about anything and everything. It usually began with three questions, condensed into three letters:
After finding the age, sex and location of your new friend, the cyber-relationship would begin, and you’d share just about every detail without care. At least until someone with more responsibility discovered what was happening and put a stop to it. Nowadays, in the so-called digital age, it’s all about mobile.
Instant messaging on desktop computers is an abstract thought for many digital natives born after the year 2000. But it’s not dead. In fact, it’s making a comeback in a big way. Apple users may have their iPhones and iPads, but many also have laptops and desktop computers.
Why shouldn’t they be able to send instant messages from those devices too?
For a long time, they couldn’t. But now, instant messaging is back on computers by popular demand. It’s not Windows anymore though. WhatsApp for Mac is what people are talking about now. In this article, we’ll learn all about it. But before diving into that, let’s learn a little more about the WhatsApp mobile app that spawned the revolution.
What is WhatsApp?
WhatsApp is by far the most popular smartphone app for instant messaging. When Facebook acquired the app for an eye-watering $19 billion in 2014, many questioned the move. Was it going to be one of the worst investments made by Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg? As a man who has gradually taken over the online world, soaring high on the global rich list, he can afford to make some costly mistakes.
That being said, $19 billion wasn’t exactly pocket-change, even for him. Since the takeover, WhatsApp has skyrocketed to massive success, effectively consigning SMS to the history books, and leaving competing models such as Viber trailing behind them. At the beginning of 2018, Zuckerberg announced that the app has over 1.5 billion users now, which is almost triple the numbers that were active before the takeover. Together, that massive userbase sends over 60 billion messages every day. It really is phenomenal growth. But could it be better? That was a question that many people were asking, even as the app went stratospheric. Luckily, Zuckerberg and his team were thinking the same.
This amazing mobile app was restricted for many years, allowing users to only use it on their mobile devices. For people who use their desktop computers and laptops a lot, either for work or other reasons, they longed for a desktop version of WhatsApp. Running the risk of losing many of their customers, WhatsApp realized that many people wanted more from the app. Eventually, their needs were heard.
Finally, the Official WhatsApp for Mac Desktop App
It took a long time, but, at last, it arrived. WhatsApp realized that not everyone is on mobile all the time. They ignored the opportunity for several years, but at last, we have access to the world’s greatest instant messaging app on our desktop computers and laptops.
There are two ways of getting the WhatsApp for Mac app:
- Firstly, you can download it from the official WhatsApp website.
- Secondly, you can visit the Mac App Store. However, this method could take a little longer to be approved.
How to Install the WhatsApp for Mac App
The installation process for WhatsApp for Mac is fairly straightforward. Let’s take a run through it now.
Follow these steps:
- So, the first step briefly mentioned above was downloading the app. You had two methods to choose from. The choice is yours.
- After the download is complete, navigate to the downloads folder on your Mac. Find the file.
- Next, drag the program file to the application folder on your Mac. When you do this, a QR code will appear.
- For this step, you’ll need to grab your phone. Open WhatsApp on your mobile device, and then tap the three little dots icon, located in the top-right corner of the screen. Then, select WhatsApp Web.
- This will open the QR scanner in the mobile app. You can use that to scan the code on the Mac desktop screen. Scan it now.
- After scanning, all your contacts and your conversations from the mobile app will sync with the desktop version of WhatsApp. You can check and see that all messages will be updated in real-time, on both the computer and on your mobile device.
In order to use WhatsApp, you’ll need to have a reliable Wi-Fi connection or else use the data on your phone. Without that, you won’t get the updates, or be able to send and receive any messages
When you are connected, messages sent or received on your mobile device will automatically update on the computer version of the app, and vice-versa.
Should a time come when you no longer wish to use the desktop app, or simply want to stop WhatsApp for Mac for sending and receiving any messages, just log out of the desktop app.
What is WhatsApp Web?
Being able to send and receive messages directly from a Mac computer is highly convenient, saving users the hassle of switching between devices for messaging. However, there is more than one way of doing that through WhatsApp. Prior to WhatsApp for Mac, there was another variant of the messaging app. The web client, WhatsApp Web allows users to access their message online, and to send or receive messages on a desktop computer or laptop.
It was released in January 2015, and it acts as a direct extension from your mobile device. Whereas you need to download WhatsApp for Mac on your desktop, you can use WhatsApp for web directly in your web browser. You can access WhatsApp Web from almost any device that is connected to the internet, as it has support for all major browsers, including Google Chrome, FireFox and Opera. It also works for Safari, albeit with some limited features. Although they share many features, there are some key benefits to using WhatsApp for Mac instead of the older web client version, WhatsApp Web.
- WhatsApp for Mac has desktop notifications
- You can use keyboard shortcuts with WhatsApp for Mac
- It is separate from your browser, which means there is no need to log-in again every time you close your browser window.
Third-party WhatsApp Web Mac Apps
keen to send and receive instant messages on their computers. One popular option is an app named ChitChat, which is published on GitHub. This has an attractive user interface, and regular updates, plus it’s totally free to use. This makes it a great alternative to WhatsApp for Mac.
If you’re interested, you can find it on the ChitChat GitHub page. Simply follow the basic instructions to download the ChitChat app. After that, it is a similar process to WhatsApp, where you need to use WhatsApp on your phone to scan a QR code on the computer, which will then sync the two apps.
As a third-party app, ChitChat wraps Safari, which means you won’t have access to all the features normally available in the full WhatsApp for Mac application.
For example, you can do this:
- Send messages
- Receive messages and push notifications
- View and download media items
However, you won’t be able to record any voice notes.
If you want the full features available on WhatsApp, it’s best to download and install WhatsApp for Mac instead of a third-party App.
WhatsApp in the Future
Smartphones are much more than a telephone. There is a seemingly endless stream of new apps being released, for both Android and iOS. While many test the boundaries of creative, artistic and technological genius, it is one of the simplest and most functional applications that is among the most universally popular. The ability to send and receive text and picture messages for free is something we take for granted.
We expect it on every device now. While the world may be going mobile, laptops and desktop computers are not extinct. Not yet. And now, the best instant messaging app in the world is available, and easy to install. Wherever you are, you can’t go wrong with WhatsApp for Mac.
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