WhatsApp Desktop App For Windows And Mac OS X Users Launched

Rahul Srinivas

Last year, in January 2015, WhatsApp launched WhatsApp Web, a browser-based client for chatting with your folks right from the comfort of your web browser. This was a source of great relief for WhatsApp junkies who, otherwise, would need to remain hooked to their mobile phones in order to reply to chats. WhatsApp Web solved that problem by giving them a seamless experience transitioning from the small screen to the bigger screen. Almost 16 months later, WhatsApp has gone one step further and announced a standalone desktop chat app for Windows and Mac users.

In a blog post announcing the new development, WhatsApp says that the new desktop app is compatible with computers running Windows 8+ and Mac OS 10.9+. I used the just-launched app and it is working fine on my Macbook Pro running OS X 10 El Capitan. You can download the app from the link given here. Depending on the system you are accessing the page from, it would give you an option to download the appropriate version of the desktop app.

So, is there any compelling reason you should leave whatever you are doing now and download this new WhatsApp desktop app right away? Well, if you happen to be a big fan of native apps and native desktop notifications, the new desktop app is worth a try. Another reason for giving in is the promise of better keyboard shortcuts. Many users also say there is a considerable difference in speed since the native apps is more seamlessly integrated into the operating system.

Now, for those of you who assumed the arrival of the desktop app would mean you would be able to use WhatsApp without having the phone nearby, continuously syncing messages, well, you got it all wrong. The native desktop app, like WhatsApp Web, is umbilically tied to your phone. WhatsApp confirms the same in its blog post when it says that the desktop app is "simply an extension of your phone." So, no, you cannot use the WhatsApp desktop app when your phone is offline. Also, there is still no option to simply drag and drop document files directly from a folder into a chat window for quick sharing. Document sharing is supported, but you are required to attach the files the old-fashioned way -- by clicking the file logo and selecting documents.

As expected with the launch of any new app, there are already several people complaining about the app not working with several Windows versions that are supported on paper. Even though the WhatsApp blog post says the app would work on systems running Windows 8 and above, several people using Windows 10 Pro are reporting issues. The app has also come under criticism for still being tied to the mobile phone, unlike competitor Telegram which has a full-fledged desktop app that works independent of your phone. In fact, the first question in the minds of most users was the same.

And this led to disappointments as well.

— Valentine (@_ideaguy) May 11, 2016

Also, please do let us know your experience with using it in the comments section below.

(AP Photo/Patrick Sison)