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How to Connect and Use WhatsApp Web [Mac & Windows]

Nowadays, it’s hard to find someone who isn’t connected to the online world. Everyone has their app of choice when it comes to social networking and communication. One app that has taken the world by storm is WhatsApp. But while WhatsApp has largely been used by people on their mobile devices, the communication service is actually also available on a web browser, so you don’t need to have your mobile device with you to access the app. But how exactly do you use WhatsApp Web? Let’s find out below.

 

How Does WhatsApp Work?

How WhatsApp Work
© Photo by MQ-Illustrations on Adobe Stock Photo

WhatsApp is a messaging app that allows users to chat, text, and share various media with each other. The app itself also has a feature that lets you send voice messages and video clips. You can connect with individual users on WhatsApp or form group chats.

Unlike normal text messaging or calls, WhatsApp doesn’t require a phone plan. Instead, it uses the internet to send and receive messages. So, if you want to use WhatsApp, you either need a data connection or a Wi-Fi signal. WhatsApp is a great messaging alternative if you’ve used up your allotted text messages for the month. As such, it has become a popular choice for communication among the young and old alike.

 

WhatsApp Web

In today’s fast-paced and uber-connected world, virtually everyone has a smartphone. This has spurred a prevalence in mobile apps. In fact, there’s a mobile app for almost everything you need, whether it’s movies and music or banking and finance. There are even apps for things you don’t need, like apps that produce a single specific sound effect.

However, there are times when you need to use WhatsApp but then don’t have your mobile device with you. If your phone is charging or altogether out of battery, what you need to do is use WhatsApp Web.

Simply put, WhatsApp Web is the web version of the popular communication service. It has most of the same features as the mobile version of WhatsApp but with added accessibility on your desktop or laptop.

Don’t confuse WhatsApp Web for WhatsApp Desktop, though. The former is a web-based version of WhatsApp, while the latter is a desktop or laptop client. WhatsApp Desktop is an application that works similarly to the regular WhatsApp on mobile.

 

WhatsApp Web vs Mobile: Similarities And Differences

WhatsApp Web vs Mobile Similarities And Differences
© Photo by WhatsApp

If you already have WhatsApp on your mobile device, you may wonder whether it’s even worth using the web version of the service. Are all the features the same or are there any differences?

 

Messaging

Both the web and mobile app versions of WhatsApp allow you to send messages to anyone on your contacts list. This eliminates the need for you to use SMS to your friends and family. WhatsApp messaging is very convenient and more affordable, too. All you need is an internet connection and you’re good to go.

 

Share Media

If you want to share photos and videos to your contacts, you can easily do so using WhatsApp Web and mobile. Select from the contents of your gallery or simply take a new photo or video using your camera. Additionally, WhatsApp also lets you send documents to your contacts. This includes word documents, PDFs, spreadsheets, slideshows, and more. There’s a limit of 100 MB per share, though, so you’ll need to switch to a different medium if you want to send a file larger than that.

 

Groups

Sending the same message to a large group of people can be troublesome, but that’s not the case with WhatsApp. You can form group chats on both WhatsApp Web and mobile. You can include the people you want, such as your family or friends, and exchange messages with all of them. You can even send photos, videos, and other files via the group chat. There’s a limit of 256 people per group, though, but that’s a pretty high limit that not a lot of people reach. You can customize your group settings, too, such as the group name, notification settings, and even put it on mute.

 

Voice Messages

If you can’t be bothered to manually type what you want to say, you always have the option of sending a voice message to your contacts. This feature is available on both WhatsApp Web and mobile. For the web version, you will need a microphone and grant the application access to your microphone as well.

 

Voice Calls

The big difference between WhatsApp Web and mobile is voice calling. With WhatsApp mobile, you can call your contacts or group of contacts easily with just an internet connection. However, this capability doesn’t exist on the WhatsApp Web. Currently, WhatsApp has yet to make an update that allows you to call people using the web version of their service. If you want to call someone using WhatsApp, you’re best left with the mobile app.

 

Video Calls

Another major difference between WhatsApp Web and mobile is video calling. If you want to video call with your contact/s on your mobile app, all you need to do is tap on the video icon above the chat. However, with WhatsApp Web, that function isn’t possible. There’s no way for you to video call with another person using WhatsApp Web without the help of a third-party application.

 

The Advantage of WhatsApp Web

It’s clear that the web version of WhatsApp doesn’t have all the features users have grown to love on the mobile version. So, why exactly is it even necessary to use WhatsApp Web? Well, the biggest advantage of WhatsApp Web is access to a much larger screen as well as the availability of a keyboard that allows for faster typing. 

Although smartphones are getting bigger and bigger nowadays, they’re still nothing compared to the size of a desktop or laptop screen. Plus, typing on a small keypad can sometimes be frustrating. You commit errors and send messages with typos — some even changing the context of the message itself. With WhatsApp Web, you have more control over what you type because of the accuracy the keyboard offers.

 

How To Connect WhatsApp Web

Keep in mind that WhatsApp Web requires the mobile app, so you need to first download WhatsApp from the Google Play Store (for Android) or App Store (for iOS) if you don’t have it yet. You’ll need to enter the phone number associated with the mobile device you’re using. After that, WhatsApp will send you a verification code to enter on the mobile app. You’ll have to enter your name and upload an optional profile photo before you can start using the mobile app.

 

 

Connecting to WhatsApp Web is easy if you already have the app on your mobile device. To do so, follow the steps outlined below:

  • Launch the WhatsApp mobile app on your device.
  • On your desktop or laptop computer, open your browser of choice and go to https://web.whatsapp.com/.
  • On your mobile device, tap the three dots or gear icon located on the upper or bottom right side of the app.
  • Select the WhatsApp Web.
  • Point your mobile device’s camera on the QR code displayed on the WhatsApp Web site. 
  • WhatsApp Web will automatically load your account.

 

Remember that WhatsApp Web is not a separate account from WhatsApp mobile. WhatsApp Web is simply mirroring your account on your mobile device to give you access to the same contacts, group chats, and message histories as your mobile app on your PC or laptop. That means whatever you send through the mobile app will immediately reflect on the web version and vice versa.

 

How To Connect To WhatsApp Desktop App

Not to be confused with WhatsApp Web, the WhatsApp Desktop App is a separate client that you can download on your computer. The WhatsApp web download or client is available on two operating systems: WhatsApp for PC and WhatsApp for Mac.

To download the desktop app on Mac or Windows PC, you need to head to the WhatsApp download page. Take note that you need a Windows 8 operating system or higher for Windows computers and a Mac OS X 10.10 or higher for Mac computers. Similar to WhatsApp Web, you also need the app installed on your mobile device.

After downloading the application on your computer, perform the following steps to connect and sync the app with your WhatsApp account on mobile:

WhatsApp Desktop App
© Photo by The Verge
  • Launch the WhatsApp mobile app on your device.
  • On your desktop or laptop computer, open your browser of choice and go to https://web.whatsapp.com/.
  • On your mobile device, tap the three dots or gear icon located on the upper or bottom right side of the app.
  • Select WhatsApp Desktop (maybe under WhatsApp Web instead).
  • Point your mobile device’s camera on the QR code displayed on the WhatsApp desktop app.
  • The WhatsApp Desktop App will automatically load your account.

 

Just like WhatsApp Web, you can now access and use your WhatsApp account from your computer with the dedicated desktop app. 

 

How To Use WhatsApp Web

Because WhatsApp Web works in largely the same way as the mobile version — except with the elimination of voice and video calls — it’s not that hard to figure out how to use the web version. Here are some instructions on how to use WhatsApp Web, which is also how you can use the desktop app.

 

Messaging

Whatsapp Web messaging
Photo screenshot

Here’s how you can send messages using WhatsApp Web:

  • On the left side panel, click on New Chat (the message icon).
    • Alternatively, you can select from your existing chats or search for a contact using the search bar.
  • Select the contact you wish to send a message to.
  • Type in your message on the available space and press enter to send.

 

Share Media

Here’s how you can share media using WhatsApp Web:

whatsapp share media
© Photo by Airmore
  • On the chatbox or group chat you wish to share media with, click on Attach (the paperclip icon) on the upper right corner.
  • From there, you can choose to send the type of media or file: Photos & Videos, Camera, Document, Contact, or Room.
  • You will need to select from your computer’s files or take a new photo/video using your computer’s camera.

 

Groups

Here’s how you can create a new group using WhatsApp Web:

Whatsapp web group
© Photo by Quora
  • On the left side panel, click on the three vertical buttons.
  • Select New Group.
  • From your contacts, find and select the people you want to invite to the group.
  • After creating the group, you can now send messages (including voice messages) and share media with them.

 

Voice Messages

Here’s how you can send voice messages using WhatsApp Web:

  • On the group or chat box of the contact you wish to send a voice message to, click on the microphone icon on the bottom-right corner.
  • A pop-up will ask you to grant permission to WhatsApp to access your computer’s microphone.
    • If you accidentally deny the permission or have previously denied it, a pop-up will instead give you instructions on how you can allow the app access to your microphone.
  • After allowing access, once you click the microphone, WhatsApp Web will immediately start recording.
  • Click the checkmark to send the voice message or the X mark to cancel.

 

Rooms

Messenger rooms allow you to video chat with anyone you like (even a group of people), and they don’t even need to have WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. As the name implies, though, you will need to log into your Facebook Messenger as the feature doesn’t work without it.

Whatsapp Web creating a group chat room
Photo screenshot

To create a messenger room, follow the steps below:

  • On the left side panel, click on the three vertical buttons.
  • Select Create a Room.
  • A pop-up message will ask for confirmation to continue in Messenger.
  • Click Continue in Messenger to proceed or cancel to stop.
  • A new tab will open and take you to the web version of Facebook Messenger.
  • Click Create a Room as [Name] to start.
  • Allow the service access to your microphone and camera.
  • Wait for others to join your room or copy the link and send it to those you want to join.
    • Note: Those you send the link to don’t need a Facebook or Messenger account or app to join the room.

 

Edit Profile

If you want to edit your profile on WhatsApp Web, follow the instructions below:

edit profile
© Photo by The Verge
  • Click on your profile photo on the upper left corner of the web page.
  • To edit your display name, click the Edit button (pencil icon) next to your name.
  • To edit your About section, click the Edit button (pencil icon) next to your current status.
  • For both edits, click the checkmark to save.
  • To add, change, or delete your profile photo, simply click on your photo.
    • View Photo will allow you to view your current profile picture.
    • Take Photo will use your computer’s camera to take a new profile picture.
    • Upload Photo will let you select from your computer’s files for a new profile picture.
    • Remove Photo will delete your current profile picture.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

When you use a new service, you naturally have questions you want to ask. Here are the answers to a few of the commonly asked questions about WhatsApp Web:

 

Is WhatsApp Free?

Yes, WhatsApp and its web counterpart are free to use. You can download the app on your mobile or computer as well as connect to WhatsApp Web completely free of charge. But even though the service is free, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any other charges that may apply.

Since WhatsApp relies on an internet connection to work, you will need Wi-Fi or data to use it. That means you will need to pay for data or a Wi-Fi network or use someone else’s. Still, because you can always connect to someone else’s network (such as a friend’s or a coffee shop’s), WhatsApp is largely free.

 

Can I Recover Deleted WhatsApp Messages?

There are times when you delete messages on WhatsApp either intentionally or accidentally. If you want to recover those deleted messages for whatever reason, there’s a way you can do that. WhatsApp has a backup system that saves copies of your chat history. Make sure this setting is enabled, though. Here’s how to do that:

whatsapp messages backup
© Photo screenshot
  • On the WhatsApp mobile app, click on the three vertical dots or the gear icon.
  • Select Settings.
  • Tap Chats.
  • Tap Chat Backup.
  • From there, you can back up your can choose to back up manually or set it automatically every day, week, or month. 

 

When you perform a backup, your chat history will back up to your Google Drive and your internal storage as well. You can also archive your messages by going to Chat > Chat History. From there, you can choose to do one of the following: Export Chat, Archive All Chats, Clear All Chats, or Delete All Chats. Be careful not to select the last option if you’re still unsure about your decision.

With a backup of your chats saved, all you need to do whenever you accidentally delete a message is to uninstall and reinstall the app. WhatsApp will ask you if you want to restore your chat history using your backup. Once restored, it will also reflect on WhatsApp Web.

 

How Long Does WhatsApp Web Stay Logged In?

WhatsApp Web will stay logged into your account if you selected that option when you first scanned the QR code upon setup. All you need to do is tick the “Keep me signed in” box when it appears. If this box isn’t ticked, then WhatsApp Web will automatically log you out after a few minutes of inactivity. But, provided your mobile device where the WhatsApp mobile app is installed remains connected to the internet, you’ll always be able to access your account on WhatsApp Web. Additionally, you must make sure you don’t log out. 

Don’t worry, though. If you logged out either accidentally or on purpose, you can always sign back in using the steps outlined above. Just scan the QR code, and you’re ready to use WhatsApp Web again.

 

A Good Use

WhatsApp Web is definitely a handy tool to have. It’s convenient and reflects your entire chat history as well as activity on the mobile app. If you’re always plugged into your computer rather than your smartphone, then WhatsApp Web is perfect for you. With the web version, you can always stay connected and even turn on desktop notifications so you’ll know whenever someone messages you on the service.

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