- WhatsApp finally released a native iPad app after years of iPad users relying on the web version.
- WhatsApp for iPad is currently in beta through Apple’s TestFlight program with limited testers access.
- It uses a companion mode that requires linking to the iPhone app for full functionality.
- The companion integration syncs messages across iPhone and iPad while maintaining end-to-end encryption.
After years of iPad owners resorting to the web-based version, WhatsApp has finally launched a native iPad app. However, there’s a catch – WhatsApp for iPad enters beta through TestFlight and requires the iPhone version to enable full functionality.
For those not in the know, TestFlight is Apple’s official beta testing platform that enables developers to release early app versions to gather testing data and user feedback prior to an App Store launch. It’s a key part of the development process for iOS, macOS and other Apple platforms.
Use Companion Mode to Link iPad and iPhone
To access the WhatsApp for iPad beta, users must first install the latest iPhone beta version. Under Linked Devices, you can scan a QR code to connect your iPad in companion mode.
This links the two apps so messages remain in sync across devices. You can chat on the iPad even while your phone is offline. End-to-end encryption still protects all conversations.
The companion integration means the iPad app acts as an extension of your primary phone app. Some features like status updates and live locations don’t fully work yet in the beta, but fixes are in development.
WhatsApp Closes Major Messaging Gap on iPad
By finally launching a native iPad app, WhatsApp closes a significant gap versus other messaging platforms. iPad users no longer have to strain with the web interface or unreliable third-party apps.
It finally provides Apple device owners a convenient alternative to iMessage for cross-platform chat. The iPad version mirrors iMessage’s flexibility and optimization for larger tablets.
Public Launch Date Still Unclear
The beta release is currently limited to TestFlight testers. WhatsApp has not revealed details yet on when the iPad app will launch publicly on the App Store.
For now, the beta provides a glimpse into the future for millions of iPad owners eager to ditch WhatsApp Web. The tablet-friendly version has been a long time coming.
Multi-Device Support Could Be Next
The companion mode syncing WhatsApp activity across iPhone and iPad hints at potential future rollouts of true multi-device support. The beta’s companion integration may pave the way for expanding to Mac, Android tablets, and multiple mobile devices tied to one account.
WhatsApp Lagged Years Behind on Tablet Optimization
Rival messaging services like Telegram, Line, and Signal have allowed iPad optimization for years now. WhatsApp conspicuously lagged despite its broad popularity worldwide. WhatsApp for iPad was long overdue, especially with over 2 billion WhatsApp users globally.
At last, the beta release remedies one of WhatsApp’s biggest oversights. iPad users can finally enjoy seamless messaging without awkward workarounds.
It represents a major quality of life upgrade for how over 600 million iPad owners use WhatsApp daily. While limitations exist in this initial beta, the native app’s potential is clear and exciting.