(Pocket-lint) - WhatsApp's long-rumoured multi-device support may finally be getting near launch. A recent beta update has shown some of the features that could be available in the official release at some point in the future.
Following on from an update in 2020 - which suggested we could see up to 4 devices supported - the latest beta information shows cross platform syncing between iOS and Android devices.
The Android beta update, reported on by WABetaInfo, reveals that the company has found a way to sync chats and features between the two platforms.
When syncing with an iPhone a notification appears on the Android phone stating that WhatsApp is 'Syncing with WhatsApp on another device'.
Certain features don't sync across, however. For instance, if you delete a chat on one device it won't be deleted on the other. But if you delete a specific message 'for everyone' in a chat, it will be deleted on any linked device.
WhatsApp has reportedly been working on the feature for quite some time, but it's taking a while because of how much new work needs to be done to allow it.
Previous updates to the beta including the option opt in to "multi-device beta" which would allow devices to work even without a connection to the users phone.
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The linked device functionality will seemingly allow users to control all the connected devices in much the same way you can at the moment when using WhatsApp on web and desktop, except without the need for your main phone to always have an internet connection in the background.
Previous beta changes also seemed to suggest there may be support for macOS machines as well. These updates are clearly a work in progress and there's no guarantee they'll become a reality or when it would happen, but it's still interesting to see WhatsApp trying to roll out such user-friendly changes.
All this is also interesting because traditionally WhatsApp has always required a phone number in order to be linked to your device. If you move to a new phone you'd be fine if you kept the same number, but otherwise, you'd have to start from scratch.
Then you have the hassle of letting all of your contacts know what's happened. Similarly, if you're juggling two phones already - a work and personal phone for example - then you also can't run WhatsApp comfortably and easily.
With any luck, that's not only set to change but you'll also have the power to manage and control the extra devices too.
This is all just in beta form at the moment of course. You can try it out by signing up for the beta program on Android or iOS via Testflight or wait for the full public release. The good news is it seems that WhatsApp is going to be a lot more user-fiendly in future.
This news was first published on 21 September 2020, but was updated on 12 May 2021 to reflect newer developments.