A leaker with a good track record suggests that an official WhatsApp for iPad app and a true standalone WhatsApp for Mac app are in the works.
It is currently possible to use WhatsApp for Mac, but it’s not ideal. The app can’t be used on its own, requiring a wireless connection to your phone. All messages, incoming and outgoing, are relayed through your iPhone …
The situation is even worse on the iPad. There’s no official WhatsApp app at all, requiring us to use third-party ones which perform the same relaying trick via a web-based API (I use Messaging for WhatsApp on iPad).
And the iPhone app can only relay to one device at a time, so you can’t use it on your iPad and Mac at the same time.
But WABetainfo says that WhatsApp is working on turning the messaging service into a true multi-platform one, like Apple’s own Messages service. It would then be possible to use WhatsApp on multiple devices simultaneously.
WhatsApp is developing a new system to allow to use the same WhatsApp account on more devices, at the same time!
Using the new multi platform system, it means you will be able to use:
- Your main WhatsApp account on iPad (when the app will be available) without uninstalling it from your iPhone.
- The same WhatsApp account on iOS and Android devices.
- WhatsApp on your computer (without the necessity for an Internet connection on your phone) using the UWP app (this is one of the reasons why started to develop it).
The site doesn’t have any specific information on a Mac app, stating only that there will be a “desktop” one, but since the company already has an official Mac app alongside a Windows one, this seems a safe bet.
WABetainfo says this project is the reason that an official WhatsApp for iPad app has been delayed: the company wanted to wait for its true multi-platform approach.
Handling end-to-end encryption on multiple devices is tricky, as the message is encrypted on the device itself. Apple has a solution for its Messages service, which is also end-to-end encrypted. Instead of a single public key used to identify you to other chat participants, Apple uses a cluster of these: one per device. WhatsApp will likely take the same approach.
There is a slightly increased security risk with this approach, in that a new device could join a chat if it had access to the public key. This is why Apple sends a message to all participants whenever a new device is added to a chat.
Britain’s security services recently proposed that Apple and other tech companies should be forced to abuse this multi-device mechanism to silently add law enforcement agencies to encrypted chats — a proposal Apple and others vigorously rejected.