In response to years of feverish demand, WhatsApp is finally rolling out on the iPad. In its early years the popular messaging app was available only on iPhone and Android, and although a web version later enabled users to access their messages on a Mac or PC, the developers steadfastly refused to release a iPad version of the app. Until now.
Earlier this week WABetaInfo reported on the beta release of WhatsApp version 188.8.131.52 through TestFlight. This version is the first to be compatible with the iPad, using the pre-existing companion mode to extend an iOS account across to a second device.
There are a few complications and limitations to bear in mind. First, this is still in beta, and you’ll need to be part of the limited WhatsApp iOS TestFlight beta program to try it out. Being a beta, it’s entirely possible the new version will have faults of which the developers are not yet aware.
And second, it’s still not possible to install WhatsApp on your iPad without having access to an iPhone. The way it works is that you install the beta versions on both your iPhone and your iPad, then open the settings on the iPhone and choose the option to ‘Link a device.’ From this point on, the iPad runs WhatsApp independently–you can turn off the iPhone, have it disconnected from the internet, and the iPad will still get all the messages–but there’s no escaping the need to have the iPhone in the first place.
These caveats aside, this is huge news for WhatsApp’s many Apple-based users, who over the years have visited our How to get WhatsApp on iPad tutorial in huge numbers. Assuming the beta process is a success, hopes are high that this feature will soon be available to all iPad owners.