WhatsApp Web vs WhatsApp Desktop: 3 Little-known differences

There is a high chance you have used WhatsApp, be it mobile, WhatsApp Web, or WhatsApp desktop. This is because, by far, WhatsApp is the most popular cross-platform messaging app all over the globe. With more than 2 billion users registered in the world, interesting features, and support for free communication, it is irresistible to have an account with the app. Plus, it is not just with a smartphone that you can use it! A large number of users access the service through WhatsApp Web – the web-based client through which you can use the messaging app via a web browser.

For those that need refresher knowledge, this web client is simply an extension of the user’s phone. WhatsApp Web does mirror the conversations and messages that you receive from your mobile device.  

How does WhatsApp Web work?

Using the Web portal comes with unique security features. It requires authentication through a personal QR code. Users can find this QR code inside the WhatsApp app on their phone. Since the web interface is basically just mirroring the app, the handset must remain connected to the internet for the portal to function. If your smartphone loses the internet connection, WhatsApp Web will no longer work until the connection resumes.

To get the QR code, you’ll need to visit the WhatsApp web portal. The code will be generated automatically when the page finishes loading. Once it appears, the code needs to be scanned through the WhatsApp app on your phone for the connection to be established.

using whatsapp web qr code

To scan the QR code:

  • Launch WhatsApp on your phone and then tap on the three-dot menu in the top right-hand corner. 
  • Tap on WhatsApp Web from the dropdown list followed by Link A Device. 
  • Simply point your phone’s camera at the WhatsApp Web QR code to launch the web app.

All of your conversations will now be immediately available in the browser. Communications remain end-to-end encrypted even when using the web portal online. Interestingly, the person you are chatting with will never know if you’re using WhatsApp Web or the mobile app unless you let them know.

Read About: WhatsApp’s much-anticipated multi-device support

What’s the difference between WhatsApp Web and WhatsApp desktop?

It would not be a wrong guess for one to say there is minimal difference between the two, especially in the operation. Much of the other functionalities such as how to set up, how to communicate, and how to send files are similar. The key point to note is that WhatsApp web is accessed through a web browser whereas the WhatsApp desktop does work after installation on a desktop computer. The other notable difference is in making calls.

Recently, WhatsApp has finally added the ability to make voice and video calls from your desktop. You can easily be able to place calls from your WhatsApp Windows or Mac app to your contacts on the platform. The primary versions supported are Windows 10 64-bit version 1903 or later and macOS 10.13 or newer.

As much as it mirrors everything you have on the mobile app, WhatsApp Web doesn’t let you make voice and video calls to individual contacts. But you can ably make group video calls on the web version through the Messenger Rooms feature. Once you create a room, simply share the link with the people you want to invite to the group video chat. It also doesn’t require you or the participants to log into Facebook. However, you ought to note that Messenger Rooms aren’t end-to-end encrypted. So, that is how the desktop version has an edge.

So, if you’re already using WhatsApp on your smartphone – be it Android or iOS – but are yet to try the Web app or the desktop, scan the WhatsApp QR today and unlock a powerful way to interact with your preferred messaging service.

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