One WhatsApp, Multiple Phones

Sonny Aragba-Akpore
Sonny Aragba-Akpore

In a recent announcement by Meta Platforms Inc., the parent company of WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram, the possibility of using a single WhatsApp number on multiple devices was hinted at.

While this feature was made available to users shortly after, it didn’t support multiple phones. However, WhatsApp has now rolled out a new feature that allows users to log into the same WhatsApp account on up to four phones simultaneously, a move that has been welcomed by its more than two billion users.

Previously, WhatsApp only allowed users to log into an account on a single phone with the same number. Any attempt to deploy the same account on another phone would automatically deactivate the previous one, making it impossible for multiple devices to use the same account. However, this new development will allow users to access their messages from any device, even if one device is switched off.

The company started testing multi-device compatibility back in 2021 with select Meta users. At that time, Meta said that it had developed new tech to sync messages across devices while maintaining end-to-end encryption protection. Other competitors like Telegram and Messenger offered multi-device sync for messages, but they lacked support for end-to-end encryption.

The CEO of Meta, Mark Zuckerberg announced the feature’s rollout on Facebook and Instagram. The new rollout will sync users’ messages across all devices, including other phones, making it easier for users to communicate with their friends and family. While this feature is rolling out to all users within the coming weeks, it is important to note that it may also portend some danger as smart alecs could take advantage of the multiple phone feature to clone someone else’s number for mischief.

Despite this, the introduction of the multi-phone support feature has been lauded by many, especially businesses that use WhatsApp to communicate with their customers or individuals who use multiple phones for any reason. WhatsApp is an internationally available freeware, cross-platform, centralised instant messaging and voice-over-internet protocol service owned by conglomerate, Meta. It allows users to send text and voice messages, make voice and video calls and share images, documents, user locations and other content seamlessly.

The Meta-owned messaging service announced that the feature will roll out to all users in the coming weeks and is available on both iOS and Android devices.

Setting up a secondary phone is easy; users need to tap a new “link to existing account” option instead of entering their phone number during setup. This generates a QR code that the primary WhatsApp phone can scan via the “link a device” option in settings. Once linked, the secondary phone can access and send messages from either phone and messages will sync across both regardless of their operating systems.

WhatsApp is positioning the feature as a useful tool for small businesses that want multiple employees to send and receive messages from the same business number via different phones. But it is useful for anyone who uses multiple smartphones and wants them all to be associated with the same WhatsApp account.

One of the features of the multi-device feature is that users can see chat histories before sending any new messages, as messages sync across phones regardless of their operating systems – whether iOS to Android or vice versa. Personal messages remain end-to-end encrypted and users can select a primary account and use WhatsApp on the Web, desktops, Android tablets and other devices as companions.

While some might have concerns about the feature’s security, it is a useful tool for WhatsApp business accounts, which need to respond rapidly to customer inquiries. WhatsApp says the update is available to all users globally and will be available to everyone in the “coming weeks”.

Having access to the same account across multiple phones can be helpful in many situations, especially given WhatsApp’s popularity across the world as a versatile tool for communication across many contexts and time zones. Businesses can share one account across multiple employee phones, or one user can remain available for personal-life needs or emergencies even while using their business-specific phone.

Previously, accessing the same WhatsApp account on multiple phones was possible via WhatsApp Web in a browser. However, the experience was not great and official support for the feature should be far more seamless and useful. The multi-device feature allows users to log in to their WhatsApp accounts on multiple devices simultaneously and up to a year of messages will sync between devices.

In conclusion, the multi-device feature is an excellent addition to WhatsApp, allowing users to access and send messages from multiple phones with a single WhatsApp account. Although there might be some security concerns about the feature, it is useful for WhatsApp Business accounts, which must respond rapidly to customer inquiries. Additionally, having access to the same account across multiple phones can be helpful in many situations, especially given WhatsApp’s popularity across the world as a versatile tool for communication across many contexts and time zones.

Sonny Aragba-Akpore
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