It’s more than a year since we first heard that an official WhatsApp iPad app was in the works – along with a Mac one also – but it has so far come to nothing. A new report today may explain this.

We explained last time the rather messy situation with Mac and iPad apps …

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.

It’s that necessity for relaying via the web or the phone which the company is apparently now addressing, according to a new report from WABetaInfo. There is a one-time sync process, and then all future messages will be sent to all your devices, just like Apple’s iMessage service.

WhatsApp is working on the possibility to use the same account on different devices. Actually they are testing the feature in order to work with 4 devices at the same time.

When the user wants to use WhatsApp on a second device, there is the need to copy the chat history. In this case WhatsApp always requires a Wi-Fi connection, because it may use a large amount of your data plan

When WhatsApp has safely copied the chat history to the second device, it will be finally possible to use your account from it. Note that any message will be delivered to all your family devices, so your chat history will be always synced across platforms.

WhatsApp has also developed an iPad app, that will be released after the activation of the feature, so you will be able to use WhatsApp on your iPhone and your iPad at the same time.

There is one remaining question mark, but one that won’t affect those all-in on the Apple ecosystem: whether you can perform the initial sync between iOS and Android devices, for those who use a mixture of the two. The two platforms currently have different database structures, which provides a barrier to syncing. However, WABetaInfo says the company is working on converting the iOS format to match the Android one, to enable cross-platform syncing.

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Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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