A few lucky WhatsApp beta testers got a surprising gift this week: the company appears to be testing a version of its iOS app that’s also optimized for the iPad. As first spotted by WABetaInfoversion 126.96.36.199 of WhatsApp’s TestFlight app also includes the new iPad app.
From what we can see in the screenshots, the iPad app works exactly as you would expect. You log in to it by scanning a QR code the same way you would link your account to any other device. You’ll see a list of your conversations on the left and your current chat on the right. It’s pretty much the iOS app, but instead of seeing one pane at a time, you see both. One almost wonders what took so long, especially when WhatsApp director Will Cathcart said as early as January 2022 that “we’d love to do it.”
Meta, for some reason, never liked making iPad apps. There’s still no iPad app for Instagram or Threads, and even the Facebook app is just a poorly zoomed-in version of the iPhone app. Messenger is pretty much the only Meta app with a halfway decent iPad experience. But as WhatsApp becomes more central to Meta’s social ecosystem — and as the company tries to convince businesses to use WhatsApp for listings and customer interactions — it makes sense to bring the app as well on iPad.
Meta, for some reason, never liked making iPad apps
It’s hard to call one of the most popular apps on the planet a secret weapon, but WhatsApp is certainly one of Meta’s products with the most potential. Meta seems to want to make it more of a private social network, allowing people to connect with each other and with what interests them. (It also desperately wants to make more inroads with American users.) The best way to do that is to be ubiquitous, so after many years of cajoling and pleading from tablet users, WhatsApp may soon be available on your big(er) screen.