WhatsApp, the world’s most popular instant messaging app, with 1 billion users, as per the April 2016 numbers by research firm Statista, surprisingly had a critical feature missing all along—desktop apps for Microsoft’s Windows and Apple’s Mac OS X operating systems (download from here). The desktop app will replicate the features that you get with Whatsapp on the phone—send text messages as well as share photos, videos and audio files with friends and family. It also gets live notifications, when a new message from a friend lands in the message list.

Till now, there were unofficial methods developed by third-party apps, such as Bluestacks, which tried to replicate the Whatsapp on your phone to the desktop. But they weren’t officially supported by the instant messenger, and it was always a risk giving access to your data to such unofficial apps.

WhatsApp for the desktop is available for PCs running Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 (bad luck if you are still sticking with Windows 7), and for the Apple Mac OS X 10.9 and later versions. It is important to note that it is still synced with the WhatsApp account on your smartphone, and does not allow separate sign-up, yet. Once you download the app to the desktop, you’ll need to scan the barcode using the Whatsapp app on your phone. For the desktop apps to work, your phone should have active Internet connection at all times.

The fact that WhatsApp is now available for Windows and Mac OS X, its cross-platform nature is pretty much complete—Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android, BlackBerry and Microsoft’s Windows phone, as well as the web browser version. And from the fact that there were no desktop apps so far, WhatsApp has suddenly got a massive advantage over its rivals. For example, Apple’s iMessage is available on iOS and Mac OS X devices. Microsoft’s Skype, Google’s Hangouts, Viber and Telegram are some rivals that were available across devices and operating systems, thus far.

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