Many people these days own multiple devices, at least a phone and a laptop. Many people also use multiple messaging services, not even counting the venerable SMS. Juggling these two pluralities is no easy task, especially in cases where a messaging service puts limits on how many devices you can use the same account on. WhatsApp is one such service but that might soon be changing with a new Linked Devices feature that was just added to the latest beta version on Android.
Many instant messaging services use phone numbers rather than a regular username for an account. As such, these services are usually tied to that single number and the phone where that number is used. While some of these let you associate that account to a desktop app, you usually can’t use the same account on another phone or sometimes even on a tablet.
That’s certainly the case with WhatsApp, where logging into another device with the same account requires you to log out of the previous device. According to WABetaInfo, however, the latest Android beta version 18.104.22.168 actually has support for linking multiple devices with a single account. That functionality has not yet been activated but it seems that it will be possible to link three other devices to the same account for a total of four.
It’s a small change that could bring a lot of convenience for heavy WhatsApp users. It will make device management easier and allow them to jump between devices seamlessly without missing a beat or a message. It also takes WhatsApp closer to matching parent Facebook’s Messenger service and could be a stepping stone in Facebook’s unified messaging plans.
The beta also brings a more refined Advanced Search mode, something that WhatsApp has been working on for a while. In addition to the usual search terms, users will be able to filter search results according to types, like photos, videos, or even GIFs. Definitely a handy tool when your chats have gone on for so long that important links and files have long been buried under chitchat.