We are all on WhatsApp. Maybe not all but at least 1.3 billion of us as of Jul 2017. It’s a popular mobile app but did you know that you can access Whatsapp on your computer via a feature called WhatsApp Web. But the way you authenticate yourself is slightly different but very easy. No Email ID. No username. No password. You only need to scan a QR Code on your computer (know as Whatsapp Web QR Code) using WhatsApp on your smartphone. Here is a quick video on how this works:
In mid-2018, Google announced a similar feature for Android Messages. To see how to chat via Android Messages on PC, see: Android Messages on PC: See how to chat via your computer screen
For Whatsapp Web, lets go through some basics first:
A. WhatsApp Web QR Code
Firstly, a QR Code is a 2D barcode that can store information just like a barcode. You can think of it as an advanced form of a barcode. QR Codes are very popular in mobile payments and are used by WeChat, Paytm, BHIM App, Mobikwik, and many other mobile payment platforms. A QR Code can be scanned and decoded using an application on your smartphone.
Just like these payment apps, WhatsApp uses QR Codes to authenticate its subscribers and provide access to WhatsApp chats on your computer. You can read the next section to know more about QR Code authentication or skip directly to How to Access WhatsApp Chats on PC.
B. QR Code Authentication for WhatsApp Web
When you first created a WhatsApp account, you only registered your phone number and verified it with an OTP. You do not have a login or password. So how do you access Whatsapp on PC? How does WhatsApp verify that it’s you and shows you the right chats.
It does this by using the logged in WhatsApp app on your smartphone. Your phone is your password. You can use it to login to Whatsapp Web on your PC.
C. How to Access WhatsApp Chats on PC
3. Open WhatsApp on your smartphone. Note that WhatsApp is now only available in iPhones, Android-based smartphones, and Windows phones.
4. On Android phones, click the ‘More Options’ button on the top right corner and click on ‘WhatsApp Web’. In iPhones, go to the Settings tab and then click on WhatsApp Web/Desktop
5. From this screen click on the ‘+’ sign on the top right corner to open the scanner. In iPhones, the scanner will launch automatically.
6. Using this Scanner, scan the WhatsApp Web QR Code on your browser screen or desktop app to complete the authentication process.
Now you will be able to view your chats. Note that you will need to keep your phone on and connected to the internet for WhatsApp Web to work. The phone acts as a server and if you switch it off or disconnect mobile internet, you will not be able to view your chats on Whatsapp Web.
To log out, simply go to the WhatsApp Web section on your WhatsApp app and click on ‘Log out of all computers’. This will ensure that you are not logged into any PC.
How to Secure Yourself from Whatsapp Hacks
While using a QR Code has made it easy to access Whatsapp on PC, it is also made users vulnerable to hacks. Anyone who has access to your phone even for a few seconds, can view your chats on their PC or even mobile device.
A. WhatScan App Messenger for Android & iPhones
If your partner or parent or friends have the Whatscan App Messenger (Android, iPhone) on their smartphone, they are probably spying on your WhatsApp chats. The Whatscan app simply mirrors Whatsapp Web in a mobile app. Here is how it works:
- Say your partner downloads and opens the app, he’ll see a QR Code (Whatsapp Web QR Code)
- He’ll ask for your phone for a minute or two to ‘check’ something
- He’ll then quickly open your Whatsapp and go to the Whatsapp Web section, which launches a QR Code Scanner
- He’ll scan the QR Code on the Whatscan app on his device
- That’s it. All your chats will now be visible on this app (just like Whatsapp Web) as long as your phone is connected to the internet
To ensure that noone is spying on your chats, regularly visit the Whatsapp Web section on your phone and hit ‘Log out of all computers’. This will ensure that your WhatsApp is logged out and everyone will need to scan the QR Code again using your phone.
B. Whatsapp Web on PC
Just like the WhatScan app, anyone can also scan the Whatsapp Web QR Code on a computer screen if they have access to your phone for a few minutes. They don’t even need to download an app.
See the video below to secure yourself from Whatsapp hacks by friends and family members.
You are all set to use WhatsApp Web.
Still have questions? Ask in the comments section below.