A few lucky WhatsApp beta testers got a surprise this week: the company appears to be testing a version of its iOS app that’s also optimized for the iPad. As first noted by WABetaInfoversion 18.104.22.168 of WhatsApp’s TestFlight app also includes the new iPad app.
From what we can see in screenshots, the iPad app works exactly as you’d expect. You connect to it by scanning a QR code in the same way you would link your account to any other device. You will 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 panel at a time, you see both. It almost makes you wonder why it’s taken so long, especially when WhatsApp head Will Cathcart said all the way back in January 2022, “we’d love to do it.”
For some reason, Meta has never liked building 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 about the only Meta app app with a half-decent iPad experience. But as WhatsApp takes on a more central role in Meta’s social ecosystem — and the company tries to convince businesses to use WhatsApp for listings and customer interactions — it makes sense to bring the app to the iPad.
For some reason, Meta has never liked building iPad apps
It’s hard to call one of the most popular apps in the world a secret weapon, but WhatsApp is certainly among the Meta 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 the things they care about. (It’s also desperate to make more inroads with US users.) The best way to do that is to be ubiquitous, so after many years of prodding and pleading from tablet users, WhatsApp could soon be available on your big(er) screen.