Some lucky WhatsApp beta testers received a surprising gift this week: the company appears to be testing a version of its iOS app that’s also optimized for iPad. As first seen by WABetaInfoWhatsApp version 22.214.171.124 of the 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 connect 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 panel at a time, you see both. It almost makes you wonder why it took so long, especially when WhatsApp boss Will Cathcart said in January 2022 that “we’d love to do it.”
Meta, for some reason, has never liked creating iPad apps. There’s no iPad app for Instagram or Threads yet, and even the Facebook app is just a poorly zoomed version of the iPhone app. Messenger is the only Meta app with a half-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 to the iPad as well.
Meta, for some reason, has never liked creating iPad apps.
It is difficult to call one of the most popular applications on the planet a secret weapon, but WhatsApp is undoubtedly among the meta-products with the greatest potential. Meta seems to want to make it a more private social network, allowing people to connect with each other and with the things that interest them. (It also desperately wants to make more inroads with American users.) The best way to do this is to be ubiquitous, so after many years of cajoling and pleading with tablet users, WhatsApp could soon be available on your biggest screen.