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WhatsApp leader on iPad app release: ‘We would love to do that’

WhatsApp boss has a message for those who have shouted at a native iPad app: Do not give up hope.

"People have been wanting an iPad app for a long time." Will Cathcart, the head of WhatsApp at its parent company Meta, told The edge during an interview this week linked to a new US marketing push for the messaging app. "We would love to do that."

Like Instagram for the iPad, a version of WhatsApp for the Apple tablet has long eluded users despite being a highly sought-after feature. And while Cathcart would not go so far as to commit to releasing an iPad version, his comments suggest that it is possible that one will be built in the near future, especially now that WhatsApp has built the underlying technology, necessary for such a client to work.

"We've been working a lot with the technology to support multiple devices," Cathcart said, referring to the rollout of opt-in, multi-device support for WhatsApp last year. It has our web and our desktop apps now. If I have multiple devices turned on, I can turn off my phone or lose my network connection and still get messages on my desktop. It would be really important for a tablet app to be able to use the app "even if your phone is not turned on. So the underlying technology is there."

Due to the way WhatsApp encrypts messages, it has historically not been able to sync chats across devices over the Internet like most other messaging apps work. So if WhatsApp on your phone did not have internet access, the desktop client did not work. The multi-device beta beta lets you sync your WhatsApp account to up to four devices at a time, a process that involves mapping device identifiers to an account key on WhatsApp's servers in a way that is still encrypted. Now that such a sync technology exists, there is a good chance that one of WhatsApp for iPad is finally on the horizon.

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