What you need to know
- WhatsApp appears to be adding support for automatic syncing of chat histories across multiple smartphones.
- The feature was discovered in the app's most recent beta version.
- This corroborates earlier speculations that companion device support is coming to the app.
WhatsApp added multi-device support late last year to allow users to sign in to multiple devices at the same time, except for a secondary smartphone. Earlier rumors suggested that it could change soon, and yet another evidence implies that WhatsApp is taking things a step further.
Reliable WhatsApp sleuth WABetaInfo (opens in new tab) has spotted a new feature in the new WhatsApp beta on Android phones (version 18.104.22.168). It suggests that the platform is working on an automated method of syncing your chat history across multiple smartphones.
This appears to be tied to a previously discovered capability that allows you to link a secondary phone to your WhatsApp account. Dubbed companion mode, it is one of the app's highly requested features, though there's no official word on when it will launch.
Nonetheless, the presence of chat history syncing in the latest beta confirms that companion mode is certainly in the pipeline. As its name suggests, this feature will automatically move your previous chats when logging in on another smartphone. The screenshot below indicates that the process could take some time to complete, presumably depending on the volume of your chat history.
It is yet another glaring omission in WhatsApp, seeing as this capability has long been available on some of the best messaging apps, including Telegram. Surprisingly, Mark Zuckerberg announced last month that Android users would be able to transfer their chats, photos, videos, and voice messages from Android to iOS.
Regardless, it'll be a welcome addition to WhatsApp on Android, and will go beyond the app's current limitations once it becomes available. At present, you're only able to sign in to a smartphone and three other devices including PCs, tablets, and smart displays. However, the app prevents you from logging in via two smartphones at the same time.
That shortcoming will be addressed by the companion mode, and the chat history syncing feature will take things even further. For now, it's not live in the new WhatsApp beta builds.
Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.
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