Watch out Zoom, WhatsApp Desktop just got a big update

WhatsApp Desktop takes on Zoom with desktop video and voice calling – and it's totally free

(Image credit: Unsplash)

Audio and video calls have been available on the mobile version of WhatsApp for a very long time, but the platform has stopped short of including this functionality on the WhatsApp Desktop app. Now, users can take and make audio calls from friends, including video chat on WhatsApp Desktop for Windows PC and Mac. 

It means you can make voice and video calls from the comfort of your Apple M1 MacBook Pro 13-Inch (M1 2020), Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020), your Asus VivoBook S15, or anything that can run the desktop version of WhatsApp.

It follows various updates that WhatsApp has been rolling out to slow departing users after data-sharing concerns were raised to the platform. Even so, the firm remains resolute on deleting accounts if users don't agree to its new privacy policy, perhaps spurring the introduction of a nifty self-destruct feature for your photos, and other acts of appeasement from the embattled app. 

WhatsApp says that the new video and audio calling capabilities will initially roll-out for one-to-one calls from the desktop app; subsequently, it’ll expand the offering to group calls to cover larger chats with friends and family. This functionality can already be found on some entries on our 8 best WhatsApp alternatives, so the firm is partially playing catch-up.

The pandemic has shifted our lives to remote working; it’s helped by firms bringing innovative new tools to the party, such as Microsoft Teams taking on Zoom with its history search feature to help you rifle through old tabs, even talk of a diet version of the Microsoft Teams desktop app to bring better performance to users who may use a model from our best laptops under £500, and struggle to run beefier applications.

Much like Zoom, which is set to roll out closed captioning to its free members, the Facebook-owned messaging giant clearly thinks these remote changes are here to stay. Because of this, it hasn’t skimped on including the expected slew of handy features found on WhatsApp mobile: change the screen orientation to landscape or portrait; otherwise, you can opt to have the video on or off, and the microphone. You can do all of this in a standalone window to let you tinker with other tabs during a call.

According to WhatsApp’s note, the desktop app will secure the voice and video calls with end-to-end encryption, which is the case whether you call from one of T3’s best iPhone models, best Android phones, or, now, from your computer. 

News of the recent addition of biometric authentication for WhatsApp’s desktop client has prepped the platform’s security offering for a bigger uptake in video and voice users, compelling users to link the app to the desktop client through biometric authentication to shore up users' defenses to nefarious acts.

All in all, it means greater functionality and better communication with friends and family. The voice and video feature for WhatsApp Desktop has been glaringly absent for a while, so it's good to see it finally available. Be sure to check it out if you're not put off by the recent privacy hoo-ha. 

Source: TechCrunch 

Luke Wilson

Luke is a former news writer at T3 who covered all things tech at T3. Disc golf enthusiast, keen jogger, and fond of all things outdoors (when not indoors messing around with gadgets), Luke wrote about a wide-array of subjects for, including Android Auto, WhatsApp, Sky, Virgin Media, Amazon Kindle, Windows 11, Chromebooks, iPhones and much more, too.