WhatsApp has reportedly been working on a new universal app for macOS and iPadOS since last year. Now it seems that this app is finally getting closer to an official launch as WhatsApp has just released a beta version of its new macOS app built on Catalyst technology.
Mac users can now access WhatsApp through a macOS app. However, this app is entirely based on WhatsApp Web and relies on the Electron framework. As a result, the current WhatsApp app for Mac is quite slow and uses more resources in terms of CPU and memory.
With Catalyst technology, which allows developers to bring iOS apps to macOS, WhatsApp now has a native version of its app for Mac users that is faster and runs smoothly on Intel and Apple Silicon Macs. As first noted by WABetaInfo, the new app looks quite different from WhatsApp Desktop, as it is based on WhatsApp for iPhone (and the upcoming iPad version).
9to5Mac was able to try out the new WhatsApp beta app for macOS. A new sidebar lets users access the same tabs available in the iOS app, which are: Chats, Calls, Archived, Starred, and Settings. Other than that, the app works just as you expect.
There are some features that are still not working properly like Status, group calls, location sharing, and audio messages. Of course, as this is a very early beta, these features are likely to be implemented in future updates. When it comes to sending and receiving regular messages and calls, everything works fine – and the app is definitely faster than the Electron version.
It’s worth noting that the new WhatsApp app for macOS is not a standalone WhatsApp client. Instead, it still requires you to link your iPhone or other smartphone with a WhatsApp account.
WhatsApp beta availability
Those who are interested in trying out the new WhatsApp beta for Mac can sign up on TestFlight. Keep in mind that slots are limited, so you may not be able to download the new WhatsApp beta app for macOS. There are no details on when the app will become officially available to users.
WhatsApp also has plans to release an iPad version (and now this is totally possible with the Catalyst version), but at this point the beta app for iPadOS is yet to be released.