What do you mean you aren’t using WhatsApp? This is one of the fastest growing social networks you should join. Look, if you haven’t got it because you’re a Mac user and think it doesn’t work with Macs or iPhones, you’re mistaken. Let’s get WhatsApp working on OS X, shall we?
Now, WhatsApp is primarily a phone-based instant messaging service. It’s great for Android, it’s great for iPhone. Yes, you can use it without a phone and I’ll show you how, but the bottom line is that it’s best to use it on your phone. The messages you get on your phone can then be relayed to your Mac. Cool?
With that in mind, go get the app for your phone first and set it up:
The Simplest Choice: WhatsApp Web
Once you have WhatsApp set up on your phone, WhatsApp Web is the official and easiest way to get WhatsApp on Mac. Setup is super simple too.
- Go to web.whatsapp.com on Chrome, Firefox, Opera, or Safari browsers.
- On your phone, tap WhatsApp > Menu (three dot icon) > WhatsApp Web > “+” icon
- Point your phone’s camera to the QR Code you see on your screen.
WhatsApp will detect the code and sync your phone’s client with your computer’s. And just like that, your entire WhatsApp chat history, contacts, and other data will be mirrored to your browser.
WhatsApp Web cannot do everything the phone client can, but includes several useful features like using your keyboard to type, desktop alerts, sharing photos or audio, and more.
Since it first released, WhatsApp Web has changed or added several items, like support for iPhones, browsers other than Chrome, changing profile pictures, and more.
ChitChat, a Dedicated WhatsApp Web Client
Chrome has a nasty habit of hogging RAM, so if you don’t want an open tab doing that with WhatsApp Web, then consider downloading ChitChat. This is a standalone Mac app that is basically a web page wrapper for WhatsApp Web.
Once you download and install ChitChat, it works exactly like how WhatsApp Web does in any browser, so the setup is the same as the steps above. The difference? You can ditch Chrome and still use this. It even supports notifications for new messages! The app can also be set to sign in automatically when you start.
ChitChat has a few bugs that show up from time to time. In the screenshot above, you can see how the first contact has the close/minimize buttons overlaying it—that’s not how it always looks, it’s a bug that goes away when you resize the window. These are small bugs and nothing that is a deal-breaker.
Direct Download: ChitChat v1.3 (zip)
Use PushBullet for Notifications and Quick Replies
We’ve previously mentioned how Pushbullet connects your Android and computer, and an update earlier this year made it even better. Now, you can reply to incoming WhatsApp messages on your phone through a notification on your screen.
Not everyone will want WhatsApp Web and this is a less intrusive solution to use WhatsApp from your computer once in a while without reaching for your phone. Here’s what you need:
- Download and install Pushbullet for OS X.
- Download and install Pushbullet for Android.
- Sign in with the same account on both devices and follow the in-app instructions to connect them.
- On Android, go to Pushbullet > Menu > Mirroring > Show my notifications on my PC and enable it.
- On Mac, go to Pushbullet > Preferences > Settings > Enable Pushbullet Notifications and check the box.
- This will enable notifications for all chat and text apps. If you want only WhatsApp and nothing else, then on your Android, go to Pushbullet > Menu > Mirroring > Only for some apps and select only WhatsApp in the list.
Now, the next time you get a message on WhatsApp, it will show up like this notification on your Mac, which you can quickly reply to or dismiss:
Note: This method does not work with WhatsApp and Pushbullet on iPhones, it only works with Android smartphones.
The No-Phone WhatsApp Setup: BlueStacks
In case you don’t want WhatsApp installed on your phone but still want to use it occasionally from your Mac, there’s still a way. All you need is an app called BlueStacks.
Simply put, BlueStacks lets you run Android apps on Mac OS X. It’s an emulator. But to set up WhatsApp, you will still need access to a phone—but not necessarily a smartphone. You just need any mobile phone where you can receive a good old phone call.
Chris has detailed the step-by-step guide to run WhatsApp on computers, but here’s a quick run-through:
- Download and install BlueStacks on Mac OS X.
- Run BlueStacks and sign in with your Google account.
- Search for WhatsApp in BlueStack and install it.
- Go through the setup process till you reach the point where WhatsApp asks for your number. Give the number of the phone where you can receive a regular phone call.
- WhatsApp will try to verify the number with an SMS but be unsuccessful. This takes about four minutes, so you’ll have to wait. Once it is unsuccessful, WhatsApp will prompt to call you with a verification code. Accept this toll-free call.
- Answer the call when your phone rings, and you will hear a verification code. Key it into the Verification Code Box in WhatsApp on BlueStacks.
- Follow the steps to finish installation and you’re ready to use WhatsApp on your Mac.
With this method, you cannot use WhatsApp on your phone and Mac at the same time. WhatsApp will only be active on your computer, not your smartphone. If you use the same number to install WhatsApp elsewhere, whether on your phone or another computer, it will no longer work on this setup.
Personally, I don’t recommend this method as WhatsApp is best on a phone, what with its myriad tips and tricks to make WhatsApp better.
Do You Use WhatsApp on a Computer?
Have you tried WhatsApp Web or any of the other options mentioned above? Do you find WhatsApp useful on a computer? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!