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Why would anyone want to run WhatsApp in Windows or Linux? After all, WhatsApp is a mobile messaging application.

Well, there are several reasons. For example, a lost or misplaced phone may force you to find a temporary way to keep up-to-date with your contacts on WhatsApp or you may simply be the adventurous type that wants a simple way to do everything from your desktop or laptop. There is also the convenience of typing from a regular keyboard especially when having an extended back and forth conversation — though this may differ from individual to individual. Those with visual problems may also prefer the larger computer monitor over a smartphone screen.

On Windows, it is possible to run Whatsapp using an Android emulator like Bluestacks. Bluestacks isn’t available on Linux yet, however there are other ways to run WhatsApp and other Android apps in Linux.

Genymotion Android Emulator

The simplest method involves using Genymotion, an Android emulator. If you are new to these terms, an emulator is an application that allows you to run a different operating system within your native system. In this case, we want to run Android in Linux.

Genymotion is one of several Android emulators Try Before You Buy: 6 Emulators For Test-Driving Mobile Phones Try Before You Buy: 6 Emulators For Test-Driving Mobile Phones It’s been about one year since I purchased my first smartphone. I remember having such a difficult time deciding which phone I wanted. Back then, I had no idea that mobile phone emulators existed. And... Read More that you can install in Linux. When compared to other emulators, Genymotion offers several advantages, namely:

  1. It’s easy to setup and use which is handy for beginners and intermediate Linux users
  2. Downloadable pre-configured Android containers for a wide range of devices and Android versions
  3. You can decide on the amount of resources such as RAM and hard drive to be allocated to each virtual device
  4. It’s possible to use your Internet connection directly in the emulated device
  5. It comes with ADB support and OpenGL hardware acceleration allowing you to use the container in a full screen and thus enhance your experience.
  6. It supports drag and drop file transfer to the emulated SD card
  7. Support for several sensors such as light, gyroscope and accelerometer

Before, you install Genymotion, you have to first install Oracle’s VirtualBox. VirtualBox is virtualization software that creates the virtual environment necessary to emulate Android in Linux. To install VirtualBox, download it from Oracle.

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Next, create an account at the Genymotion website and install the application. The application comes as a .debi file so simply double click it to begin installation.

Once Genymotion is installed, launch the application and log in using the username and password you created earlier. Create a virtual container for the smartphone you want to emulate from the list of options available.

genymotion-virtual-device-creation-wizard

Click “Next” and follow the prompts. Additional files will be fetched from the server to complete the setup. Upon successful completion, your virtual device should be available and ready to play in Genymotion as shown in the example below.

genymotion-play-virtual-device

Click “Play” to start the “phone” and begin by configuring the correct time and date settings. Next, download and install WhatsApp.

There are two ways to do this; the first option involves downloading the APK file directly from WhatsApp.com. “APK” files are Android Application Packages, as in the file format used to distribute applications in Google’s Android operating system. Navigate to the downloads page and download the apk file.

Once the file downloads, click on it. This will bring up a screen notifying you that the application is from an unknown source and is blocked for security reasons. Click “Settings” and follow the prompts to enable installation from “Unknown Sources”. Click “OK” and the application should install successfully. The only drawback with this process is that you have to create all your contacts within WhatsApp.

The second option is more arduous and involves installing the Google Play Store in Genymotion. This allows you to set-up a Google account and sync your contacts in WhatsApp. To do so, download the Google Apps (Gapps) package for the Android version your virtual device is running. This information is displayed just after the name of your device. For example, “Motorola Moto X – 4.4.2” where “4.4.2” is the Android version. Save the zip file on your Ubuntu desktop.

gapps-download

Next, drag and drop the file into your virtual device without unzipping it. If you get a notification similar the one shown in the bottom right image, simply click “OK”. You will need to restart the virtual device before proceeding to the next step.

gapps-file-transfer

Next, open the Google Play App and set up a Google account in the usual way. Ignore any prompts about Google Play Services having stopped. Simply click “OK” if you get a warning.

googleplay-in-genymotion

Next, configure WhatsApp. To do so, you will need your WhatsApp phone number handy. SMS verification is not possible because the text message won’t be detectable in your virtual device. Wait for the voice verification option and click “call me”. You will receive a phone call on your mobile phone. Listen to the four digit verification Pin and type it into the space provided. That’s it, WhatsApp is configured in Linux. If you don’t have your phone with you (if, for example, it’s lost or misplaced), you will have to borrow a handset and insert your SIM (replacement/new SIM) for this verification process.

whatsapp-genymotion

 

Android Apps On Linux

There are other ways to use Android on a Linux computer though they are more time consuming and resource intensive. The Official Android SDK emulator is the tool of choice for developers but unless you have a tech background I wouldn’t recommend it. It has a much steeper learning curve. But, if you do decide to use it, it is the best emulator because it supports all functions including SD card support. To install the kit, get it from Google’s Official page which also contains detailed instructions. After installation, build your own phone and install WhatsApp.

Wine & Bluestacks

Another way to use WhatsApp is to install Wine, a Windows emulator Run Windows Applications on Linux (or Mac) with WINE Run Windows Applications on Linux (or Mac) with WINE Read More and then install Bluestacks BlueStacks Lets You Experience Android From The Computer BlueStacks Lets You Experience Android From The Computer Back in January, BlueStacks was introduced to MUO readers in an article that provides similar alternatives to the emulation software. Since then, the development of BlueStacks has progressed in a way that, in my opinion,... Read More in Wine. To do so, use this command in the terminal: sudo apt-get install wine. Next, download Bluestacks for Windows and run the installer using Wine.

Then, follow these instructions on how to run Whatsapp in Windows How To Run WhatsApp & Other Mobile Messaging Apps On Your PC How To Run WhatsApp & Other Mobile Messaging Apps On Your PC Most mobile messaging apps don't offer a desktop client or web interface and not even a Windows 8 app. We show you a workaround for running the Android versions on your Windows or Mac computer. Read More . However, a caveat, the Bluestacks-in-Wine installation is buggy and may require the installation of several dependencies before you can get it to work correctly; not the most optimal solution for a beginner or intermediate Linux user. It also hogs system resources and will be unbearably slow on machines running less than 2.5 GB of RAM.

How Do You Use WhatsApp in Linux?

As you can see, there are a few ways to go about using WhatsApp in Ubuntu. Do you know of any other way to run WhatsApp and other mobile messaging apps in Ubuntu? Please share your experience and insights in the comments section below.

  1. Chuma
    December 3, 2016 at 5:17 pm

    You did not try to install Bluestacks with Wine. I doesn't work. Not even on Crossover or PlayonLinux. It just doesn't install.

  2. bob
    August 9, 2016 at 12:06 am

    How can you download the file when the website checks os?

  3. Rahul
    August 2, 2016 at 6:55 pm

    How to opt for voice verification?

  4. Aboobacker
    April 8, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    There is a yowsup library with which you can use whatsapp form terminal of your linux. Also there is the whatsapp-purple. Google and you would get it easily.

  5. subway63
    April 20, 2015 at 6:51 pm

    At Genymotion you do not download the right file. You see further down the page an "i" and underneath Ubuntu 32 bit or Ubuntu 64 bit. This is the right file. But all further steps are quite complicated too - I havent finished yet. How do I registrate? Google Play does not open correctly to get an account. How do I get my telephone number inside?

  6. Abhishek
    April 13, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    I am new to Linux. I use Ubuntu 14.04 LTS 32 bit with Windows XP. I followed ur steps to get Oracle Virtual Box. I then went to download Gennymotion after creating an account. However I have not received a .deb file but a .bin file. I found how to install these files but there is a warning that it might be hard to uninstall. I am confused pls help. I have not yet installed.

  7. Zorro
    February 25, 2015 at 10:38 am

    An easy way out to do the same:
    Three steps.
    1. Install Google Chrome on ubuntu
    2. Open whatsapp web which shows a QR Code to be scanned.
    3. On your phone/handheld got the whatsapp menu -> Whatsapp Web and Scan.

    You are on Whatsapp Web.

    • jose
      April 8, 2015 at 10:42 am

      In fact it isn't the same, it's already needed whatsapp on a smartphone. In adition there's more data traffic on the smartphone, because Google Chrome downloads messages from it.
      Bluestrack and Genymotion are an Android smartphone emulator. They download and upload messages as the same way as a smartphone. However, I think, an emulator into other emulator is something weird, how is the case of Wine+Bluestrack on Ubuntu.

  8. Matt
    January 31, 2015 at 6:45 am

    Thanks for the tute, I now have WhatsApp running on Ubuntu. The only PIA is that is seems I can only have one verified instance running at a time, so as soon as I verified on Ubuntu, my phone one logged out. Any way around this?

  9. Whatsapp
    October 18, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    You can also try bluestacks, there is a guide on how to do that in this site:
    whatsappformypc.com/download-whatsapp-for-pc

  10. Ashwin
    October 2, 2014 at 3:18 am

    Interesting ! Does it work on Windows too?

    • Gabriel
      November 11, 2014 at 2:46 pm

      Yes. You need of bluestacks for run whatsapp for pc. You need of a computer with 1GB ram for run well. I searched for you and I find this tutorial. storychimes.com/apps-for-pc/download-whatsapp-for-pc-and-improve-your-texting-experience

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