While sending messages from your phone can be quick and easy, having a lengthy conversation can get tedious with an onscreen keyboard. Luckily, most of the popular messaging apps out there offer some sort of desktop option, letting you easily take your conversation from phone to computer and back again.
To use WhatsApp on your computer, you’ll have to already have an account set up on your phone. Go to web.whatsapp.com on your computer and open up WhatsApp on your phone. To login to your WhatsApp account, you’re going to have to scan a QR code in your browser using the mobile app.
Go to Settings > WhatsApp Web/Desktop > Scan QR Code.
Once scanned, you can see your recent messages and contacts, and send and receive messages right there on your computer. You can also use the web version of the app to send yourself files to and from your phone.
All the computers you are logged into will be viewable in your WhatsApp app. You can see when you were last active on each machine, and can log out of all computers at once. You can’t, however, selectively log out from specific machines.
Like WhatsApp, you can use messaging app Telegram in your browser by going to the web app. You’ll be prompted to log in using your phone number. You should have Telegram already installed on your phone so you can receive the app notification with the login code you need to enter on your computer.
Once you’ve put in that code, you’ll have a similar interface to WhatsApp. You can see your list of conversations, view your contacts and settings, and create a new Telegram group.
If you’re a Mac and iPhone user, you can use Apple’s native messaging app both on your phone and your Mac computer. What’s great about the desktop version is that not only can you use it with other iPhone users, but you can also send text messages to non-iPhone users from your computer.
To do so, go to Settings > Messages on your iPhone, and make sure Text Message Forwarding is turned on for your computer.
You can pick up where you left off with existing conversations, start new conversations with contacts or groups, delete messages and threads, search your messages, send photos and files, and send the full list of Apple emoji. You can also compose a message using voice commands using Siri on your Mac.
Unlike WhatsApp and Telegram, Viber requires you to download a desktop client, but that means you’re going to get much more robust features. The desktop client is available for Windows XP and above and Mac OS X 10.7 and above.
You will need Viber installed on your phone before you can use the desktop app. Once installed, you can enter the phone number associated with your account. You’ll be presented with a QR code you can scan to connect the desktop app to your mobile app. Go to More > QR Code Scanner on your phone to get the desktop app set up.
You can use the desktop app to send messages and files, make video calls, and also use it to send files or photos from your phone to your computer and vice versa.
Line is another messaging and calling service available on several platforms. You can use it to send messages from iOS, Android, and Windows phones, and can download a free Mac or Windows desktop app. Chrome users can also opt for the Chrome app.
From the desktop apps, Line users can create send messages to individual contacts, create group chats, enable desktop notifications, and send files up to 1 GB in size. Line users can also make voice and video calls from the Mac and Windows desktop apps.
In addition to its messaging service, Line also encourages users to store photos, videos, and more that you can later send to friends — although you’ll probably want to have them saved elsewhere as a backup as well.
To use any of the desktop options, you’re going to have to first sign up for an account using one of their mobile apps. You will also need that phone to connect your mobile WeChat account to your desktop account by scanning a QR code. To scan the QR code, tap the + button in the top right corner of the app and select Scan QR Code.
You can send messages, files, and screenshots from the desktop apps, but the web version of the app does not provide a backup and restore feature for your chat history.
There are a few options to consider if you want to use more than one of these messaging services from the comfort of your desktop. The aptly named All-in-One Messenger brings together several messenger apps on this list including WhatsApp, Telegram, Hipchat, and WeChat. It also supports other messaging platforms like Slack, Skype, and Facebook Messenger.
All-in-One is currently available as a Chrome app, and after installing you will have to login to each service you wish to use. You don’t actually have to sign up for an account to use the service — simply login to each of your accounts individually.
Some of these services will require you to login using your email and password, while others will require you to scan a QR code using the mobile app. In some cases, you’ll need to enter your phone number and provide a code sent you via SMS.
In addition the native options available to these apps, you can opt for other all-in-one apps or even clients that are specific to just one of these apps. Be sure to check out this list of chat apps and clients that have even more features than the official messenger apps.
What’s your favorite messaging app? Do you prefer to use it from your phone or your computer? Are there any other apps that you would add to this list? Let us know in the comments.