Among the dozens of popular online messaging applications, several stand out from the crowd as reigning champs of the field. WhatsApp is one of those, but since it often leaves users looking for ways to access its services off of one’s smartphone, the guide below will show you up to download WhatsApp for Windows 7, 8, and XP.
Since WhatsApp only runs natively on smartphones, there’s no way to download the app directly to your Windows computer and simply run it. An unfortunate circumstance, but not one that you can’t get around relatively easily. As one of the most appealing messaging services that you can get ahold of on your mobile device (and now, off of it) there’s little reason not to do so.
Before we proceed, we’ll briefly gloss over some of the reasons that users like WhatsApp, and additionally, why it’s an appealing thought to have it running on your Windows computer. Then, we’ll talk a bit about emulation. Since you can’t run a copy of the app itself in Windows, you’re going to need to emulate a popular mobile operating system that can run WhatsApp properly. It may sound like an odd workaround, but trust me when I say that it’s worth it. To boot, there’s no question of legality behind it, and as long as you do a little research beforehand (or, hint, hint: continue to read this guide), you can even do it at no cost! As of February 1st, 2016, there’s no longer any subscription fee attached to WhatsApp. The free method is the best method, especially when there’s little risk involved.
People are drawn to WhatsApp because it’s efficient and among the best apps available at what it does. It’s also remarkably lightweight, consuming very little memory resource no matter which platforms it’s used on. Sealing the deal is it’s relatively low reliance upon advertising, something which its competitors are frequently vulnerable to.
It should be noted that in one of the developers’ most recent blog posts, they’ve announced that they will be ending support for several less-used mobile platforms that no longer keep up with the frequency of WhatsApp’s updates. An unfortunate turn if you’re one of the minority of mobile device users still on those platforms, but the overwhelming dominance of Android and iOS leaves little room for competition. However, we’re more concerned with Windows anyway, aren’t we?
WhatsApp on Windows: How-To
There are actually two reliable ways to get WhatsApp operating on your Windows PC: emulation and the browser-based version of WhatsApp, which will require you to have an active profile and a version of WhatsApp running on your mobile device. We’ll go through both methods extensively enough for you to know them well, thereby giving you the tools necessary to make an informed choice that best suits your needs!
Before attempting either of these methods, I highly recommend signing up for WhatsApp on your mobile device. After all, who doesn’t have a smartphone in their pocket, anymore? Even if you’re running an emulator, wherein you could technically sign up for a brand new WhatsApp profile, the process will be relatively smoother if you already have it done ahead of time.
If you’re using the developer-supported browser-based version of WhatsApp, then you’ll be asked to scan a QR code with your mobile device that already has WhatsApp installed. In this case, you’re flat out required to have the mobile version. These are important things to keep in mind as you proceed!
Emulating Through Android OS
Though there is a developer-supported, browser-based version of WhatsApp that’s perfectly accessible, I’d like to walk you through the setup of the emualated version first. This method of getting WhatsApp on your Windows PC has been around for several years and, therefore, is still a functional way of accessing the app that thousands of users continue to take advantage of.
You’ve likely already guessed at the biggest hurdle of the emulations process–finding the right emulator to support your needs! You’re not going to have any shortage of options, either, but for the sake of keeping things simple (and free!) I’ll lay out my own, personal “top three” for you to choose from. If you find another that fits your lifestyle better (of if one of our readers suggests one in the comments) feel free to pursue a different route!
- In this list, I’m putting my personal favorite first. Andyroid is a fully functional, fully supported Android emulation suite that will handle WhatsApp and then some, on top of it. It’s free to download and use, and even has support for neat features like Bluetooth tethering for your mobile device. Additionally, I haven’t found it to be as intrusive with third-party or advertising software as many other free options.
- Bluestacks used to be my go-to emulator until I became an Andyroid convert. It’s still an exceptional piece of software, with a professional-quality development team behind it. Click over to the Bluestacks homepage and you’ll quickly see what I mean. It’s marketed primarily towards gamers, but will handle your WhatsApp needs in a pinch, as well.
- I’m actually going to risk the tangent of proposing a different type of emulator third, mostly because of how many people I’ve realized are using it. Manymo is actually a browser-based Android emulator, which means that you won’t need to install any software on your Windows PC in order to use it. The downside? The “free” version only allows you 10 uses per month. If you’re willing to shell out a little cash, however, you can bump up your monthly usage significantly.
Don’t let yourself linger too long over choice in the emulator you use; while each might feature a slightly different interface, any of the above three (as well as several others not listed) will be plenty for emulating WhatsApp. Unless you’ve elected to use Manymo, simply download the emulator install file of your choosing and go through the simple setup process. Once it’s completed, opening the emulator will provide you with a window that looks remarkably like the home screen of an Android device.
The best part of this process? Once you’ve installed your emulation software, WhatsApp is accessible as making your way to the Google Play store and downloading it, as normal! Since you’re technically running a legitimate installation of the Android operating system, so too is your copy of WhatsApp perfectly legitimate. This means that signing in (or creating an account, if you haven’t yet) is as remarkably simple as ever.
WhatsApp in Your Browser
The web client for WhatsApp is a tricky thing, but a bit of understanding in how it works will help you to navigate it like a pro. Truthfully, it’s a simple process, but without a bit of prior knowledge, it can seem confusing.
As mentioned before, you’re going to need an active WhatsApp version running on your mobile device in order to use the developer-supported web client. You’ll find it here, upon which you’ll immediately be asked to scan the provided QR code with your mobile device. From within the mobile version of WhatsApp, head to your settings menu. From here, tap on “WhatsApp Web” and use your device’s camera to scan the QR code.
Suddenly, voila! You’re connected to the web version of WhatsApp, and all of your messages and actions will be synced between your Windows PC and your mobile device. If you’re curious as to the process behind how that happened, here it is: rather than being its own separate entity, the web version of WhatsApp needs your mobile device in order to remain functional. The two are paired, and if your mobile device loses its internet connection, your web client in Windows will shut down as well.
If it isn’t clear already, the WhatsApp web client is not standalone. It will always require that paired mobile device in order to work. On the other hand, WhatsApp is built to function as a mobile device, and for the vast majority of users, that’s where they began using it. The web client allows you to make use of your always-on, always-present smartphone to give you access to the same app on your Windows PC, and without installing any additional software.
WhatsApp has changed a lot over the many years that it’s been available on app stores. It has supported many platforms, changed from a subscription service into a free app, and has grown to support over one billion users. None of these are small feats, and the fact that it’s still immensely popular only speaks to the app’s ability to adapt and change with the times. For this reason, it will soon be ending support on less popular mobile operating systems, while consolidating its function on Android and iOS. In tandem with this tidying up, the new web client is a remarkably handy companion for users that are on their computer anyway.
The above guide will help you to get WhatsApp downloaded and/or running for free on your Windows PC, whether you’re using 7, 8, XP, or the newly-released Windows 10. If you’ve been using WhatsApp on your Windows machine (or if you have questions about how to do so), let us know in the comments below!.