WhatsApp has made the new native version of its macOS app available in open beta. Until now, the new beta app was only accessible via Apple’s TestFlight platform, but all Mac users running macOS Big Sur or newer can now download it from the official WhatsApp website (via WABetaInfo).
This new WhatsApp for Mac app is built with Apple’s Catalyst framework, which allows developers to create Mac apps using code from their iPad apps. While there’s still no WhatsApp app for iPad, WABetaInfo believes that such an app has been in the pipeline for years.
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Due to this new Mac app using Apple’s Catalyst framework, it does look much more native than the previous version, which looked more like a web wrapper for WhatsApp for web. The new beta client adds a new sidebar providing quick access to chats, calls, archived, and starred messages. This new sidebar also features a nice background blur effect, but you can hide it if you prefer the app to use less screen real estate.
Overall, this new WhatsApp for Mac app also seems to be faster than the previous client. Since it’s still in beta, it may not always work as expected, but it does look pretty solid already.
With over 2 billion users as of February 2020, WhatsApp remains one of the most popular messaging apps that also offers end-to-end encryption for all messages. Last year, the Meta subsidiary launched a new Communities feature as it tries to become a more credible communication tool for organizations and workplaces.