WhatsApp’s long awaited native Mac client is now available in open beta, reportedly bringing improved performance while consuming less system resources.
While previously spotted entering TestFlight – an online service for the installation and testing of mobile apps, owned by Apple – back in 2022, openings were limited with most ending up at a notice saying the beta was full.
According to the FAQ, a leap to the native desktop app should also come with increased speed and reliability along with the ability to receive messages even when a user’s phone is offline – similar to the previous native Windows client.
This also brings the user interface and design elements more in line with other native macOS apps such as Messages and Notes, including changes like the introduction of a sidebar and the ability to drag and drop files.
The open beta marks a shift from the previous web-based Electron software framework to Apple’s native Catalyst framework.
Apps built on the Catalyst framework will share code with the versions built for iPadOS, making it easier for developers to port them over to Mac.
This also comes with the advantage of allowing developers to include features specific to macOS.
It is worth noting that because the application is built on Catalyst, emojis will look like the default Mac versions rather than how the previous web-based version looked.
Those keen on experiencing the open beta first-hand will need to download the .dmg install file off the WhatsApp website, as the current live version on the Apple app store is still built on Electron.
However, compatibility is not universal with all devices – only those running macOS 11 Big Sur and above, M1-powered Macs, and certain Intel-based Macs are able to use the new client.
The macOS open beta comes some months after the Windows version of the client was pushed live in August last year.