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By now, you probably already know that WhatsApp has released a new desktop client that allows people to use the messaging service on their PC and Mac computers. In fact, you might be planning to download it on your computer so you can start chatting with your friends on a bigger screen and using a real keyboard. Before doing so, though, you must first do your research and find out how WhatsApp’s new desktop app will affect the way you communicate with your loved ones. Here are some pointers to help you get started.

Facts about the New Desktop App

Before doing anything else, check your system and find out if it meets WhatsApp’s minimum requirements. If you own a Mac, it should be on Mac OS X 10.9 and higher; if you own a Windows PC, it should be on Windows 8 and higher (whether you have a 32-bit or a 64-bit version). If your computer is eligible to get the desktop client, go to WhatsApp’s download page and pick the right version to download.

Once you have downloaded and installed the desktop app, it will open to reveal a prompt with a QR code. You’ll need to scan this code with your phone to get access to the desktop client, and you’ll need to keep your phone on and connected to the internet to continue using the desktop version.

If you have used WhatsApps’ web browser version in the past, you might wonder how it’s different from the new desktop client. Well, for one thing, the two versions have slightly different layouts. Unlike the web browser¬† version, the desktop app comes with keyboard shortcuts (such as pressing Ctrl + Shift + M if you want to mute conversations), making it easier for you to manage your conversations.

WhatsApp’s Desktop App Versus Other Desktop Clients

WhatsApp’s desktop client has been compared to the desktop apps of its competitors. One of these is Viber, which stands out because it allows users to make video calls while on its desktop client (something that WhatsApp doesn’t yet do). Viber is also touted as more convenient since it doesn’t require users’ phones to be on and connected to the internet, allowing them to extend their phone’s battery life and reduce its data consumption. However, security experts have pointed out that Viber’s approach is less safe than WhatsApp’s;¬† since people don’t need to connect their phone to their account, anyone can open and use a person’s Viber desktop account even if they don’t have the owner’s phone with them.

What do you think about WhatsApp’s desktop app? Share your thoughts with us!