Make WhatsApp voice and video calls from your desktop

After a limited rollout in December 2020, this feature is now available to all

Make WhatsApp voice and video calls from your desktop
Make WhatsApp voice and video calls from your desktop

You can now make WhatsApp voice and video calls from your laptop and desktop to other WhatsApp Desktop app users. This feature has been in beta for a while but was officially rolled out earlier this month.

This development will be welcome news to the millions of people who regularly use WhatsApp’s desktop client but have to switch to other services like Zoom or Google Meet to make one-to-one video calls.

Here’s what you need to know.

Desktop calling is supported on Windows 10 64 bit version 1903 and above, and macOS 10.13 and above.

To make or receive video calls via WhatsApp Desktop, you will need to be an existing WhatsApp user on mobile and then set up the latest version of the desktop app on your PC or laptop. Once you’ve installed the app you’ll need to scan a QR code from your mobile device to log in on the computer.

Your PC/Mac will need to have an audio device and a microphone for voice calls, and of course a camera for video calls. WhatsApp recommends using a headset for the best quality audio. You’ll need an active internet connection on both your phone and computer – the call won’t be made through your phone, but it will have to be online to establish the call.

You’ll need to give WhatsApp permission to access your computer’s camera and microphone.

Voice and video calls via the desktop app will be end-to-end encrypted, just like WhatsApp’s messaging service, meaning that neither Facebook nor WhatsApp will be able to access your voice or video calls.

To make a WhatsApp call on your desktop: in the WhatsApp window, select the contact you want to call to open the chat > select call or video call > when the recipient picks up, the call begins.

You’ll be able to switch between voice and video calls interchangeably, and video calls automatically rotate between portrait and landscape view depending on the dimensions of the call window. Another nifty feature: the call window will always stay on the top of your desktop so it can’t get submerged under other open tabs or files; it is also resizable and movable.

Disappointingly, WhatsApp Desktop will only support one-to-one calls for now, but the feature is set to expand to include group voice and video calls in due course.

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Aldo, a lawyer by training, is the former Head of Global Partnerships and Sponsorship for Kaspersky. He co-founded Kaspersky Lab Italy in 2008 and subsequently held the positions of GM for Italy, Malta and Israel before leaving in 2013 to join the EU Operations in London as EU Director for Marketing.

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