This is a sneak peek at the new WhatsApp for Windows [Update: Now available]
Images and videos of a new WhatsApp app for Windows have surfaced online, showing a completely new UI and some new features for Windows 11 and 10 users. The information comes from Aggiornamenti Lumia, which has often revealed many Windows apps and features ahead of official announcements.
Anyone who uses WhatsApp on their PC right now knows the experience isn’t ideal. While there is an app you can download from the Microsoft Store, it’s largely based on the web version of WhatsApp. It uses Electron to bring web technologies to a more traditional app format, but that results in less than stellar performance. This new version of WhatsApp seems to be based on UWP, using the XAML UI language to fit right in with native Windows apps. It also launches very quickly, although the demo we see only shows one chat in the chat list, so that could change.
The new WhatsApp app will be available for both Windows 11 and 10, and looking at the UI, it does seem like it was being designed for the previous version of Windows. Some elements like the search box and chat bubbles still use sharp corners, which Windows 11 has mostly moved away from. However, some Windows 11 elements are already here, like the new Mica material that allows the desktop background to slightly shine through inside the app. More tweaks to adapt to Windows 11 may arrive over time or ahead of the official launch.
In addition to messaging, the new app appears to support voice and video calls, based on the images shared by Aggiornamenti Lumia. Additionally, there’s a drawing feature, which allows Windows Ink fans to sketch up an image and share it all within WhatsApp itself. Because UWP apps can always sync in the background, a new feature for this app is the ability to receive notifications even when the app isn’t running.
Finally, the new app seems to include a bunch of settings that are also available in the mobile apps. These include privacy settings, such as who can see when you were last online or profile picture, you can manage your chats, notifications, and storage, which includes settings for automatically downloading media like photos, videos, and documents.
A UWP version of WhatsApp was first teased over two years ago by WABetaInfo, a well-known source for WhatsApp leaks. It’s taken quite a while to materialize in any way, but you can finally download it using the link below.