WhatsApp Web release date sees iOS users shunned

WhatApp has extended its smartphone messaging service to the desktop, but iOS users will have to wait a little longer to use it.

WhatsApp Web, as the service has been dubbed, lets users access their accounts via the Chrome web browser so they can send and receive messages from desktop devices.

Before they can do this, users must open the smartphone app and select "WhatsApp Web" from the drop down menu. This will activate a QR code reader that can scan a pattern on the WhatsApp desktop site, which in turn opens up their account in the web browser.

In a blog post, the company explained: "Your phone needs to stay connected to the internet for our web client to work, and please make sure to install the latest version of WhatsApp on your phone."

At present, Android, BlackBerry, Nokia and Windows Phone devices can all be paired with the web browser in this way, but curiously iPhones cannot.

"Unfortunately for now, we will not be able to provide a web client to our iOS users due to Apple platform limitations," the blog post continued.

The multi-platform mobile messaging service has proved a hit with smartphone users since it was introduced in late 2009, because it allows them to send text and picture messages to their contacts without paying.

In a separate blog post, published earlier this week, WhatsApp revealed that it now has half a billion people around the world using its platform to send around 700 million photos a day.

The service was acquired by Facebook last year for around $22 billion, and has also recently found itself at the centre of a push by UK Prime Minister David Cameron to have encrypted messaging services shutdown on anti-terrorism grounds.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.