www.makeuseof.com How to Use WhatsApp on a Linux Desktop
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  • 29/07/2022
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www.makeuseof.com How to Use WhatsApp on a Linux Desktop

WhatsApp is a cross-platform messaging service available for Android, iOS, Windows, and macOS. The unavailability of an official WhatsApp client for Linux has left users wondering whether or not they can use WhatsApp on a Linux desktop.

The straightforward answer is yes. Although you have the choice to run WhatsApp on an Android emulator, there must be a better way, one not involving emulation. Therefore, in this article, we will discuss how you can use WhatsApp on Linux.

1. Using the Web Version of WhatsApp

If you don't need a dedicated app to use WhatsApp on Linux, you can easily get by with WhatsApp Web, an official web client that you can run inside a browser. To get started, head over to web.whatsapp.com.

On your smartphone, launch WhatsApp and tap the three-dot icon on the top-right. Tap Linked Devices > Link a Device and scan the QR code displayed on the Linux desktop.

WhatsApp will automatically load your messages and present them in a streamlined interface, with contacts on the left side and a chat window on the right.

Although you won't be able to make calls and participate in video conferences, WhatsApp Web is still convenient if you want easy access to your chats on a Linux desktop.

Note that this is the only official way of using WhatsApp on Linux. Other methods mentioned in the upcoming sections use third-party clients developed by Linux app developers.

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2. Using Third-Party WhatsApp Clients

Thanks to the open-source software community, developers have created several unofficial clients for WhatsApp over the years. Note that like WhatsApp Web, you won't be able to make calls using these desktop clients since these apps only act as a wrapper for the web version of WhatsApp.

WhatsDesk is—unsurprisingly—an unofficial desktop client for WhatsApp. The app is available for all major Linux distros including Debian, Ubuntu, Arch Linux, and Fedora.

To get the ball rolling, first, install WhatsDesk on your system by running the appropriate commands given below.

WhatsDesk is available as a snap package and you can install it on any system that supports snap, irrespective of the distro. Note that you must install snap on your system before proceeding with the following command:

sudo snap install whatsdesk

You can install the app on Arch Linux using an AUR helper like Yay:

www.makeuseof.com How to Use WhatsApp on a Linux Desktop

yay -S whatsdesk

Once installed, launch the app from the Applications menu. At first glance, you'll notice a QR code and some steps you need to follow to log in.

To proceed, open WhatsApp on your smartphone and click on the three-dots menu icon. Then, select Linked Devices and tap on Link a Device.

As soon as you scan the QR code on your desktop, all your chats will appear on WhatsDesk, similar to what you'd get on WhatsApp Web.

Franz is a messaging platform you can use to manage your WhatsApp, Messenger, Telegram, and Slack chats. Several other services are also supported by Franz including, but not limited to, HipChat and Hangouts.

First, you'll have to install Franz on your system. Head over to the Franz download page and select the AppImage download from the available options. Once downloaded, simply double-click the file to launch Franz.

Download: Franz

The Franz DEB package is also available for Ubuntu and Debian users. To install the package, first, download it to an appropriate directory. Then, navigate to the directory using cd and run the following command to install Franz:

sudo dpkg -i franz-*.deb

In addition to the AppImage, Arch Linux users can also download Franz from the AUR using Yay:

yay -S franz

Post-installation, launch Franz from the Applications menu or the terminal. When you open the app, you'll be presented with options to log in and register for a free account. If you're new to Franz, create an account by clicking Create a free account. However if not, click on Login to your account and supply your account credentials.

While creating an account, enter your details next to the corresponding fields and click Create Account to proceed. Franz will now ask you which services you want to connect. Highlight WhatsApp and click Let's go to continue.

Franz will automatically load the WhatsApp Web window and display the QR code. Scan the QR code with your smartphone by tapping on the three-dot icon inside WhatsApp, and then, on Linked Devices > Link a Device.

Your messages and chats will start loading in a similar way as WhatsApp Web. You get the contacts view on the left and the chatbox on the right.

In addition to WhatsApp, you can also connect new services with Franz by clicking on the Plus icon on the bottom-left corner of the screen.

3. Running WhatsApp on an Android Emulator

If surprisingly, none of the aforementioned methods work for you, you can try installing WhatsApp on an emulator; however, using an emulator should be the last resort. You can set up an Android machine on Linux using Anbox or Genymotion and install WhatsApp on it.

Note that if you log in to WhatsApp from an emulator, you'll be logged out of your account on your smartphone. This is mainly because running WhatsApp on an Android emulator is equivalent to running it on a physical Android device, and WhatsApp only allows you to use the app on a single device at a time.

Access Your WhatsApp Chats on Linux

While working on a computer, no one likes to switch to their smartphone just to check emails or new messages. On Linux, you get the convenience to access your WhatsApp messages from the desktop, using either WhatsApp Web or third-party desktop clients like Franz and WhatsDesk.

If you consider yourself to be a Linux power user and want to perform most operations from the command line, you can try WhatsCLI, a terminal-based WhatsApp client offering most of the features you get in the traditional WhatsApp app.

5 Reasons to Choose the Linux Terminal Over GUI Read NextShareTweetShareEmail Related TopicsAbout The AuthorDeepesh Sharma(112 Articles Published)

Deepesh is the Junior Editor for Linux at MUO. He writes informational guides on Linux, aiming to provide a blissful experience to all newcomers. Not sure about movies, but if you want to talk about technology, he's your guy.

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