WhatsApp is finally letting you make voice and video calls to and from the desktop app. The feature works on Windows 10 version 1903 and newer and macOS 10.13 and newer, and lets you call any of your contacts as long as they’re online and using a compatible smartphone, tablet, or computer.
Just as it is on mobile, all WhatsApp voice and video data is end-to-end encrypted on desktop, and the general interface will be familiar to anyone who uses the smartphone app—but there are some key differences between mobile and desktop calling.
For instance, the call window will always stay on top of your desktop so you won’t lose track of it amidst your other open apps, folders, or browser tabs. The window is also resizable and moveable, and will automatically reformat to landscape or portrait mode based on the window’s current dimensions.
The other difference is less helpful: As opposed to the mobile app, WhatsApp’s desktop client only supports one-on-one calls. WhatsApp plans to add group voice and video calls to the desktop app in the future, but for now, you can’t make or join group calls from your PC. Luckily, there are several PC and Mac apps that support group calls if you need an alternative.
To make or join WhatsApp calls on desktop, you’ll need:
- A PC running Windows 10 version 1903 (or newer), or macOS 10.13 (or newer).
- The latest version of WhatsApp for Windows 10 or Mac.
- A mic—either your laptop’s internal mic or one connected to your computer.
- A camera (if you plan to use video calls).
- You’ll also need to be signed into your WhatsApp account on a smartphone. Desktop calls do not go through your phone, but you’re required to have one to use the feature.
If you have all the necessary equipment, here’s how to call your WhatsApp contacts on desktop:
- In the WhatsApp window, select the contact to want to call to open the chat.
- Select Call or Video call.
- If the other person picks up, the call will begin.
The in-call controls are the same as they are on mobile: click the mic to mute/unmute yourself; the camera icon turns your video on/off; the red button ends the call. You can also swap to video chat mid-call by clicking the camera icon during a voice call. The other person will be prompted to accept or cancel the request. If they accept, the call will swap over to video.
The feature should be easy to use, but you can consult WhatsApp’s troubleshooting guide for desktop calling if you run into issues.