WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging apps on Earth, boasting 1.5 billion users and a whopping 60 billion messages sent a day. There's a good chance your messages are a part of that.
If you've got yourself a Wear OS smartwatch, you might be wondering how you can get your chat on with your loved ones from your wrist ‚Äď especially if you've got one with some standalone LTE power.
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I hate to burst your bubble, but there is no official WhatsApp app available for Wear OS. It's not all doom and gloom though, because there still is a way to use WhatsApp with your Wear OS device. Let's get to it.
What you can do right now
Wear OS is pretty big on notifications, so it's no surprise that WhatsApp notifications work perfectly well on Wear OS. All of your messages will come right through, sitting pretty in your notifications tray.
You'll also get to reply to your WhatsApp messages right from your wrist. You'll be able to pull up Wear OS's dictation feature or wrist-based keyboard to do so.
There is, unfortunately, a bit of a catch. You can only do so if you've got an Android phone. If you're an iPhone user, you're not going to be able to reply to any message notifications on Wear OS.
It's worth noting that some Android WhatsApp users have complained that they weren't able to reply to notifications on WhatsApp. It appears that when trying to reply, the keyboard or speak-to-type feature don't pop up.
Other users have also complained about not receiving notifications in the first place. Other users have complained about receiving notifications, but not being able to reply to them.
It's unclear whether this is a bug within Wear OS or something WhatsApp needs to address. Seeing as this issue has been in Google's forums for the past couple of months, it's unclear when it could be fixed.
While there isn't an official WhatsApp app, there are some enterprising third-party developers who have tried to step in to fill the gap. If you head to the Google Play Store on your Wear OS device and search for WhatsApp, you'll see that the first search result is WatchChat for WhatsApp.
This is a $1.99 app that takes advantage of WhatsApp's Web/Desktop feature, which uses a QR code to sync to a web-based version of WhatsApp. WatchChat essentially tricks WhatsApp into thinking it's a web browser running WhatsApp's official web app rather than a Wear OS app.
Unfortunately, this solution only works if you've got an Android phone because you need the companion app on Android. Also unfortunately, there's been a change that has broken WatchChat for WhatsApp. Each time you open the app on your Wear OS device, you're going to need to open up WhatsApp on your phone and get a brand new QR code to re-sync everything.
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The other big third-party solution is Messages for Wear OS, which also requires an Android phone to work. However, it's also a full-featured solution that not only supports WhatsApp, but Facebook Messenger, Slack, Viber, Telegram, Line and more.
You'll also get the ability to view photos and videos you receive through WhatsApp, as well as looking at hyperlinks, opening links in a web browser or even opening YouTube links. When you open the app on your Android phone, you'll be prompted to connect your WhatsApp account. Then you simply have to download the same app to your Wear OS device.
There is, however, a catch here too. While the app works fine with Android Oreo, you will see WhatsApp messages not showing up if you have Android Pie. Appfour, the developer behind the app, is currently working on a fix.
Will there be an official WhatsApp app?
In short, probably not. The wrist just isn't a great place for text-based communication. While some people may be able to type on a wrist-based keyboard, or have no problem dictating all their messages, most people seem to be content getting WhatsApp notifications and sending quick and short replies ‚Äď saving the longer replies for their phone.
Just take a look at what's happened to the Apple Watch. When Apple announced the Watch, it made communication one of its three pillars. The Side Button would launch a ring of contacts you could quickly contact, sending messages to with scribbles, or emojis, or even your heart beat.
The set of features didn't take off, and Apple pulled back on messaging as a pillar of the Apple Watch ‚Äď though it did recently announce the voice-based Walkie Talkie feature.
The big question for WhatsApp comes down to whether developing a Wear OS app is worth the investment. At the moment, it seems like WhatsApp is a hard no on that.