How to get WhatsApp on your iPad

There may be no official WhatsApp iPad app, but there is an official way you can get WhatsApp on your iPad

WhatsApp is one of the most popular apps. More than two billion folks use the platform across the world, but there’s no iPad app.

This may seem odd given the iPad is the most popular tablet series. However, there’s a good reason. It’s down to security, and the kind of encryption WhatsApp uses when sending messages between people.

A woman's hands holding an iPad Air with WhatsApp on the screen.Credit: Shutterstock / DenPhotos
It’s relatively easy to get WhatsApp on your iPad

Key details

Project overview

Send and receive WhatsApp messages from your iPad. You will need a smartphone with WhatsApp already setup though – this won’t work without it.

2 mins

Just a few taps on your iPad and your smartphone are required to get WhatsApp working on your tablet.

Can you get WhatsApp on iPad?

WhatsApp says it would like to make an iPad app, but for now we’ll have to show you a workaround which is one of our favourite WhatsApp tips and tricks.

It’s the same method we use to get WhatsApp working on our laptops, and a great way to avoid phone distraction while getting stuff done, without being accused of ignoring messages.

The method is WhatsApp Web, and you actually shouldn’t start off by searching “WhatsApp” on the iPad App Store.

While you will find some apps there if you do so, none are made by WhatsApp and under the surface they use the same official method we’re going to show you today.

It’s free, it’s stable, and supports almost all generations of iPad. Here’s what you need.


What you’ll need

  • Your smartphone
  • Your iPad
  • Internet connection

For this method we will use the tablet’s built-in Safari browser. WhatsApp needs version 11 or newer, which is available to iPads released in 2013 or newer. These include the iPad mini 2, the first iPad Air and iPad 5th Generation.

If your tablet is not ancient, it should work as long as its software has been updated in the last 4-5 years.

You will of course need an internet connection, which is why WhatApp Web on a tablet is best used at home or in the office — anywhere with Wi-Fi. While there are iPads with mobile data, most people have Wi-Fi only tablets.

We’ll also need a phone with an active WhatsApp account. The iPad method piggy-backs off this phone account, in part because WhatsApp uses a phone number to setup your messaging profile.

If you’re new to Apple’s tablet, we can show you how to set up your iPad, before you carry on here.

All sorted? Let’s start.

Step 1

Open Safari on your iPad

Setup screen for WhatsApp Web on an iPadCredit: Exceptional
Safari is the default internet browser on your iPad

Open the Safari app and type in in the search bar. Simply searching for WhatApp Webonline works too. The result we want pops up as the first result, in our experience.

This should load a webpage with a large QR barcode on your iPads screen.

Step 2

Grab your phone

For the next step we need the phone you use for WhatsApp normally, rather than your iPad. Load up WhatsApp on it.

Step 3

Select Linked Devices

WhatsApp's linked devices screen on a smartphoneCredit: Exceptional
You’ll need to navigate to the ‘Linked Devices’ section in the WhatsApp app

Open the WhatsApp settings menu on your phone.

  • iPhone users: tap the ‘Settings’ option in the bottom right corner
  • Android users: tap the column of three dots in the top right corner

Then tap Linked Devices and on the next screen you should just see the ‘Link a device’ button. Tap that button.


Step 4

Scan the QR code

A camera view will appear on your phone. Turn on your iPad screen if it has gone to sleep and hold the phone so its camera can seethe QR graphic within the WhatsApp web screen on your iPad.

Step 5

Use WhatsApp on iPad

A hand holding a tablet showing WhatsApp on your iPadCredit: Exceptional
It may take a moment for your iPad to load your conversations after scanning the QR code

Once the QR is recognised, the classic view of your WhatsApp conversations should appear on your iPad.

Now that you’ve got WhatsApp on your iPad, you can chat away on your tablet just as you would on your phone.

A different feeling

WhatsApp on iPad will feel a little different than it does on your phone, and this method does not support notifications when a new message comes in.

Desperate for that new message ding? You can replicate these very same steps on a laptop, which will support notification sounds.

Easy access

Make WhatsApp web easy to access

WhatsApp icon on the home screen of an iPadCredit: Exceptional
You can add a WhatsApp icon to your iPad’s home screen

So far we have got you a webpage showing your WhatsApp chats. If you close down Safari, you can simply navigate back to in future. However, there is a better way to access WhatsApp on your iPad.

Create a shortcut icon

  • Open up the WhatsApp Web view in Safari on your iPad
  • Tap the button that looks like a box with an upward-pointing arrow just right of the Search bar in Safari, at the top of the screen
  • In the menu that pops-up, tap ‘Add Bookmark’
  • Next, choose a label to appear next to the shortcut, which you’re about to place on the iPad home screen. This places a WhatApp icon on the home screen that looks just like a dedicated WhatsApp app

Move the icon

  • If you want to move this icon, long press it until a menu pops up then tap ‘Edit Home Screen’.
  • You can now drag the icon wherever you like, including the shortcut dock at the bottom of the display

What is a ‘long press’?

Instead of tapping an icon on screen, a long press requires you to hold your finger down for a second, allowing a new function to appear – usually in the form of a smaller window providing you with additional options.

Bookmark instead

  • Don’t want a WhatsApp icon on your home screen? You can bookmark it instead. Go back to the WhatsApp Web view in Safari
  • After pressing the upward arrow button by the search bar, tap ‘Add to Favourites’
  • This adds a link to WhatsApp Web in the ‘Bookmarks’ section of Safari, which is accessible from the menu icon in the top-left of the screen.

Remove iPad

How to remove a linked account

WhatsApp lets you link your account to four devices other than your phone. If you run out of these linked devices, or simply want to unlink your iPad, here’s how to do so:

On your phone 

  • Open up WhatsApp on your phone
  • On an Android, tap the three dot Settings menu icon at the top right. On an iPhone, tap the Settings gear-shaped button at the bottom-right of the main screen
  • Select Linked Devices
  • You should see a Device Status section that shows all the gadgets currently linked to your WhatsApp account. Your iPad’s entry should show up as “Safari (Mac OS)” or similar
  • Tap that entry, and select Log Out in the pop-up to unlink your iPad

On your iPad 

  • Tap the button in the left pane of WhatsApp Web that looks like a column of three dots
  • Select Log out. This will take you back to the screen we saw right at the beginning of this tutorial, with a large QR code for pairing
Andrew Williams

Written by Andrew Williams he/him


Andrew Williams is a contributor to Saga Exceptional. Andrew has been a technology journalist for more than a decade, writing thousands of articles on consumer advice, how tech is made and how it affects our lives.

He has covered cameras and fitness tech, mobile phones, laptops, gaming and more. Andrew has written for many of largest tech publications including Wired, TechRadar, What Hi-Fi, T3, Stuff, Forbes and others.

When not writing about the latest tech, Andrew likes to head out for a run, often with a fitness tracker on test. And he picks up a paint brush when a tech detox is in order.

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