Linux Apps

WhatsApp Desktop – An Unofficial WhatsApp Desktop Client for Linux

WhatsApp Desktop Client for Linux
Written by Martins D. Okoi

If you don’t know about WhatsApp by now then you have been living under a rock – and that is highly unlikely. But just in case that probability comes through, WhatsApp is a free instant messaging cross-platform application for smartphones.

2017 saw the arrival of its desktop clients for the Windows and Mac platforms, but not for Linux. Sad as that might be, trust the open-source heroes to come to the rescue and one such open-source solution is WhatsApp desktop.

WhatsApp Desktop is an open-source unofficial WhatsApp desktop client for Linux built with Electron. It offers all the features its contemporary clients do including native desktop notifications and support for keyboarded shortcuts, as well as extra options e.g. support for custom CSS stylesheet.

Features in WhatsApp Desktop

  • Cross-Platform: available for Linux, Windows, and Mac.
  • Support for native desktop notifications.
  • Badge icon with notification count in the dock/taskbar.
  • Animation: dock icon bounces on entry of a new message.
  • System tray icon.
  • Open links in browser.
  • Auto-launch on login along with the option to start minimized to tray icon.
  • Support for custom CSS stylesheets.
  • Access to phone information i.e. battery status, software version, e.t.c.
  • Search (with a contact in focus) via CTRL+F or CMD+F.
  • Customization – toggle and settings options include:
    • Option to set avatar visibility.
    • Option to preview of the message’s visibility.
    • Set media thumb size.
    • Proxy settings for connecting to WhatsApp web.
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WhatsApp Desktop also features logging system with which you can log to console and check out userData/log.log.

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Because it is built with Electron (which is known for draining memory), some people will just stick to using WhatsApp Web (myself included). But even though Electron apps may not be your cup of tea how will you know whether you like the app if you don’t try it out?

Download WhatsApp Desktop for Linux

What’s your take on WhatsApp Desktop? Is it worth the download or will you just wait till Facebook releases an official client for Linux? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Special thanks to Pat Migliaccio for suggesting WhatsApp Desktop on our list of the 20 Must-Have Ubuntu Apps in 2017.

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About the author

Martins D. Okoi

Martins Jr. (Dillivine) Okoi is a graduate of Computer Science with a passion for Linux and the Open Source community. He works as a Web designer & developer, technical writer, and programmer.

  • gary

    I wouldn’t touch Facebook’s WhatsApp with a ten-foot toilet plunger.

    I’m using Wire Messenger, something much more aligned with the ideals of Linux. Open Source, end-to-end encryption, NO phone number required, Privacy-respecting, no data-collection, no tracking. It won’t even copy your contacts if you tell it NO. Clients for Linux/mac/windows/Android/ios. Also runs in a browser.

    Pretty capable too: Voice over IP, Video chat, text messaging, attachments, emoji (for those interested in this), drawing over pictures, voice recordings with sfx.

    Works really well and deserves a write up, I think. I’m not having any issues running it on Android and Linux/Mint (32-bit)

    • Hahah “[…] with a ten-foot toilet plunger”, that’s mean!

      I’ve written on Wire here before: https://www.fossmint.com/wire-alternative-to-skype-for-linux/
      In fact, I have even compiled a list of cool IM apps: https://www.fossmint.com/best-instant-messaging-apps-for-linux/

      It’s truly an excellent WhatsApp alternative but not as many people use the app. If, somehow, Wire users could communicate with WhatsApp users then I would have considered leaving WhatsApp for Wire.

      At the moment I am way too in on WhatsApp to dump it. And WhatsApp is secure and I’m fine with syncing my contacts. At the end of the day I guess it boils down to our preferences.

      Ps. do you know Telegram? It’s also an excellent WhatsApp alternative. Although, I think Wire is still better.

  • marc

    Damn it, again! another “app” which is not really an app, but simply web browser opening web page … STOP IT. It’s stupid and ridiculous and pointless.

    • Paul

      Yeah. Chromes “open as window” option serves me pretty well already.

    • LOL relax, Marc.
      It’s still an application. And I always go on to add that it’s a wrapper – or as you would put it, “a web browser opening web page”.

      Electron wrapper or not, it’s an open-source project and some readers might be interested in it.
      I am not a fan of these “web browser opening web pages”, though. I think life will be better if they didn’t exist and I didn’t have to write about them. Especially when there are better alternatives like WhatsApp Web in this case.

      But bro, it’s the Linux philosophy. We can’t tell b=people not to work on projects they want to.

      • marc

        I know, I know, man … It’s not your fault and I was only responding to the very idea, not an article, which is fine, as always. I’m just mad that there is not much of a real work, but only some “pseudo-apps” like this one :/

  • Stan Cooper

    It’s no longer being developed, but Whatsie is fully functional on my system.

    • Yeah. I know Whatsie.
      Be careful of security issues, bugs, and what not; since Whatsie isn’t going to be updated any longer.

  • zen

    why use a client? https://web.whatsapp.com/