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More apps than you might have realized are available on the web as well as on your phone, syncing with your handset to give you access to all the same data, files and conversations through any web browser you like.

There are all kinds of ways this can be helpful. For a start, it means you’ve got much more screen real estate to work with—content is stretched out across your desktop monitor rather than being confined to the dimensions of a smartphone screen.

Access to a keyboard and mouse is important too. It means you can power through incoming messages much faster than you’re able to on your phone, so you need never get behind on a group chat again.

Opening up these apps on the web also means you don’t have to keep reaching for your phone every time a new notification appears: You can just deal with whatever has happened from your desktop or laptop computer.

If you find those benefits appealing, here are some of the most well-known apps with little-known web versions (we won’t cover the apps that are obviously available on the web and on mobile, like Gmail and Twitter).


Screenshot of WhatsApp homepage
David Nield via WhatsApp

There’s no need to hunch over your phone to power through your WhatsApp messages and group chats, because you can get them up in your web browser too—as long as you have your phone to hand to set this up. You get the benefit of more space to see your chats, and access to a physical keyboard so typing is quicker too.

Head to WhatsApp Web to get started and you’ll be presented with a QR code. Open WhatsApp on your phone, then tap Settings, WhatsApp Web/Desktop and Link a Device (on iOS), or tap the three dots then WhatsApp Web and Link a Device (on Android) to bring up the QR code scanner and get connected.

All of your conversations get synced across, complete with the contact images and read receipts (if you’ve turned them on). Click the three dots then Settings to configure the key options for the web app, including notification settings and the web app theme.


Screenshot of Instagram webpage
David Nield via Instagram

Instagram is available on the web as well, and in this case you don’t need access to your phone: You just need your username and password so you can log in. Go to Instagram on the web and enter your credentials to get started.