The new WhatsApp for Windows 10 and 11 is proof that many apps have been hijacking our PC for years

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After 10 months in beta, yesterday WhatsApp finally launched its new application for Windows. The relevant thing is that it is not a slight improvement of the application that existed until now in the Microsoft Store, but rather that it has been totally renewed, from the design to the code, because as WhatsApp explains, now it’s a native app.

Since WhatsApp Desktop was launched, what the user has actually been using is WhatsApp Web packaged to look and behave as much as possible like a native application. For this, the framework was used. Electron.

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What happened to WhatsApp Desktop on Windows so far

Windows 10

That an application uses Electron means that, when running it, we will be launching a Chromium instance with a Node.js javascript execution layer. That is, every time we opened WhatsApp Desktop, what we were really launching was a browser dedicated to displaying the version of WhatsApp Web with some change. And as we know, browsers today are not light at all, even if their only task is to display a single website.

The problem is that if having WhatsApp Desktop open we also run Slack or Spotify, which also use Electron, we will not be doing something similar to opening three tabs of a browser that share a resource base, but rather we will be opening three different browserswhich causes resource consumption to skyrocket much more than when we talk about native developments, as WhatsApp has done when using the Universal Windows Platform (UWP).

Every time you open the old WhatsApp Desktop, Spotify or Slack, what you are doing is opening a browser dedicated to each of them

It is the company itself that has explained the advantages of using a native application (something they haven’t done for the last six years):

  • They offer greater reliability and speed.
  • They are designed and optimized for your computer’s operating system.
  • They allow you to continue receiving notifications and messages even when your phone is not connected.

That’s how bad the situation was, and that’s how it has improved with the new WhatsApp application

Although WhatsApp has reported that the new application is available since yesterday, the reality is that screenshots appear in the Windows Store, but we have not yet been able to download the application from the “WhatsApp” result, as the old app continues to be installed .

Nevertheless, installing that, the old one, we have been able to compare the consumption of resources with the new one, which we can download by searching for “WhatsApp Beta”. Despite being a beta, it is so advanced that we can draw conclusions from the final version that will begin to reach the teams. At a minimum, we understand that it will improve what was seen in our tests.

This is what happens when we open Task Manager to check RAM consumption on a modern laptop with 8GB RAM in Windows 11:

whatsapp electron

Consumption of the old WhatsApp Desktop when opened.

WhatsApp

The consumption of the old WhatsApp, broken down.

As we can see, without even comparing, we are talking about a very high consumption of resources for an application that is not so big or complex, and in which we had not even opened different conversations or scrolled to have to load attachments, voice notes, etc. However, the thing can go even further if we do all that, as we see in the following image.

Whatsapp Desktop Maximo

The use of RAM memory shoots up to 800 MB in a stable way, having seen peaks of 1 GB. Something absolutely huge that rivals great desktop programs. This, on computers with many resources, with more than 16 GB of RAM, may not be a problem. But for most home PCs, opening WhatsApp and other apps that use Electron, like Spotify, Slack, and more, can cause a PC to drown.

Y proof that it can be done better We have it in the new WhatsApp application, whose consumption we have also measured.

WhatsApp The new WhatsApp app’s RAM usage drops from about 500 to about 100 MB in our tests.

When opening it for the first time, the observed consumption was about 200 MB. However, when I reopen it from then on, after closing and after restarting the computer, on average it has remained at about 100 MB, as seen in the capture. When opening different conversations it goes up a little, but it is normal to see it in those figures. We are talking about reducing consumption five times, and much more if we are talking about the maximum consumption of each of these two applications.

The performance of the new native WhatsApp for Windows is also not exceptional when scrolling through a chat, because after all it has to download everything at high speed, but the jump is tremendous. And the thing not only has to do with RAM.

Doing a simple CPU usage test with everything else closed, lThe old WhatsApp uses 60% of the total use of the system when scrolling through the list of chats. The new one, 20%. Opening conversations and having to load everything evens out a bit, but the improvements are impressive.

With the new WhatsApp app, RAM usage has gone from over 500MB to about 100MB (in our case)

The reasons why a multi-million dollar company like Meta develops desktop applications using Electron are clear: Cross-platform compatibility is ensured in a convenient and fast way. The changes are implemented on the web, and from there the news goes directly to Windows, macOS and the rest. Is Un development that reaches three platforms without extra effortadded to the fact that today there are many more web developers than other technologies.

Stop using a web as a base to move to native code as a solution to performance problems is not something new. own Facebook did it 10 years ago on Android Y on iOSwhen moved from HTML5 to this type of development.

However, are these companies those that precisely have the resources to do it much better and have teams dedicated to the native development of each platform, albeit slower. Otherwise, home PCs that could work smoothly for many more years, are drowning simply because the applications, as we have seen, spend years and years without being optimized. Facts like this one from Electron, in many apps, are the ones that have led me to say goodbye to my old MacBook Air M1.

After 10 months in beta, yesterday WhatsApp finally launched its new application for Windows. The relevant thing is that it…

After 10 months in beta, yesterday WhatsApp finally launched its new application for Windows. The relevant thing is that it…

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