One of the limitations of WhatsApp is that you can only use it on your phone. If you don’t have your phone with you, you won’t be able to use WhatsApp. Well, not anymore.

WhatsApp has launched WhatsApp Web, which lets you use WhatsApp in your desktop browser. Here are instructions on how to set up WhatsApp Web. However, if you can’t use WhatsApp Web for some reason, there is another way. continue reading.

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Note that while this guide is for WhatsApp, you can use this method to run almost any Android app. Just replace the apk file in step 5 with the apk of the Android application you want to run. This is a good source for downloading apk files.

(See also: How to run Android apps on PC)

1. You will need an Android emulator app to do this. We’ve tried it with Bluestacks App Player, but it should work with any other emulator as well. You will also need a mobile phone to verify your WhatsApp account.

2. Download the Bluestacks App Player on your computer.

3. Run the setup file to install it. During installation, Bluestacks will ask for App Store Access and App Notifications. You can uncheck both while installing.

4. Wait for the installation to complete (it will take a few minutes). During the final stage of the installation, Bluestacks will run in full screen mode. Click the diagonal icon in the upper right corner to run it in windowed mode. This makes the next few steps easy.

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5. Leave Bluestacks App Player running and go to your browser. Download WhatsApp apk file.

6. Double-click the WhatsApp.apk file saved on your PC. The app will be automatically installed in the Bluestacks App Player.

7. In Bluestacks, you’ll see a grid of installed applications. Find and launch WhatsApp.

8. Enter your phone number and click Verify.

9. Now wait for 5 minutes as WhatsApp tries to authenticate automatically using SMS but fails.

10. After 5 minutes, WhatsApp will give you the option of voice verification. Click Call Me.

11. You will receive a phone call. Answer it, and you’ll hear the captcha spoken in a loop.

12. Enter authentication in WhatsApp (running in Bluestacks) and you’re good to go.

13. If you use this method, none of your existing contacts will show up in WhatsApp. You can still reply to any messages you receive.

14. You can add contacts individually to WhatsApp by clicking on the three dots icon in the upper right corner > contact person. Click the contact icon next to Search in the upper right corner. These contacts will be saved and will not be on other devices. You can then start sending messages to those contacts as well.

15. Any groups you belong to will also not be on the PC. You will have to ask the group admin to add you to the group again.

If you want to use WhatsApp on your PC and phone at the same time, you’re out of luck. A phone number can only be associated with one device at a time – when you use your phone on your desktop, your phone will stop receiving WhatsApp messages. Another limitation is that you can’t switch between the two devices instantly. WhatsApp imposes a 20 delay between verification attempts (this delay increases with each verification attempt in the same day), so keep this in mind when setting up on any device.

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Did this help you to install WhatsApp on your PC? Let us know by commenting. For more tutorials, visit our how-to section.

By Rebecca French

Rebecca French writes books about Technology and smartwatches. Her books have received starred reviews in Technology Shout, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Booklist. She is a New York Times and a USA Today Bestseller...