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A command line interface for WhatsApp

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A command line interface for whatsapp, based on go-whatsapp and tview



Things that work.

  • Sending and receiving WhatsApp messages in a command line app
  • Connects through the Web App API without a browser
  • Uses QR code for simple setup
  • Allows downloading and opening image/video/audio/document attachments
  • Allows sending documents
  • Allows color customization
  • Allows basic group management
  • Supports desktop notifications
  • Binaries for Windows, Mac, Linux and RaspBerry Pi


Heres some things you might expect to work that don't. Plus some other things I should mention.

  • Only shows existing chats
  • No auto-reconnect when connection drops
  • No automation of messages, no sending of messages through shell commands
  • FaceBook obviously doesn't endorse or like these kinds of apps and they're likely to break when FaceBook changes stuff in their web app


How to get it running and how to use it

Latest Release

Always fresh, always up to date.

  • Download a release
  • Put the binary in your PATH (optional)
  • Run with
    (or double-click)
  • Scan the QR code with WhatsApp on your phone (resize shell or change font size to see whole code)

Package Managers

Some ways to install via package managers are supported but the installed version might be out of date.

MacOS (homebrew)

  • brew install normen/tap/whatscli

Arch Linux (AUR)



Most information, all commands and key bindings are availabe through the in-app help, simply type



When starting up, whatscli will immediately try to connect to the WhatsApp server to log in. Keep your phone ready to scan the appearing QR code in WhatsApp on your Phone. If you don't manage to scan the code quick enough just restart the application. If you can not see the whole QR code, reduce the font size of your terminal or increase the window size.

After scanning the QR code the chats should be populated. After you have done this once, whatscli will be able to log into WhatsApp automatically on start. To log out of WhapsApp completely type


Messaging / Commands

Select a chat on the left and start typing in the input field at the bottom to send messages. Switch between the chat list and the input fiel with


For issuing commands the same input field is used. By default commands are prefixed with

. You can for example use the
/sendimage /path/to/file.jpg
command to send images, see
for more commands.

When paths are given for commands you don't need to surround the path in quotes, even if it contains spaces. Also don't prefix spaces with backslashes (as the copy-paste function of MacOS does for example).


When pressing

(default mapping) you enter "message selection mode" which allows selecting a single message and performing operations on them. For example pressing
while a message is selected allows opening any attachments through an external application.

Image display

You can display images in whatscli using external programs that convert the image to UTF characters. I found that

works well for jpeg images, it is available through package managers on most systems. However the "image quality" leaves a lot to be desired. The PIXterm app allows displaying true-color versions of the images which are quite recognizable already.

To configure the used command and its parameters edit the

parameter in
, see
for the config file location.

Copy-Pasting User IDs

Some commands such as the

require a "user id" as their input. You can copy the user ID of a selected chat or a selected message to the clipboard with
(default mapping) and easily append them to the current input using


The app supports basic desktop notifications through the

library, to enable it set
enable_notifications = true
. Set
use_terminal_bell = true
to ring your terminal's bell instead of sending a desktop notification.


Most key bindings, colors and other options can be configured in the

file, the
command shows its location.


This app started as my first attempt at writing something in go. Some areas that are marked with

can still be improved but work mostly. If you want to contribute features or improve the code thats great, send a PR and we can discuss.


Using a recent version of go, building should be straightforward. Either use

go build
go run
etc. or use the included Makefile.

Structure Overview


contains most UI elements which are based around a tview app running on the main routine. It uses a keymap configuration based on the tslocum/cbind library. Apart from that it mostly manages the selection of messages in the current chat as well as displaying the messages and chat list that the session manager sends.


runs a separate go routine to receive messages from the Rhymen/go-whatsapp library which in turn runs the websocket connection to the whatsapp server. The session manager receives the messages from go-whatsapp and the commands from the UI via channels that it drains on its main routine. It then updates the UI accordingly using the UiMessageHandler interface. This ensures "thread safe" management of the connection and data while both UI and network connection run separately.

Session manager is designed "object like", the MessageDatabase in

is similar and somewhat linked to the session manager. In theory the session manager could be run multiple times (multiple accounts) or a different implementation of a session manager could connect to a different service like e.g. Telegram.


most interfaces and data structures for communication are kept.


keeps a singleton
struct with the config that is loaded via the library when the app starts. This makes it easy to quickly add new configuration items with default values that can be used across the app.


This software is released under MIT license. Remember that this gives you all freedom except for slapping your name on it.

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