Wattpad is a platform that allows independent and unpublished writers and authors to put their work out in a central hub of sorts, almost creating a form of social media. In Wattpad’s earlier days, many amateur authors flocked to the platform and gained a large following, with quite a few of them making very successful careers out of it. Who’s to say they would’ve had the same level of success, or any success at all, if they hadn’t picked up the pace on Wattpad?
Wattpad started in 2006 under Allen Lau and Ivan Yuen. Quickly picking up pace, it added 17,000 e-books to its collection in 2007 from Project Gutenberg, and by 2009, Wattpad had been downloaded over 5 million times, only two months after the iPhone release. Of course, they only went up from there, hitting heights that the founders could never have predicted.
In time, Wattpad also gained the attention of fanfiction writers and rapidly amassed a large community of fanfic writers who formed their own Wattpad subcultures and genres. These fanfiction writers are just about the most popular and dominant group inside Wattpad’s communities as of writing this article. Of course, there are still quite a few original story authors and many worthwhile stories on the platform.
As of September 2020, Wattpad had just about 90 million monthly users, with over 665 million stories uploaded in total. In the Philippines, several Filipino Wattpad stories have even been adapted into short stories aired on TV. A couple of Filipino movies have already been created, and there will be another full-length motion picture releasing in 2021 based on a Wattpad story. This is all a little shocking, seeing where it all started and what it was meant to be. Wattpad started life as an independent author platform, and it has been propelled into international fame, playing an active role in creating big-budget, highly publicized television, and film media.
Recently, Wattpad was acquired by a South Korean mass media company called “Naver Corporation” for $600 million. It will still maintain its current leadership and plans to continue operating independently from the new parent company, which means that this takeover most likely will not affect the end-user experience too much, at least for now. Wattpad’s headquarters won’t even move from the place where it was invented: Toronto, Canada.
Wattpad’s user interface has changed a lot over the years, especially on mobile, where they first launched their app. These UI changes mainly were to align the design language and features of the various platforms and make the app more cohesive across the web and mobile versions. The only thing they haven’t updated a lot over the years is their Windows app that’s available from the Microsoft Store.
This lack of updates is because desktop or laptop apps are not their focus at all. Wattpad would instead focus on mobile and internal refinement because computer browsers are already powerful enough to run and deliver the experience Wattpad wants to deliver smoothly through their website itself. However, this is not the same case on mobile. Mobile phone browsers have gotten a lot more powerful and usable over the years. However, they’re still incapable of entirely replacing natively installed apps, and neither is it convenient enough for daily use.
The only reason that Wattpad even has an application available for Windows is because Microsoft used to have a mobile OS based on Windows, and the development of an app for that OS allowed Wattpad to also co-develop an app for the desktop version of Windows with little to no extra time or cost. As for MacOS, it’s completely unrelated to iOS internally, and that’s one of the reasons that there is no Wattpad app for MacOS.
What does this mean for MacOS users who enjoy reading from Wattpad or need it for a better workflow? Well, you have two options. The first one, the easier one, and the one that Wattpad would like you to follow: just use the website. Log into Wattpad’s official website, and it allows you all the same functionality as the mobile app. However, if – for whatever reason – you would rather not follow that path and want an app installed on your Mac regardless, then you will need to emulate a mobile environment to be able to run the Wattpad app.
In this context, emulation is the act of replicating the internal code and interfaces of one computer device on a different computer device. Essentially, what this means is that you will be running an entire Android system inside of your MacOS for the duration that you use and emulate Wattpad’s mobile app. Emulation is not a difficult or even really complex task, and any decently powerful computer should emulate something as lightweight as Wattpad easily. Retro game enthusiasts have been emulating older consoles to enjoy their childhood video games for decades now.
Assignment of inputs is the most challenging task that the end-user of an emulator has to figure out. It is the emulator’s job to reasonably reassign these controls to the available inputs on the device performing the emulation since the emulated device is expecting some different forms of input and might only respond to those specific inputs. On a regular computer, like a MacBook, the primary inputs are a keyboard and a mouse, which is definitely enough to reassign all mobile controls.
The most popular and smoothest Android emulator on both Windows and MacOS currently is “BlueStacks.” To run Wattpad on a Mac as an installed application, you’ll have to install Bluestacks first from https://www.bluestacks.com/download.html. Make sure to install the Mac version and not the Windows PC version.
Then, inside of BlueStacks, you’ll need to open the Google Play Store and search “Wattpad.” Install the official Wattpad app, open it and log in. You should now have the most recent version of Wattpad installed, and you can create a shortcut on your desktop or in a folder so you can directly open Wattpad through BlueStacks next time, without having to navigate BlueStacks’ UI at all.
And that’s it; those are the two options you have if you want to use or install Wattpad on your Mac. Keep a sharp eye out for articles online that directly direct you to a .exe or .dmg file; it’s ubiquitous for these to be viruses. There is no official Wattpad app for MacOS and any articles claiming they have such an app are likely peddling your trojan malware.