Google and WhatsApp are making changes to how chat history is stored and backed up on Android devices. Starting in December, WhatsApp beta users will once again have their chat history, including images and videos, count towards their Google Drive storage limits. This applies to both users with the free 15GB plan and those who pay for additional storage.
WhatsApp has announced that this change will roll out to all of its Android users in the first half of 2024. Users will be notified of this change 30 days in advance with a banner in the Settings > Chat > Chat backup section of the app. This will give users time to prepare for the potential increase in storage usage on their Google Drive.
For users who do not want to use their Google account for backups, WhatsApp offers the option to use the WhatsApp Chat Transfer feature when moving to a new Android device. This feature allows for a wireless transfer of chat history as long as both devices have Wi-Fi turned on. This direct transfer eliminates the need for a network connection.
Google has indicated that WhatsApp backups will work the same way as before, but the change may impact whether users can continue to store their data in the cloud due to potential storage limits. If users delete items in WhatsApp, they will also be deleted from their cloud backup, helping them save space in Google Drive. Google is also encouraging users to consider upgrading to its Google One subscriptions for additional storage, and they will be offering “eligible users limited, one-time Google One promotions.”
It’s worth noting that this change on Android is not significantly different from how WhatsApp backups work on iOS. However, Apple only offers 5GB of cloud storage for non-paying users, compared to Google’s 15GB. This means that iOS users may need to be even more mindful of their storage usage to avoid running into storage limitations.
Overall, these changes from Google and WhatsApp highlight the importance of managing storage space on mobile devices, particularly when it comes to chat history and media files. Users will need to stay informed about these changes and consider their options for managing their backups and storage, including the possibility of upgrading to paid storage plans to accommodate their needs.