Recently, Meta released a slew of updates and modifications to its widely used instant messaging service, WhatsApp. One of these, which was disclosed in their revised terms and conditions from the previous year, concerned the storage of chat backups. Chat backups would switch from using WhatsApp’s dedicated space to Google Drive starting in January 2024. In fact, WhatsApp has already switched to Google Drive for media and chat backups as January comes to an end.
Regardless of whether you are using Google Drive’s free or paid plan, WhatsApp now uses the storage space connected to the Gmail account that is linked to your WhatsApp account to store chat backups. Thus, in addition to all of your Google Photos, Gmail, and other backups, your WhatsApp will now take up space in Google Drive.
Nevertheless, you can choose not to back up chats to the cloud service if you don’t have a paid Google Drive account or if you use WhatsApp beta and don’t want chat backups taking up all of your Google Drive storage space. When moving to a new phone, you can use the integrated WhatsApp Chat Transfer tool instead.
However, in order for the chat transfer to occur, the old and new phones must be connected to the same Wi-Fi network. An active internet connection is not necessary. As an alternative, you can upgrade your Google Drive storage by signing up for a Google One plan.
When backing up your WhatsApp chat history, you also have the option to remove images and videos, as they can greatly expand the size of your backup.
By navigating to WhatsApp Settings > Chats> Backup in Google Drive, you can verify whether your WhatsApp has initiated the backup procedure. You will notice the following notification in the chat backup section if the Google Drive chat backup is underway: “Back up your chats and media to your Google Account’s storage.” Once WhatsApp is installed on a new phone, you can restore them from there.
Notably, Android users are now catching up to iPhone users who have long relied on iCloud storage for chat backups. Thanks to WhatsApp, Android users can now securely store their chat history in Google Drive, providing them with the same easy-to-use iCloud backup feature that iPhone users have had for a while.
Another update claims that WhatsApp is developing a hidden “third-party chats” section. This feature, which WABetaInfo found in the iOS beta version, would let users access and manage conversations from other messaging services like Telegram and Discord inside of WhatsApp.
This development is in line with the Digital Markets Act of the European Union, which encourages interoperability amongst popular messaging apps. The idea is to free users from having to download different apps just because they are popular and allow them to converse freely across platforms.