WhatsApp chat history and media backups for Android users currently enjoy a separate realm from their Google account cloud storage. This distinction has been a boon for Android users, providing them with additional cloud storage space for photos, videos, emails, and various files, as WhatsApp backups don’t occupy space on Google accounts. However, a significant shift is on the horizon.
Both Google and WhatsApp have jointly declared that WhatsApp backups on Android will soon contribute to the Google Account cloud storage limit, a change set to take effect later this year. It’s crucial to bear in mind that every personal Google account grants 15GB of free cloud storage. With WhatsApp chat and media backups encroaching on this storage space, Android users may find their share for other media and files on their smartphones diminished.
Google has outlined these forthcoming adjustments to WhatsApp backups on Android in a recent update on its support page. According to the announcement, WhatsApp backups on Android will continue functioning, provided users have available cloud storage space on their Google accounts. However, hitting the storage limit will necessitate freeing up space to resume backups, involving the removal of unnecessary items.
This modification to WhatsApp backup on Android devices is scheduled to commence its rollout to WhatsApp Beta users in December. The broader rollout to all Android users is expected to unfold in the early months of 2024. Notably, platforms like Apple’s iOS already include WhatsApp chat and media backups in their cloud storage calculations. iOS users receive 5GB of free iCloud storage, with paid options starting at ₦500 in Nigeria.
Google’s standard offering is 15GB of free cloud storage per account, shared across Google Drive, Google Photos, and Gmail. For additional storage, users can subscribe to Google One, with the Basic tier, featuring 100GB of cloud storage, available at ₦950 per month or ₦9,500 annually. Google has also hinted at upcoming limited, one-time Google One promotions for eligible users, and discounted prices for both Basic and Standard (200GB) tiers.
Android users seeking to manage their Google account storage can opt to delete large files such as photos and videos from Google Photos or directly within WhatsApp. This action not only creates extra space on their Google account but also reduces the storage footprint of subsequent WhatsApp backups.
It’s crucial to note that these changes to WhatsApp backup on Android are currently exclusive to personal Google accounts. Storage limits for Google Workspace subscriptions through work or school affiliations will remain unaffected, as clarified by Google.
Earlier this year, Meta made waves by announcing a feature allowing WhatsApp users on both Android and iOS to seamlessly transfer their chat history and media attachments from an old phone to a new one without relying on backups or cloud services. This innovative chat transfer mechanism employs a QR code, facilitating the smooth transition of chat history and media to a new device operating on the same OS.
In August, Google introduced a Dark Web Report feature for Google One subscribers on both Android and iOS. This tool proactively scans the dark web for traces of personal user information, including names, addresses, phone numbers, and emails. Google One members receive notifications about potential privacy risks, empowering them to take necessary precautions when sharing information online.