WhatsApp chat history and media backups for Android users are stored separately from their Google account cloud storage. With backups of the popular instant messaging app not taking up space on Google accounts, Android users have had the benefit of additional cloud storage space available for their photos, videos, emails and other files. That is going to change. Google and WhatsApp have announced that WhatsApp backups on Android will start counting towards Google Account cloud storage limit starting later this year. Bear in mind, every personal Google account comes with 15GB of free cloud storage. WhatsApp chat and media backups taking up storage space on Google account would thus cut down the share reserved for other media and files on Android smartphones.
Google announced the changes coming to WhatsApp backups on Android in its support page, stating that WhatsApp backups on Android will continue to work, as long as users have available cloud storage space on their Google accounts. “If you hit your storage limit, you’ll need to free up space to resume backups by removing items you do not need,” the post said.
These changes to WhatsApp backup on Android devices will start rolling out to WhatsApp Beta users in December, with a gradual rollout to all Android users in early 2024. It’s worth noting, that other platforms like Apple’s iOS already count WhatsApp chat and media backups toward cloud storage. iOS users get 5GB free iCloud storage, with paid tiers of additional storage starting at Rs. 75 a month in India.
Google offers 15GB of free cloud storage for each account, shared across Google Drive, Google Photos and Gmail. For additional storage, users can subscribe to Google One, starting at Rs. 130 a month, or Rs. 1,300 annually, for the Basic tier that includes 100GB of cloud storage. In its post, Google also said that it would soon provide eligible users limited, one-time Google One promotions. Both Basic and Standard (200GB) tiers are currently available at discounted prices.
Android users can also choose to delete large files like photos and videos from their Google Photos app to create extra space on their Google account. Alternatively, they can also choose to delete large files directly inside WhatsApp, which would effectively delete those items from cloud storage as well. The next WhatsApp backup would thus take up lesser storage space on Google account.
Changes to WhatsApp backup on Android are only coming to personal Google accounts for now. Storage limits on Google Workspace subscription through work or school, will not be impacted at this time, Google said.
Earlier this year, Meta announced that WhatsApp users on both Android and iOS will be able to transfer their chat history, along with media attachments, from an old phone to new phone without the use of any backup or cloud services. The chat transfer feature works via a QR code and lets users transfer chat history and media to a new phone with the same OS.
In August, Google rolled out a Dark Web Report feature for Google One subscribers on both Android and iOS. The tool scans the dark Web to check for presence of personal user information like names, address, phone numbers, and email, and notifies Google One members of the privacy risk, allowing them to take required action and maintain caution while providing their information to various online vendors.