In a surprising turn of events, Android users on WhatsApp will no longer enjoy the luxury of free backups. For the past five years, Android users’ backups were exempt from Google Drive storage limits, unlike their iOS counterparts. However, both Google and WhatsApp recently announced a change that will impact Android users. This article delves into the details of this significant shift and its implications for WhatsApp users on Android devices.

Starting from December, WhatsApp beta users will witness a transformation in their backup process. Chat history, including images and videos, will now consume Google Drive storage space, regardless of whether users have the free 15GB plan or a paid storage subscription. This modification aligns Android users with the existing backup system for iOS users.

WhatsApp has outlined its strategy for deploying this change to all of its Android users. The transition is expected to take place in the first half of 2024. Prior to the implementation, users will receive a notification 30 days in advance via a banner in their Settings under “Chat” and “Chat backup.” This notification will inform users about the impending storage limitations and allow them to prepare accordingly.

For users who prefer not to use their Google account for backups, WhatsApp offers an alternative called “WhatsApp Chat Transfer.” This feature enables users to wirelessly transfer their chats, provided both the old and new devices are connected to Wi-Fi. No network connection is required for the direct transfer process. This option ensures that users can still preserve their chat history without relying on Google Drive.

Effects on Data Synchronization

Google has clarified that apart from the impending storage limitations, WhatsApp backups will function as usual. However, it is crucial to note that deleting content within WhatsApp will now result in the corresponding deletion from the cloud backup. This synchronization between local and cloud data offers users the benefit of saving storage space within their Google Drive.

In light of these changes, Google is actively promoting its Google One subscriptions as an upgrade solution for users seeking additional storage. While not explicitly stated, Google hints at offering limited, one-time promotional deals for eligible users. This up-selling strategy encourages users to consider expanding their storage capabilities beyond the initial free 15GB limit.

It is worth highlighting that this update does not differentiate WhatsApp’s backup system on Android from that on iOS. However, there is a fundamental distinction between the two platforms in terms of available cloud storage. Unlike Android, Apple restricts nonpaying users to a mere 5GB of cloud storage. Consequently, Android users still enjoy a more generous storage offering, even with the upcoming limitations on WhatsApp backups.

The paradigm of free backups on WhatsApp for Android users is shifting. The change, set to take place in the first half of 2024, mandates that chat history, images, and videos will count towards users’ Google Drive storage. While alternative backup options exist, such as the WhatsApp Chat Transfer, WhatsApp is undoubtedly steering its Android user base towards adopting Google One subscriptions. As this new era emerges, Android users must prepare for the evolving landscape of backup practices on WhatsApp.


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