WhatsApp users on Android are witnessing a change in the way chat backups are handled, as these backups are now counting toward their Google Account storage limit. This transition aligns with an earlier public service announcement (PSA) made by WhatsApp, notifying users that their chat backups would begin contributing to their Google Drive storage limits. Users participating in WhatsApp’s beta testing program are reporting that their chat and media backups are now part of the overall Google Drive storage limit, which stands at 15GB for free users. This mirrors the existing situation for WhatsApp users on iOS, where iCloud storage has been a factor for years, albeit with a 5GB limit.
The move to include WhatsApp backups in the Google Account storage limit is part of a broader strategy by Meta, WhatsApp’s parent company. The company plans to implement this change for all Android users in the first half of 2024. Users will receive a 30-day notification ahead of the enforcement, displayed as a banner within the app’s Chat Backup settings. The shift indicates a departure from the previous scenario, where WhatsApp backups on Android did not count towards users’ Google Drive storage.
For users who prefer not to allocate their Google Drive storage to WhatsApp backups, alternative options are available. One approach is to utilize local backups and leverage the built-in WhatsApp Chat Transfer tool to seamlessly migrate data to a new device. Additionally, users can adopt a more space-efficient strategy by backing up only text messages, excluding media files from the backup process. These adjustments aim to provide users with flexibility in managing their cloud storage resources and optimizing their storage usage based on individual preferences.