WhatsApp to Discontinue Unlimited Chat Backups on Google Drive: What You Need to Know

In a significant shift, WhatsApp is reportedly dropping support for unlimited chat backups on Google Drive for users who are beta testers of the messaging app. This means that Android smartphone users, just like their iOS counterparts, will no longer have access to free cloud storage. While this change currently affects only beta testers, it is expected to roll out to all Android smartphone users in the near future. This move from WhatsApp comes as it aims to align its storage policies with those of other platforms.

As reported by MySmartPrice, WhatsApp has already started notifying beta testers on Android about the discontinuation of unlimited chat backups on Google Drive. Users will receive a banner notification within the app’s settings under Chats > Chat backup, informing them that the changes will take effect within 30 days. It is important to note that the rollout of this change may be gradual, as some users have not yet received the notification even after updating to the latest beta version from the Play Store.

Last year, WhatsApp and Google jointly announced their plans to discontinue unlimited chat backups via Google Drive for Android users. According to the timeline provided by WhatsApp, this change was expected to reach beta testers in December of that year and all users by the first half of 2024. With the recent notifications being sent to beta testers, it appears that the implementation of the updated storage policy is progressing as planned.

For beta testers who are affected by this change, WhatsApp will display a banner notifying them that their chat backups will start counting towards their Google Drive storage quota in a month’s time. This means that they will need to manage their storage usage or consider upgrading their storage plan to ensure that their important chat backups are not lost or limited.

Comparison to Other Storage Providers

The decision to discontinue unlimited chat backups aligns WhatsApp’s storage policy more closely with that of other leading platforms. While WhatsApp previously offered unlimited chat backups that didn’t consume Google Drive space, users will now need to rely on their allocated storage quota. It is worth noting that Google Drive provides 15GB of free storage for all accounts, which is significantly higher compared to the 5GB offered by both Apple and Microsoft for their respective cloud storage services.

This move by WhatsApp follows Google’s previous decisions to limit access to free storage on its cloud services. In February 2022, Google ended support for unlimited “original” photo backups for owners of Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL devices, three years after the phones’ launch. Additionally, in 2020, Google discontinued unlimited and free photo backups for all users, citing a high volume of uploads from its one billion users at the time.

Overall, WhatsApp’s decision to discontinue unlimited chat backups on Google Drive for beta testers and eventually all Android smartphone users may necessitate changes in how users manage their storage and backups. By aligning its storage policy with other platforms, WhatsApp aims to ensure fairness and consistency across its user base. Users should be aware of these upcoming changes and take necessary steps to safeguard their important chat backups.

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