Many of us have suffered the struggle of maxing out your phone’s storage. You have to choose: do I really need this app, can I live without these videos from a holiday that happened 5 years ago, are these photos of my pet truly essential? Well, for Android users these questions will be popping up sooner than expected.
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Google has issued a warning to the millions of people who have Androids, explaining that WhatsApp backup storage for old messages, photos and videos will soon no longer be free. The massively popular app’s content will now count toward a user’s Google Account cloud storage limit - if they use an Android. Here’s when the change will come into place and how you can save your chats and camera roll.
When will this change happen?
The change is to come into place for WhatsApp Beta users next month, before coming to all Android users on the app in early 2024. According to the Independent:
Of the roughly 3 billion WhatsApp users around the world, an estimated 73 per cent of them access the app on Android.
In the official announcement from a Google community manager, it is stated that ‘WhatsApp backups on Android will continue to work, as long as you have available space within your Google Account storage’.
However, although personal Google Accounts come with 15GB of free storage, that is shared across Google Drive, Gmail and Google Photos - so it fills up very quickly. This means any extra photos, videos and voice notes from WhatsApp may push many users over this limit.
How to save your messages, photos, and videos
Unsurprisingly, the solution is to pay for storage. There are several options, but the cheapest comes in at $1.99 for a monthly plan. This gives you 100GB of data and should cover most WhatsApp users.
Google has made the move to improve security for active users, but it could inadvertently affect many who are using the app as a storage platform for memories or are in control of a deceased relative’s account.
If you are likely to be affected, at least you know the change is coming and can either pay for extra storage or move the content you want to keep to an external hard drive. Keep all those precious memories safe!
Independent: WhatsApp warning over fee to keep old messages
Google Help: Upcoming changes to WhatsApp chat history backup on Android