In a recent announcement, Google has revealed a significant change that will impact WhatsApp users on Android – the end of unlimited free storage for chat backups on Google Drive.
Starting early next year, these backups will count against the 15GB storage limit offered to all Google account users, signaling a departure from the previous five-year arrangement where Android users enjoyed unlimited storage for their WhatsApp backups.
The policy shift, detailed in a Monday blog post by Google, emphasizes that Android users might need to manage their file sizes or consider purchasing additional storage if their backups exceed the allocated 15GB. The change will initially roll out to WhatsApp Beta users in December and will gradually affect all WhatsApp users on Android in the coming months.
“If you choose to enable WhatsApp backups on Android, personal Google Accounts come with 15GB of storage at no charge—3X more than most mobile platforms—that’s shared across Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos,” explained the blog post. It assured that WhatsApp backups on Android will continue to function, provided there is available space within the Google Account storage. Users reaching their storage limit will need to free up space by removing unnecessary items to resume backups.
Google’s storage management tools offer users with personal Google accounts the ability to delete large files or photos, either directly from WhatsApp or through Google Drive. Deleting items from WhatsApp removes them from cloud storage, reducing the space used by subsequent WhatsApp backups. Alternatively, users can explore additional storage options through Google One.
WhatsApp, owned by Meta, reiterated the update in a separate post, assuring users that they will receive a warning 30 days before the changes take effect.
As the landscape of WhatsApp backups undergoes this transformation, Android users are urged to stay informed and take proactive steps to manage their data within the revised storage framework.