Google’s WhatsApp Backup Change: Impact on Android Users’ Storage Allocations Revealed

Google's WhatsApp Backup Change: Impact on Android Users' Storage Allocations Revealed
(Image: Jakub Porzycki via Reuters Connect)

Google has announced a change in the storage behavior of WhatsApp on Android devices. In the future, chat backups will be counted towards the storage volume of users’ Google accounts. This was revealed by Google in a thread within its own help section.

WhatsApp users on Android will now have their entire chat history automatically backed up once a day to the online storage of their Google accounts. Previously, this backup did not count towards the storage limit, unlike WhatsApp backups in iCloud for iOS.

The backup without storage deduction was particularly appealing to users who do not have a Google One subscription and pay for more storage. By default, Google users get 15 gigabytes of cloud storage without having to pay. However, this space is also utilized by other Google services like Gmail or Drive and is, therefore, limited.

Large WhatsApp backups can lead to storage issues

A WhatsApp backup spanning several years can indeed be large—especially if users share numerous photos and videos. With sizes exceeding 1 gigabyte or more, the allocation on Google’s 15-gigabyte storage limit might pose space problems for some users.

Once the storage limit on Google is reached, WhatsApp on Android will cease to save backups, as per Google’s announcement. The chat history will only be stored in the cloud again once users have freed up space or reduced the WhatsApp backup size.

Google’s recommendations upon reaching the storage limit are predictable: users can delete data from their Google storage or reduce the backup size by deleting data, especially image and video files. Not surprisingly, Google also suggests a paid subscription to Google One for more storage.

Change expected to take effect “soon”

Google did not specify the exact timing for when WhatsApp backups on Android will start counting towards Google storage. The company only mentions it will happen “soon.” Those with a Workspace subscription through work or school are not affected by the storage allocation.

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Michael Lynch
With a passion for cybersecurity, Michael Lynch covers data protection and online privacy, providing expert guidance and updates on digital security matters.