WhatsApp Android backups will count against Google storage

Google and WhatsApp today announced a change where WhatsApp chat and media backups on Android will “start counting toward your Google Account cloud storage limit” from December 2023 onward.

That includes the 15GB of free storage included with every Google Account, which the company made an explicit point of noting is “3X more than most mobile platforms” in a shot at iOS and iCloud. Yet Google also points out that the “WhatsApp backup experience on Android will be in line with how it works on other platforms.” This is a reversal from 2018 when WhatsApp backups stopped counting toward Google Drive storage.

This change is rolling out starting next month for WhatsApp Beta users and will “slowly roll out to all WhatsApp Android users across the first half of 2024.” There will be a banner in WhatsApp Settings > Chats > Chat backup “30 days before this change happens.”

If you hit your storage limit, you’ll need to free up space to resume backups by removing items you do not need. 

Google already offers storage management tools to quickly bulk delete photos and other large files that date back to when it made changes to its Google Photos backup policy. Another suggestion is deleting items from WhatsApp, thus “reducing storage used by your next WhatsApp backup.”

The other alternative is getting more storage with Google One, which starts at $1.99 per month for 100GB. In fact:

To help you with the transition, we will soon provide eligible users limited, one-time Google One promotions.

These changes that start rolling out in December will apply to personal Google Accounts: “If you have a Google Workspace subscription through work or school, your storage quota is not impacted at this time.”

We’ll continue to work with WhatsApp to provide you with reliable and secure backup support. Please stay tuned for more updates. 


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