WhatsApp Ends Free Google Drive Storage for Beta Users

The widely used messaging app WhatsApp, which belongs to Meta, is changing its backup policy in a significant way. The company announced that chat backups will now count towards a user’s Google Drive storage space. This change, initially declared last year, is already affecting Android users on the beta version of WhatsApp and will extend to all users in the first half of 2024.

Whatsapp Ends Free Google Drive Storage

Impact on Users and Alternatives

According to the new policy, WhatsApp backups—including chats, images, and videos—will use some of the 15 GB of free storage that Google Drive offers. Users exceeding this limit can opt for a Google One subscription for additional space. However, there are alternatives. Users can stop backing up chats to Google Drive and instead use WhatsApp’s Chat Transfer tool for moving data to a new phone. This tool requires both phones to be on the same Wi-Fi network but doesn’t need an active internet connection.

For users who prefer not to increase their Google Drive storage, managing the size of backups is crucial. One way to do this is by excluding images and videos from backups, as these files significantly increase backup size.

Comparison with Other Platforms

This change brings WhatsApp’s policy in line with how backups are handled on other platforms. For instance, Apple only offers 5GB of free storage to its non-paying iCloud users, compared to Google’s 15GB. The policy update comes five years after Google and WhatsApp partnered to offer unlimited chat backups on Google Drive.

Google’s Shift in Cloud Storage Policies

Google has been gradually limiting access to free storage on its cloud services. In 2020, the company ended unlimited and free photo backups for all users, citing over a billion users with significant weekly uploads. This move by WhatsApp is in sync with Google’s broader strategy to manage storage resources more efficiently.

WhatsApp Backup Policy Changes

FeatureOld PolicyNew Policy
Storage LimitUnlimited on Google DriveCounts towards Google Drive storage
Platforms AffectedAndroidAndroid (iOS already has a similar policy)
AlternativesNoneGoogle One subscription, WhatsApp Chat Transfer tool, Exclude media from backups

In summary, WhatsApp users need to be aware of these changes and plan accordingly to manage their chat backups effectively. The shift to counting backups against Google Drive storage is a significant change that requires users to either manage their storage more efficiently or consider paid options for additional space.

Whatsapp Ends Free Google Drive Storage For Beta Users

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