Hot Take Google announces WhatsApp chat backups will count against your cloud storage, no longer free

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Nov 10, 2017
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If you buy a new Android phone, setting up WhatsApp on the new device is easy. Just log in, agree to move your cloud backup over to your new device, and boom: your chats, media, and everything else start downloading.

Historically, WhatsApp chat backups on Android have been free, despite that not being the case on other platforms. In December this year, though, this will finally come to an end. Per an announcement from Google today, we know that chat backups for WhatsApp will start to count against your Google account storage quota.

If you don’t pay for Google One or a similar cloud storage solution from Google, you have 15GB of free data. However, that 15GB includes data from Gmail, Google Photos, and many other Google apps. Now, you’re going to need to throw in your chat backups. Depending on how long you’ve used WhatsApp and how much media you’ve shared there, your backup could be quite massive.

If you know your backup is enormous, you’re going to do one of three things: opt out of cloud backups entirely, reduce the amount of data in your backup, or pay for a cloud storage upgrade.

Opting out of cloud backups is a cinch if you go that route (just go to Settings > Chats > Chat backup and change the Backup to Google Drive setting to “Never”), but this will mean you’ll lose all your data if you lose/break your current phone.

Reducing your backup is easy but time-consuming. You’ll need to go through and delete chats and media that take up a lot of space. This could also involve some tough decisions if there’s media you’d rather not part with.

Finally, paying for more Google storage is easy but not free. For most people, the $1.99 monthly plan with 100GB of data should be plenty for your WhatsApp chat backups.

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