WhatsApp’s unlimited backup on Google Drive is going away

Users of WhatsApp on Android will need to reconsider what they backup, as they may not enjoy unlimited storage for much longer. — photo by rawpixel.com – www.freepik.com

Backups for WhatsApp for Android devices on Google Drive may not stay unlimited for very long.

WhatsApp Beta Info reported the discovery after prying into WhatsApp's code strings, which now includes notifications to inform users when their Google Drive is almost full.

“According to these strings, Google will still offer a certain quota to store WhatsApp backups for free, but it will be a limited plan, and information about the new storage plan is unknown right now,” the site stated.

This has been speculated about before in previous reports after WhatsApp started to work on granular controls for backups – for instance, excluding media like photos, videos or documents – to reduce the size of the file that will be uploaded to Google Drive.

However, these features have yet to be introduced, and users can only select the Google account for the backup, adjust the schedule, and pick the mode of backup – WiFi and/or cellular.

By specifying what needs to be backed up, the size of the library could be greatly reduced, as messages take up less space than other media files like videos.

For WhatsApp on Apple, backups count towards the total storage on iCloud, but Android users’ WhatsApp backups don’t count against their Google Drive space.

WhatsApp Beta said the move was not surprising, as Google had imposed a quota on photo uploads in 2020.

Previously, Google Photos offered unlimited storage for images backed up in high quality, though the files were compressed slightly to save on storage space.

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