WhatsApp on Android: Pay-per-use photo/video storage on the horizon

A major change affects the Android version of WhatsApp: data saved by the app will no longer be exempt from the free 15GB Google Drive account. This transition highlights a change in storage management, potentially generating financial implications for users.

Find out how this development will impact your WhatsApp experience and what alternatives are available.

What is this new storage limit?

Illustration of WhatsApp photo/video storage on Android
Image created for our site

This modification, confirmed by Google and announced by the application via an update to its FAQ, represents a major change.

Storage limited to 15 GB

Future WhatsApp saves on Android will now be taken into account in the 15 GB limit at a Google cloud account.

WhatsApp stresses that backups on Android will continue to work as long as there is space available on the Google account. However, if the storage limit is reached, resuming backups will require freeing up space by deleting superfluous items, as the American tech giant points out.

Note that, unlike WhatsApp on iOS, where backups are deducted from the free 5GB on iCloud, this practice was not in force on WhatsApp Android.

Free up space or pay

Contrary to previous practice, which granted Android users free backups of photos and videos on Google Drive, this decision now aligns with storage policies applied on other platforms. For example, Backing up your memories will soon require careful management of your storage space or a paying subscription.

How much should I expect to pay for storage space?

Investing in additional storage space on Google offers a simple solution, albeit at a cost. The Basic offer, at 1.99 euros per month, provides 100 GB of storage.to suit most needs. Benefits include:

  • A VPN for multiple devices ;
  • Advanced Google Photos editing features;
  • Access to support from Google experts.

Note that this subscription can be shared with up to 5 people.

When will the system be deployed?

The implementation of this change comes simultaneously with Google's discontinuation of unlimited backup on its services, now limited to the 15 GB granted when a Google Drive account is created.

According to WhatsApp, implementation of the new system will begin in December 2023 for beta users. After that, its rollout will be gradual, reaching all WhatsApp users on Android in the first half of 2024.

What are the possible alternatives?

With the introduction of this new policy, users have two options in the event of a space shortage:

  • Opt for a pay solutionsuch as a subscription to Google OneGoogle's cloud storage service, which offers a number of advantages. (As explained above)
  • Create a new Google account to benefit from the free 15 GB. However, it's essential to use it actively, as Google will be stepping up the deletion of inactive accounts from December 2023.

While we're on the subject of backup, you should know that WhatsApp photos and videos stored in the cloud need to be properly secured. This is always to prevent the increased risk of privacy being compromised in the event of WhatsApp account hacking.

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