WhatsApp has reportedly begun dropping support for unlimited chat backups on Google Drive for users who have signed up to receive beta updates of the popular messaging app. The platform will no longer offer free cloud storage for users on Android smartphones — similar to users who access WhatsApp on iOS. While the change currently affects beta testers, the Meta-owned messaging platform is also expected to discontinue free storage on Google Drive for all users on Android smartphones in the coming weeks or months.
MySmartPrice reports that WhatsApp has started to drop support for unlimited chat backups on Google Drive for beta testers on Android. The app will display a banner in the app’s settings under Chats > Chat backup informing users that the changes will go into effect within 30 days. The change could be rolling out to testers in batches — Gadgets 360 was unable to reproduce the message on WhatsApp for Android after updating to the latest beta version from the Play Store.
Last November, WhatsApp and Google announced that the firms were discontinuing unlimited chat backups via Google Drive for users on Android. The change was supposed to roll out to beta testers in December and to all users in the first half of 2024, according to the timeline provided by the messaging platform.
Beta testers who are affected by the change will see a banner informing them that they have a month before chat backups start to count towards their Google Drive storage quota. The updated storage policy comes five years after WhatsApp and Google started to offer unlimited chat backups that wouldn’t take up space on Google Drive — the company offers 15GB of free storage for all accounts, which is higher than Apple and Microsoft that both offer 5GB of free cloud storage.
This isn’t the first move from Google to limit access to free storage on its cloud services. In February 2022, the company ended support for unlimited “original” photo backups for Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL owners, three years after the phones were launched. The company dropped support for unlimited and free photo backups for all users back in 2020, stating that it had over a billion users at the time with over 4 trillion uploads and 28 billion weekly uploads from users.
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