Android users on WhatsApp won’t have a free ride anymore when it comes to backups. The change comes after five years of Android users’ backups not counting toward Google Drive storage limits at all — something that was never true for iOS users.

Google and WhatsApp both announced that, starting for WhatsApp beta users in December, chat history, including images and videos, will again chew away at Google Drive storage, whether you have the company’s free 15GB plan or you pay for storage.

WhatsApp said the change will come to all of its Android users in the first half of 2024, and it will notify users 30 days ahead of time. The notification will be in the form of a banner in Settings > Chat > Chat backup.

Users who don’t want to use their Google account for backups will have the option to use the WhatsApp Chat Transfer when they’re moving to a new Android device, which works wirelessly so long as both phones have Wi-Fi turned on. (No network connection is necessary — it’s a direct transfer.)

Google intimated that nothing about WhatsApp backups will change apart from the potential for storage limits affecting whether you can continue to cloud save your data. If you delete things in WhatsApp, it will delete them in your cloud backup, which can help you save space in Drive. And naturally, it points users to its Google One subscriptions if they want to upgrade to more storage. Google says it will offer “eligible users limited, one-time Google One promotions.”

Notably, this isn’t any different from how WhatsApp works on iOS except for the fact that Apple still only offers 5GB of cloud storage for nonpaying users.

The Verge