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Google may limit free WhatsApp backups on Android

Google could be about to halt free, unlimited WhatsApp chat history backups for Android users via its Google Drive cloud storage platform.

A new version of the WhatsApp beta for Android shows evidence that unlimited backups are coming to an end in the near future and that free back-ups will be limited in nature.

Strings discovered within the Android source code by WABetaInfo include text like: “Google Drive limit in effect” and “gdrive backupq quota reached”, as well indication of when that change will take place. That’s referenced in the text “%1$s limit starts on %2$s.”

WABetaInfo said it spotted something was up in a previous Android beta a few months back, but wanted to wait for evidence to show-up in the app before posting about the matter. Now that evidence has appeared. And it is below.

Google Drive WhatsApp quota

It seems that Google plans to do with WhatsApp backups what it has already done with its very own Google Photos storage, which initially promised users unlimited free backups of photos and video at a high (but not original) resolution.

It doesn’t make clear how much free storage, WhatsApp users will continue to benefit from or if, like Google Photos, everything already uploaded to the cloud is safely stowed and the limited would only apply to future uploads.

It may be that WhatsApp starts counting against Google Drive storage and the limits will depend on how much free space the company has to work with. It may be that users have to start prioritising whether they wish to only back up texts rather than photos and videos.

Google is yet to make any public statements about whether it plans to end the free backups. However, this was probably in the post the moment it began imposing restrictions on users of its own Google Photos app.

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