Google Drive is a crucial part of how you use your Android phone, unless you choose another cloud storage option. It’s where your Workspace documents, Photos backups, and even WhatsApp backups are stored.
Google doesn’t include WhatsApp backups in your storage limit, but this can cause issues when many people use these services. Starting in December, it seems you’ll need to pay for extra storage if you want to back up more WhatsApp data to Drive.
WhatsApp Messaging and Backup
WhatsApp is the preferred messaging app for billions of people globally. It lets you send messages, media, and info. You can set up backups to the cloud, deciding how often they happen and what gets backed up.
This is handy when switching phones or wanting to keep really old messages. The backups are usually saved in Google Drive. You can make them more secure by encrypting them, and they’re easy to find when you want them.
Before 2018, many WhatsApp users were careful about what they backed up to the cloud because it used up the free storage from Google.
However, in that year, Google and WhatsApp changed it so that backups became free and didn’t take up your given storage space. In January 2022, there were signs in the code indicating that they might be thinking of reversing this decision, meaning WhatsApp backups could once again use up your Drive storage.
WhatsApp Backup Storage Policy
Google’s official announcement states that starting in December, beta testers will see backups affecting their Google Account storage space. This policy will extend to stable channel WhatsApp users from early next year.
However, this change only impacts users with free-tier Google accounts, which come with 15 GB of shared Drive storage for Photos, Workspace apps, and now WhatsApp. Google clarifies that those with a Workspace subscription for work or school won’t be impacted by this alteration.
Given that people exchange huge amounts of messages and media daily, it’s not surprising that providing a free backup option for billions of users is unsustainable, especially when WhatsApp is a free service.
With backups taking up valuable cloud storage, you need to be careful about what you choose to store in Drive. Including WhatsApp media can significantly increase backup size, making it worthwhile to consider investing in a NAS for local storage backups.
Alternatively, you can opt to pay for extra Drive storage with a Google One subscription. However, this is a recurring payment for convenience precisely what both tech companies hope WhatsApp users will do once they realize that 15 GB of Drive storage isn’t enough for their larger backups. If you hit the limit, you’ll need to free up space or reduce the backup size.
Google Drive plays a central role in Android usage, storing essential documents, photos, and WhatsApp backups. Changes in WhatsApp’s backup policy may require users to pay for extra storage from December. Balancing the convenience and limitations of free-tier accounts, users must adapt to evolving storage dynamics for seamless data management.