WhatsApp Will Consume Your Google Drive Storage Data: Backup Size Feature in the Works?

Oct 14, 2021
Updated • Oct 14, 2021
Apps, Google

At the moment, WhatsApp backups won’t count against your Google Drive storage. That may be about to change. It seems there is more bad news for the Facebook-owned messaging app. It seems a storage limitation of backups is in the future.

As we get some good news about WhatsApp, it’s not long before the bad news follows. Last week, WhatsApp rolled out end-to-end encryption to backups. This feature was very lacking and in high demand. Once this privacy feature is enabled, it means that WhatsApp, Facebook, Google, and Apple can't read your backups. This is a major bonus in protecting users’ privacy and data. This is an opt-in feature, and users will have to enable it from within their WhatsApp settings to start using it.

Google started limiting the storage options for Google Account users earlier this year. The first change came with scaling down the available storage size to 15GB. This storage is shared between Google Drive, Google Photos, and Gmail. If this wasn’t restrictive enough, there are reports that Google will also be introducing a storage limit for WhatsApp backup to Google Drive.

You may want to read: Best Google Drive applications for Chrome

Is a New WhatsApp Storage Limit Looming?

In 2018 WhatsApp negotiated a deal with Google that allowed unlimited backup storage. This is how users were able to enjoy backing up their WhatsApp data without ever getting a low storage notification. Before this agreement, WhatsApp backups did count against your Google Drive storage quota.

Following the above trend of Google starting to limit the data storage options offered to users, WhatsApp may be next. It doesn’t look like all of your WhatsApp backups will count against your available storage. It seems very likely that Google and WhatsApp will introduce an upper limit of 2000GB of free storage, and after that, it will start counting against your available storage on Google Drive.

If you’ve ever looked at the size of your WhatsApp backup, you will know how quickly this 2000GB will be used, especially if you are backing up chats, photos, documents, and videos from WhatsApp.

It is important to note that at this point, neither Google nor WhatsApp has released any official information confirming that a backup limitation is coming. For now, it’s just speculation. However, it might not be a bad idea for users to backup their WhatsApp history now, just in case, a limitation announcement is around the corner.

How Will Limitation Affect My Backup in Whatsapp?

WhatsApp chat backups on Google Drive is one of the easiest ways of switching between iOS and Android devices without losing your messages. If a backup storage limitation is put into effect, it will mean that users will be limited in which messages and data they will be able to keep.

With many businesses also using the messaging app, this could make things very complicated and time-consuming when it comes to backing up correspondence from clients, vendors, and business partners. And while it is possible to buy more storage with Google, many small businesses and individual users may not be able to purchase more storage for backups.

Screenshot depicting the WhatsApp backup size with and without videos

Is a Backup Size Feature to the Rescue?

WhatsApp seems to be aware of this new move from Google and is already working on a ‘Manage Backup Size’ feature. This feature will allow users to choose the content they wish to backup, including photos, videos, and other files. Currently, when making backups, your only option is deciding to include videos or not, so this will be a welcomed feature regardless of a storage limitation.

Not only will this feature allow users to choose what they want to backup, but it will also show them the size of the backup. This way, users will know how much of their storage quota will be used with their current backup.

Closing Thoughts

Although nothing has been announced officially by either Google or WhatsApp, it would appear that a backup storage limitation is not far off. This would mean that users’ WhatsApp backup would consume their Google Drive storage. While you can always pay to increase your Google Storage, WhatsApp is also working on a feature to help you choose what you back up. This is not great news as the speculated 2000GB of free WhatsApp backup storage will be filled up very quickly, leaving users with very few options.

How important are your WhatsApp backups to you? Will a limitation affect you?

WhatsApp Will Consume Your Google Drive Storage Data: Backup Size Feature in the Works?
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WhatsApp Will Consume Your Google Drive Storage Data: Backup Size Feature in the Works?
Google might introduce a WhatsApp storage limit that could take up your Drive storage quota. Read more about this development here.
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  1. Thaumiel said on November 21, 2021 at 3:53 pm

    It’s broadly recognized the WhatsApp development has been one garbare truck on fire from its inception until now and for the foreseeable future, its success truly unearned and undeserved especially so after its acquisition. I am not aware of any other application that likes to store often >100MB database files seven (7) times with few kilobytes differences between each. It’s absurd and truly detached from reality, but the best thing is that most of the times less-knowledgeable people have this malicious backup feature active without them knowing, their private messages happily stored –in clear– on Google property for them to do whatever they may do with them.

  2. Suman said on October 26, 2021 at 6:21 pm

    Telegram, the truly cross platform and the most reliable messaging app, deserves much more userbase.

    1. haribol aaron said on November 3, 2021 at 10:18 pm

      How about Signal? There’s a few niggles I have with it, but it’s been designed as secure from the start

      1. Plants said on January 2, 2022 at 11:32 pm

        Backing up and restoring is just as much a PITA in Signal as it is in Whatsapp.
        And migrating between platforms is either a huge pita or straight up impossible.

        There is still nothing that’s come even close to rivaling Telegram in terms of convenience and UX.
        I can use my account from an iPhone, an Android and desktop simultaneously, and all the chats and media are instantly available throughout all of my devices.
        If I get a new device, there is no need to backup or restore anything, just log in, and you get all your data instantly like you never even migrated.
        Not to mention that data doesn’t even take up any local space most of the time – TG can clear it every 3 days with the option to redownload whenever you want.

        Really I think Whatsapp and Signal are both basically stuck in Stone Age.

  3. Jay Libove said on October 19, 2021 at 10:56 am

    The article suggests that users may wish to “backup their WhatsApp history now”.
    Does this mean, use the current (non-encrypted) backup?
    Or, export somehow completely out of the Facebook/WhatsApp/Google ecosystem?
    If so, how do you propose to do this complete export? WhatsApp offers no way to do so. (It will email a few lines and a few pictures, but actually exporting the whole thing, as far as I know, can only be done with the third party browser extension Backup WhatsApp Chats by “fattynoparents”; the author works tirelessly to keep the extension working despite WhatsApp’s frequent changes).

  4. bigbroyahoe said on October 17, 2021 at 11:44 pm

    I think there’s a typo.. 2000 GB???

    1. Dan said on October 18, 2021 at 3:45 pm

      Thank you! I was just thinking the same thing!

      1. haribol aaron said on November 3, 2021 at 10:18 pm

        Was wondering the same thing … 2000 GB = 2 TB; that’s a lot, much more than a basic paid Google Drive at 100 GB … Was that supposed to be MB? If so, why not just say 2 GB?

  5. anoa said on October 15, 2021 at 10:35 am

    So, will the E2E encryption eventually become the default? Because if it remains opt-in it’s still pointless. Even you encrypt your backup, your friends may not, so Google/Apple can still read your messages to them.

  6. Anonymous said on October 15, 2021 at 4:35 am

    The most used messaging app doesn’t have inbuilt backup system.. What a joke.
    I hope more people use Line, you can sync multiple clients with it and all messages are auto backed up.

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