WhatsApp finally has a confirmed timeline for the feature that you were probably waiting for, to use once every few years when you buy a new phone. Switch WhatsApp chats between an Android phone and an Apple iPhone. And vice-versa. It was one of the most demanded, and indeed one of the most anticipated features for WhatsApp through most of last year and indeed this year. At a time when WhatsApp has been on a feature-adding spree, that will also see the ability to have your WhatsApp accessible on multiple devices, sometime soon. The thing about WhatsApp allowing you to finally move chats between Android phones and the Apple iPhone—Samsung’s newest Galaxy phones get the first bite of the cherry. The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 specifically.
The good news and the bad news. Good news if you are buying the new Samsung Galaxy foldable phones, and slightly good news if you own a Samsung phone. Bad news if you have any other Android phone. WhatsApp says, and bear with me on this one, the switch from iOS to Android will start to roll out on Android initially, and specifically on Samsung’s newest Galaxy phones to start off with. In the coming weeks, and this is the second stage—more Samsung Galaxy phone buyers will be able to switch WhatsApp chats from the iPhone they may be giving up, to their new Samsung Galaxy phone. WhatsApp says this will happen “in the coming weeks”. Which Samsung Galaxy phones get this first in the second wave of availability, isn’t known yet. Your guess is as good as mine.
Stage three will be the availability of this feature to all Android phone users and also the rollout on iOS which will allow someone who is buying a new Apple iPhone to bring over their WhatsApp chats from the Android phone they are replacing. Facebook-owned WhatsApp does confirm that you’ll be able to move the entire WhatsApp chat history, including voice notes, photos and conversations, over in one fine swoop. This will be the first time WhatsApp officially makes such a feature available. Till now, WhatsApp on Android phones used the Google Drive storage for making chat backups while WhatsApp for iPhone used the iCloud storage for chat backups.
“One of our most requested features from our users is that they’d like a simple way to take their WhatsApp chat history with them when they change mobile operating systems. Unlike some of our competitors who use cloud-based messaging, all of your personal WhatsApp messages are end-to-end encrypted by default and stored on your device. This means that taking your WhatsApp history with you between platforms requires additional work from WhatsApp and operating systems and device manufacturers to build it in a secure and reliable way. Together with the world’s largest operating systems and mobile manufacturers, we’re now making that possible,” says the company in an official statement, highlighting the advantages of end-to-end encryption, an advantage that WhatsApp has talked about time and again, over rivals including Signal and Telegram.