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WhatsApp makes it easier to transfer chat histories between devices

WhatsApp makes it easier to transfer chat histories between devices


Rather than going through the cloud, the new QR code-based feature transfers your data locally as long as both devices are running the same OS.

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Image showing WhatsApp chat history transfer between two phones
Image: WhatsApp

Transferring your WhatsApp messages and large attachments between phones running the same operating system could soon be a little easier. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced a new chat transfer feature that bypasses any cloud backups simply by scanning a QR code shown on your old phone with your new phone. “Data is only shared between your two devices, and is fully encrypted during transfer,” WhatsApp’s announcement of the new feature says.

The transfer happens as part of the setup process, WhatsApp spokesperson Ellie Heatrick explains, and you’ll be logged out from WhatsApp on your old device once the transfer completes.

The new process has the potential to be a lot quicker and easier than the existing cloud-based alternative, which involves backing up a history of your chats to iCloud or Google Drive and then downloading it to a new device. And it handily avoids any cloud storage limits you might run into if your chat and media backup is, for example, larger than the 5GB of free storage included with every iCloud account. The new transfer process will not replace the existing cloud-based process, which will continue to remain available.

The feature only works between devices running the same operating system, so Android to Android or iOS to iOS. If you’re looking to transfer a chat history between the two, then the process is slightly different depending on which direction you’re moving your data. Here’s WhatsApp’s help page for moving from iPhone to Android, and here’s the page for Android to iPhone.

The feature is rolling out globally in the coming days, according to Heatrick. WABetaInfo previously spotted that it’s been slowly rolling out to beta testers on both Android and iOS. Once available, you’ll be able to access the feature by heading into Settings, Chats, and selecting “Chat transfer” on your old device.

Update July 3rd, 10:53AM ET: Updated with additional details of the rollout.