WhatsApp backups get a big upgrade in the new Android beta
WhatsApp will allow users to individually choose whether they want to store a backup of their images, videos, documents, audio and other files in the cloud.
WhatsApp is working on a feature that will give users more fine-grained control over what content they want to back up and exclude any specific file types that they don’t want to be stored in their linked cloud account. So far, the only control users have when it comes to creating a cloud backup is whether they want to include videos as well. The rest of the chat data like text chat history, images, files, sound clips, and some settings are automatically backed up to their linked Google Drive or iCloud account.
While limitations still exist when it comes to restoring cross-platform WhatsApp data, another issue that comes to the fore is the size of the backup. For users, especially those who exchange a lot of documents and images, creating a cloud backup can be time consuming, as can the restore process. Additionally, those with a limited mobile data plan may find it a bit more expensive to create a cloud backup of their entire WhatsApp chat log, even after excluding videos.
It looks like WhatsApp is working on a new feature that will allow users to select which files they want to save to their linked cloud account when creating a backup. In the latest beta version of WhatsApp (v126.96.36.199, now available through Google Play), WABetaInfo spotted the mention of a more fleshed out backup page in the Settings section of the app where the user gets dedicated toggles for photos, audio, videos, documents, and other media shared in their chats. Previously, the only toggle available to users was backing up videos to the cloud which could then be restored to another device or after deleting the app. For reference, it doesn’t look like the changes are widely available to all beta testers running the latest version v188.8.131.52 on Android.
A faster and more secure backup experience
The biggest benefit of a more granular chat backup section is that users can control which files they want to back up to their linked cloud service. Reducing junk files that are not worth saving will certainly speed up the process and consume less data, which is especially useful for those who do business through WhatsApp and frequently share product image catalogs. However, the biggest benefit of a controlled data backup process on WhatsApp is the security aspect. Facebook says it can’t access data stored as a backup on a cloud service, even though recent activity may not inspire much confidence.
Cloud services are not immune to hackers. For example, there was the infamous iCloud hack that led to sensitive images of several celebrities being leaked online. Facebook recently promised that it will secure backups soon with end-to-end encryption and also explained in detail an upgraded security key feature, although these tools have not yet been widely released. It seems that recent privacy legal setbacks have forced Facebook to roll out more robust security-focused tools for its platforms and that’s a good thing for users.
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