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 cloud backups by simply scanning a QR code displayed on your old phone with your new phone. “Data is only shared between your two devices and is fully encrypted during transfer,” says WhatsApp’s announcement of the new feature.
The new process has the potential to be a lot faster and easier than the existing cloud-based alternative, where you back up a history of your chats to iCloud or Google Drive and then download to a new device. And it conveniently avoids any cloud storage limits you might run into if, say, your chat and media backup exceeds the 5GB of free storage that comes with every iCloud account.
The feature only works between devices with the same operating system, i.e. Android to Android or iOS to iOS. If you want to transfer a chat history between the two, the process is slightly different depending on which direction you move your data. Here is WhatsApp’s help page to move from iphone to android, and here’s the page for it Android to iPhone.
WhatsApp’s announcement doesn’t specify an exact release date for the new feature, but WABetaInfo previously noted that it is slowly rolling out to beta testers on both Android And iOS. This, coupled with today’s official announcement, suggests that the feature’s wide availability isn’t too far off. Once available, you can access the feature by going to Settings, Chats and selecting “Chat Transfer” on your old device.