As a bit of a surprise announcement at Samsung’s Unpacked event today, WhatsApp revealed it would finally allow you to transfer your chat history from iOS to Android. It’s about time.
While WhatsApp has long allowed you to load a backup of your chats onto a new device, you’ve traditionally had to stick to the same OS. WhatsApp says that in the coming weeks, users will be able to bring their conversations from iOS devices to Samsung ones running Android 10 or higher. This includes voice notes and photos in addition to text.
There have been workarounds to transfer your messages from one platform to another, but many of them are paid or buggy. This is the first time there’s been an easy solution.
As for why it’s taken so long, WhatsApp says that due to the app’s end-to-end encryption, “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.” It seems like the company was finally able to overcome these hurdles, at least with Samsung devices.
For those of us in the US, this may not seem like that big of the deal, but in much of the rest of the world, WhatsApp is as common as plain old texting — if not more so. The inability to move your messages from one platform to another could be a serious deterrent from switching.
It goes the other way around too, by the way; you’ll be able to send your backups from Android to iOS.
The feature is rolling out first to Samsung’s new Flip and Fold phones, with other Samsung phones to follow in the coming weeks. Presumably, this will arrive on other Android phones eventually, but we’ve contacted WhatsApp for clarification and will update this post if we hear back.