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 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 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.
WhatsApp’s announcement doesn’t list an exact release date for the new feature, but WABetaInfo previously spotted that it’s been slowly rolling out to beta testers on both Android and iOS. This, combined with today’s official announcement, suggests widespread availability of the feature isn’t too far away. Once available, you’ll be able to access the feature by heading into Settings, Chats, and selecting “Chat transfer” on your old device.