WhatsApp can now transfer chat history between iPhone and Android — here's how

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Switching between iPhone and Android has always been a pain, but a new WhatsApp update should make jumping from one operating system to the other much easier. 

WhatsApp says it's a forthcoming feature will allow both iOS and Android users to move their entire chat history, voice notes and photos between devices. The announcement came as part of the Galaxy Unpacked event where Samsung introduced the new Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3 foldable phones.

During the presentation, the feature was shown using Samsung's Smart Switch app, which is only available on Samsung devices. The app helps transfer contacts, photos, music messages, notes and more between iPhone and other Android devices to Samsung handsets. 

It may be limited to Samsung phones for now, but WhatsApps transfer feature isn't staying that way. In a separate announcement, Whatsapp said both Android and iOS users will be able to take advantage of the feature, meaning Android users will be able to use it when switching to Apple devices. The feature's coming to Android first, according to Whatsapp.

Using the feature sounds straightforward, at least for Samsung devices. Users will need to connect their phones via a USB Type-C to Type-C or Lightning cable, launch the Smart switch app, scan the QR code with the old handset and the export should start. Users will then also need to sign into WhatsApp on their new device to complete the import. 

Because WhatsApp messages are encrypted and stored on the device, developers had to create a tool to move chat history along with additional support from Google, Apple and device manufacturers. 

"Your WhatsApp messages belong to you," said Sandeep Paruchuri, product manager at WhatsApp in a statement put out by the company. "That’s why they are stored on your phone by default, and not accessible in the cloud like many other messaging services. 

"We’re excited for the first time to make it easy for people to securely transfer their WhatsApp history from one operating system to another. This has been one of our most requested features from users for years and we worked together with operating systems and device manufacturers to solve it."

Imad Khan

Imad is currently Senior Google and Internet Culture reporter for CNET, but until recently was News Editor at Tom's Guide. Hailing from Texas, Imad started his journalism career in 2013 and has amassed bylines with the New York Times, the Washington Post, ESPN, Wired and Men's Health Magazine, among others. Outside of work, you can find him sitting blankly in front of a Word document trying desperately to write the first pages of a new book.