WhatsApp is finally getting this handy chat feature

(Image credit: Allie Zru)

WhatsApp is finally rolling out a feature that will let users transfer their chats and messages between iOS and Android devices. The move is long overdue but will benefit users who are considering switching from Android to iPhone and vice versa.

WABetaInfo shared the news on Twitter, noting that it’s not live in the WhatsApp beta yet, so it’s not available for anyone to try out. But if you want to migrate your chats between the two operating systems, the update will let you do so, even if you’re carrying over the same phone number. 

Currently, there’s no way to move your chat history between Android and iOS devices without violating the app’s terms of service. So while you can use unsupported, third-party apps to take care of the job, it’s not advisable. The new update will do away with the need for a workaround, but there’s no news on when it might go live just yet.  

In the meantime, WhatsApp is also working on end-to-end encryption for backups. The feature is currently under development, and will offer the added security of password protection. If you opt for end-to-end encrypted backups, you’ll be prompted to set up a password which will be used in future instances of backups. You’ll be able to change the password or disable the feature in the app settings. 

WABetaInfo notes that the password is private and won’t be shared with WhatsApp or parent company Facebook, but stresses that if you lose or forget your password, “WhatsApp cannot help you to restore an encrypted end-to-end backup” without it. That sounds like a pretty dire state of affairs, but if you find yourself in that situation, you’ll be able to create a recovery key, so no need to panic. 

There’s no timeline on when this feature might arrive — only that improved iOS and Android integration will be coming as part of WhatsApp’s ongoing commitment to better multi-device support. All we can do is wait, and sign up for the WhatsApp beta program on both Apple’s Test Flight and Google Play

Unfortunately the iOS beta program is full at the moment, so you’ll need to keep checking back to see whether any space opens up — though the Android version doesn’t seem to have that problem at the moment. Either way, we'll report back when we have any more info about the update.

Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.