As a tech writer who has reviewed plenty of smartphones over the last decade, people are often surprised when they see the handset I personally use. And not just because its frame is an offensively bright yellow (let’s just say that Black Friday discounts can cloud one's judgement).
No, the reason for surprise is that I’m still rocking a Samsung Galaxy S10e — a handset that’s now more than three years old. And while I would indeed love the latest and greatest, I’m trying to stick it out for environmental reasons. But with a battery capacity that can now charitably be described as “barely adequate” (it dropped from 12% to zero and switched off during a gig on Friday), it’s nearly time to upgrade.
This time, I’m thinking of breaking the habit of a decade and abandoning Android for iOS. I haven’t used one of the best iPhones since Peggle occupied all my time on the 3GS, but I fancy a change, swipe texting is now a thing and I can even chip in with iOS guides for this very website.
But one thing is holding me back, and it has nothing to do with Apple.
What’s up with WhatsApp?
Like many people, for me WhatsApp has made SMS texting redundant and is my main mode of communication. Jumping between Android devices over the last decade has been easy, with entire chat histories following my journey in minutes.
But that’s not the case if you want to switch operating systems. Yes, you can transfer from iOS to select Samsung Galaxy phones, but there’s no official method for going the other way. And all the unofficial methods I’ve found sound… dicey (opens in new tab).
WhatsApp says this functionality is on the way “in the coming months” (opens in new tab), which sounds great! The trouble is that this webpage has made this promise since at least last September, and it strikes me that “coming months” can mean anything between “July 2022” and “the heat death of the universe”.
There are no doubt plenty of people reading about my dilemma and thinking “yeah, so what?” I both understand and envy that devil-may-care mindset. For me, and I imagine millions of neurotic people like me, having a searchable record of past chats feels (definitely not the same as “is”) essential, and burning it all for a change of operating systems just isn’t something I can easily do.
No doubt if I just did it and switched, I’d quickly forget my discomfort, but that’s not the point! It’s apparently possible and coming soon… and so I wait.
In the meantime, I’m leaning on my journalistic privileges and trying to quiz WhatsApp on if they have a more specific date in mind. If and when I get a response, I’ll update this to share with my fellow hanger-oners.
All the while, the clock ticks ever closer to the anticipated September 2022 release date of the iPhone 14. If we reach the year anniversary of WhatsApp’s “coming months” promise being made with no progress, then unfortunately it looks like I’m stuck with Android for another generation.
But at least I’ll have my chat records intact.