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WhatsApp’s Android to iOS chat transfer could be coming soon to iPhones

WhatsApp emojis
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Last year, the Meta-owned chat app WhatsApp introduced a long-awaited feature that allowed users moving from iPhone to Android to take their chat histories with them

Considering long-term users could have more than a decade’s worth of history with the app, that was long overdue, but there were certain caveats. Firstly, the feature was only for select flagship Samsung handsets at the time, with support for more devices to follow. Secondly, the feature only worked one way: you could transfer from iPhone to Android, but not the other way around.

It looks like that will soon be changing. WABetaInfo spotted references to the feature in the latest beta of WhatsApp for iOS, and while the transfer feature isn’t live at the moment, there’s enough to go on to suggest that it won’t be long before it works in some fashion.

A screenshot of WhatsApp's Android to iOS chat transfer feature

(Image credit: WABetaInfo)

Included in the WhatsApp beta are the two screenshots above, which give you an idea of how the transfer feature will work. After granting your device permission to access your chat history, you’ll then be able to shift it via Apple’s Move to iOS app, as long as you keep your phone unlocked and the app open. You’d imagine that large chat histories — my nine-year history is 4GB as of this morning, according to WhatsApp — will take some time.  

It does look like this is a one-time offer, though: “You will not be able to import later if you skip this step,” the screenshot text warns. Still, if you’re actively trying to move away from Android to iOS, you’re unlikely to miss that important step.

One less barrier to switching 

The report is light on key details like when the WhatsApp Android to iOS chat transfer feature will go live and whether only certain phones will be eligible. (Hopefully, it won’t be phone exclusive, but it may require Android 12 or later, say). But this is undoubtedly one less barrier for iPhone-curious types looking to make the switch with their next upgrade.

I consider myself amongst that group. While the last (and only) iPhone I’ve owned was the iPhone 3GS, I would certainly be open to trying the next one when my current aging Samsung Galaxy S10e breathes its last.

Sad as it sounds, the prospect of losing nine years of WhatsApp chats would actually prevent me from leaving Android, even though it’s not exactly what you dip into for light reading. Even though the search function is comfortably among the worst I’ve used, being able to look up things I’ve sent or received over the past decade is extremely handy, and I’d be loath to give that up.

It looks like I soon may no longer have to. That makes a switch to iOS a lot more appealing to me, and I’m sure I’m not the only one now who would consider their options.

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.