WhatsApp just made transferring chat history so easy but there may be one big limit

WhatsApp is making it easier to transfer chat logs from your old phone to a new one just by scanning a QR code.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg made the initial announcement on his Instagram channel where he states this method lets you move your data privately without ever having to leave your devices.” Looking at the video he posted, you first open up the QR code on the older device, then scan said code on the newer phone. Give it about 10 seconds to finish up and you’re done. Other reports state the Chat Transfer tool can be found under the Chats section in the Settings menu.

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Compared to the old method of having to back up your history on either Google Drive or iCloud, this is a lot more straightforward. You’re effectively cutting out the middleman plus you don’t have to worry about hitting storage limits if your WhatsApp account has several gigabytes worth of media saved on it.

As great as this new feature may be, it appears there is a catch. TheVerge claims the QR code chat log transfer “only works between devices running the same operating system, so Android to Android or iOS to iOS.” If you want to move your data from, say, a Samsung Galaxy phone to an iPhone or vice versa, you’ll have to head over to WhatsApp’s Help Center for instructions on how to do so.

We asked Meta to confirm if this is true. We’ll update this story at a later time.


Meta is currently rolling out the Chat Transfer tool in waves to all its users. Be sure to keep an eye out for the patch once it arrives. No word if there are plans to add a similar feature to the desktop version of WhatsApp.

If any of this sounds familiar to you, that’s because WABetaInfo first revealed the update back in early May when it was only available to beta testers. The publication has since shown off other interesting changes coming to WhatsApp. For instance, a WhatsBeta beta on Android from late May introduces screen-sharing for video calls, which you can activate right after installation and try out with others. There are also plans to introduce multi-account support to the platform giving people a way to swap between profiles on the same smartphone.

While we have you, be sure to check out TechRadar's list of the best secure smartphones for June 2023.

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Don’t worry – Google Drive is already removing its new file limit

Google appears to have already stepped back from introducing a file limit to its online cloud storage platform.

Earlier this week, reports began to surface from Google Drive users across the globe that they had encountered new notifications about a seemingly newly-introduced account limit of five million files.

However, Google Drive has now officially responded to the reports, revealing that it will not be introducing a limit after all, and reassuring users that their files are safe.

There's no limit

“We recently rolled out a system update to Drive item limits to preserve stability and optimize performance,” the company's official Twitter account said. “While this impacted only a small number of people, we are rolling back this change as we explore alternate approaches to ensure a great experience for all.”

“If we need to make changes, we will communicate them to users in advance.”

The move was met with some alarm by Google Drive customers, who received no warning of the change, suggesting it may have been a mistake on the company's part.

The wording of the warning notification certainly didn't reassure users, who were confronted with a message reading, “Error 403: This account has exceeded the creation limit of 5 million items. To create more items, move items to the trash and delete them forever.”

One Reddit user was even given a notification telling them to, “Please delete 2 million files to continue using your Google Drive account.”

As we noted in our original story, five million files is a pretty big allowance in real terms. For users on Google Drive’s 2TB offering – the highest personal plan available – the average file size across an account would have to be 400 kilobytes (KB). 

That being said, there are certainly some instances where users may have that many files, for instance in the storage of large amounts of record data – but for the vast majority, users shouldn’t hit their limit, whatever Google decides that will be.

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Using Instagram’s time limit? Your sessions are about to double in length

Instagram has been beefing up its usage features in recent years by giving parents additional control over their sons and daughters' accounts, while also allowing users to set limits on how long they can use the app every day.

As reported by TechCrunch, the company has doubled its usage options from 15 minutes to 30 minutes, before you're greeted with a screen that limits you to use the app further for the rest of that day.

While it was assumed that this was because of new efforts by Meta, Instagram's parent company, to increase the time that users are on the app due to falling revenue, it's been dismissed by Instagram, explaining that the reason for the time increase was to give users additional time to manage their notifications.

However, while the feature can be difficult to find by going to Profile > Activity > Time Spent > Set time limit, there are other alternatives that could help limit your social media apps to any time you want on your device.

Analysis: there's better alternatives to controlling your usage

If you have an iPhone, you can use ScreenTime, a built-in feature of iOS that allows you to limit any app you have installed on your device. This can be limited to a certain time of day, or you can set a time limit. If you have more than one Apple device on the same AppleID account, you can apply these limits to all of your devices, thanks to iCloud.

But it's limited to your apps – ScreenTime doesn't currently allow you to extend your usage limits to the websites you visit. Apps like Ochi will be able to do this and will filter out certain sites if you try to go onto a social media site for example.

Android has its own take on this called Digital Wellbeing. This can do the same functions as ScreenTime, where you can set daily time limits to any app that's installed, except for website addresses.

These can easily replace Instagram's usage features, as they're arguably harder to find.

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You may occasionally spot a time when you're scrolling down your feed, and it prompts you that you've checked all the newest posts. But for usage limit options it's still hidden away.

While the increase in usage times makes sense, on one hand, there's no reason why Instagram could make another option available to set a custom time for all users, and in an area of the app where it's easier to spot.

But while the minimum is 30 minutes for the app, there's no reason why you can't use ScreenTime, Digital Wellbeing, and third-party options like Ochi to set your own time, regardless.

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