Tag Archives: WhatsApp

WhatsApp Now Lets You Transfer Your Chat History From Android to iPhone



Today, Mark Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook, “We’re adding to WhatsApp the ability to securely switch between phones and transfer your chat history, photos, and voice messages between Android and iPhone while maintaining end-to-end encryption. This is a top requested feature. We launched the ability to switch from iPhone —-> iPhone as well.”

It appears that this was first spotted by the WABBetaInfo website. It provided information for people who want to migrate their chat history from Android to iOS. The first thing to know is that you need to have at least Android 5 installed on your Android device and iOS 15.5 on your iPhone.WABBetaInfo says that since iOS 16 is a beta version, it is not guaranteed that it will work since WhatsApp does not provide support for beta versions of iOS.

When you transfer your chat history across different platforms, WhatsApp is not able to see the data you transfer. In addition, you need to manually enable the end-to-end encrypted backup option right within WhatsApp for iPhone if you want, even if you already enabled encrypted backups on WhatsApp for Android.

The Verge points out that if you already have a preexisting iOS chat history, then the imported Android history will overwrite it. That’s definitely something to consider if you are someone who likes to save your chats.

Engadget reported that the WhatsApp feature will help you move your content over from Android to iOS. It will be part of Apple’s existing “Move to iOS” tool. To be clear, WhatsApp’s feature is available as a beta for now, so you may encounter bugs during the transfer process.

According to Engadget, when you select WhatsApp, it will open automatically and prompt you to give permission to move your data over to iOS. Depending on the amount of content you have, it’ll take awhile to package everything up and transfer it to your iPhone. Apple will also pre-load the WhatsApp icon on your home page so you can just tap it to finish installing it on your new iPhone, instead of having to go through the App Store.

TechCrunch reported that the process you use to transfer to iOS also can be used to transfer your account information, profile picture, individual chats, group chats, chat history, media and settings. However, you can’t transfer your call history or display name.

Overall, it sounds to me like the ability to transfer your WhatsApp information from Android to iOS could be enticing for people who were already thinking about getting an iPhone. One thing to keep in mind is that Meta (parent company of Facebook and Instagram) owns WhatsApp.


WhatsApp Announced New Features



WhatsApp announced that they are excited to share that emoji reactions are now available on the latest version of the app. Reactions are fun, fast, and they reduce overload in groups too. WhatsApp will continue improving them by adding an even broader range of expressions in the future.

In addition, you can now send files within WhatsApp up to 2GB in size at a time, protected by end-to-end encryption. This is an increase from the previous limit of 100MB and we think it will be helpful for collaboration among small businesses and school groups. We recommend using WiFi for larger files and we’ll display a counter while uploading or downloading to let you know how long your transfer will take.

WhatsApp is also giving users the option to add more people to a chat, which was one of their top requests from users. WhatsApp is slowly rolling out the ability to add up to 512 people to a group. Building private, safe, and secure communities takes work and WhatsApp thinks this series of improvements will help people and groups to stay close to one another.

To me, it sounds like WhatsApp is trying to compete with Twitter’s recently announced a feature called Twitter Circle. It lets Twitter users add up to 150 close friends – who will be the only ones that can see the tweets you put into your Circle. WhatsApp allows 512 people in their chats, which might be appealing for those who want to be able to add more than the 150 that Twitter allows.

9to5Mac reported that WhatsApp users in Brazil will have to wait a few months more for the new features. According to 9to5Mac, WhatsApp stated: “Based solely on our long-term strategy for Brazil, this last functionality will only be implemented after being tested in other markets”.

That “last functionality” appears to be the ability to add up to 512 people to a group. 9to5Mac stated: As a matter of fact, with presidential elections coming in October, this is part of the Brazilian Superior Court’s attempt to prevent the spread of fake news and misinformation through groups – as it occurs in other apps, such as Telegram.

Mashable reported that last month WhatsApp announced Communities, which are another way to expand group chats by knitting Groups together into a Community – just like Slack.

I have never used WhatsApp, but I can see where it would be appealing to be able to use emoji Reactions on it. The ability to send files up to 2GB in size at a time could be useful for artists who want to show their latest painting, drawing or photo to specific friends. WhatsApp says those files would be protected by end-to-end encryption, which might make people feel more secure about sharing those kinds of files.

On May 3, WhatsApp tweeted: “Pro-tip: Now you can put 32 of your favorite people in ONE voice call. Sharing good news with your whole family means hearing all the joy and laughter in one easy call.” I can see where this feature would be useful, but it’s not for me.


WhatsApp Lets Users Control How Long Messages Stick Around



WhatsApp announced that they are providing users with more options to control their messages and how long they stick around, with default disappearing messages and multiple durations. This makes sense considering that WhatsApp introduced disappearing messages last year, and a way for photos and videos to immediately disappear after being viewed once.

WhatsApp users will now have the option to turn on disappearing messages by default for all new chats. When enabled, all new one-on-one chats you or another person start will be set to disappear at your chosen duration, and we’ve added a new option when creating a group chat that lets you turn it on for groups you create. This new feature does not change or delete any of your existing chats.

Two new durations for disappearing messages have been added: 24 hours and 90 days, as well as the existing option of 7 days. If you want to enable the new durations, or change the ones you have, go to Privacy and select “Default Message Timer”.

Based on WhatsApp’s blog post, it appears these decisions may have been influenced by the pandemic. The company wrote, “Living apart from family and friends for over a year has made it clearer than ever that just because we can’t physically talk in person, it doesn’t mean we should have to sacrifice the privacy of our personal conversations.”

The WhatsApp blog also states: “We believe disappearing messages along with end-to-end encryption are two crucial features that define what it means to be a private messaging service today, and bring us one step closer to the feeling of an in-personal conversation.”

The Verge pointed out that WhatsApp is owned by Meta (along with Facebook and Instagram). If you don’t currently use Facebook products, you might want to consider if you trust Meta enough to do the right thing with your data.


WhatsApp Users Must Comply with Update or Lose App’s Functionality



WhatsApp issued a privacy policy that will go into effect on May 15, 2021. Those who have not agreed to the policy will slowly have portions of the functionality of WhatsApp become inaccessible.

To me, it sounds like WhatsApp (and its parent company, Facebook) are using this tactic to pressure users into accepting the privacy policy.This could backfire if people choose leave WhatsApp in favor of similar apps like Signal and Telegram.

For the last several weeks we’ve displayed a notification in WhatsApp providing more information about the update. After giving everyone time to review, we’re continuing to remind those who haven’t had the chance to do so to review and accept. After a period of several weeks, the reminder people receive will eventually become persistent.

A post on the WhatsApp website explains what will happen to users who don’t accept the privacy policy on May 15, 2021:

No one will have their account deleted or lose functionality of WhatsApp on May 15th because of this update.

After receiving a persistent reminder, users will encounter limited functionality on WhatsApp until you accept the updates. It appears this will not happen to all users at the same time,

Here is what non-complying users will experience:

  • You won’t be able to access your chat list, but you can still answer incoming phone and video calls. If you have notifications enabled, you can tap on them to read or respond to a message or call back a missed phone or video call.
  • After a few weeks of limited functionality, you won’t be able to receive incoming calls or notifications and WhatsApp will stop sending messages and calls to your phone.

In short, if you want to continue using WhatsApp – and have access to all of its functionality – you have no choice other than to accept the privacy policy. This is not a good look for WhatsApp (or Facebook). I understand that WhatsApp and Facebook have a right to create privacy policies. I think they should have handled this situation in a kinder, more ethical, way.


FTC Sues Facebook for Illegal Monopolization



The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it has sued Facebook. The FTC alleges that Facebook is illegally maintaining its personal social network monopoly through a years-long course of anticompetitive conduct. The lawsuit comes after a lengthy investigation in cooperation with a coalition of attorneys general of 46 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam.

The FTC is seeking a permanent injunction in federal court that could, among other things: require divestitures of assets, including Instagram and WhatsApp; prohibit Facebook from imposing anticompetitive conditions on software developers; and require Facebook to seek prior notice and approval for future mergers and acquisitions.

A separate lawsuit is led by New York Attorney General Letitia James, who stated that: “The lawsuit alleges that, over the last decade, the social networking giant illegally acquired competitors in a predatory manner and cut services to smaller threats – depriving users from the benefits of competition and reducing privacy protections and services along the way – all in an effort to boost its bottom line through increased advertising revenue.”

The Verge reported that this lawsuit centers on Facebook’s acquisitions, particularly its $1 billion purchase of Instagram in 2011. In addition to its acquisition strategy, the attorneys general allege that Facebook used the power and reach of its platform to stifle user growth for competing services. The Verge also reported that the FTC case cites Facebook’s decision to block Vine’s friend-finding feature after the Twitter acquisition as a particularly flagrant instance of this behavior.

To me, it seems like Facebook could potentially face some legal consequences as a result of one – or both – of these lawsuits. It will be interesting to see what would happen if Facebook is required to seperate itself from Instagram and WhatsApp. If Facebook is required to improve user privacy, I think many people would want to know the specific details about how it will do that.


WhatsApp Bot Gives Out Covid-19 Information



The amount of misinformation around novel coronavirus and Covid-19 is staggering and presents a real danger both to the health of individuals and the wider community. To combat this threat, the UK Government has launched a WhatsApp bot to provide authoritative information on the virus.

The new free service aims to provide official, trustworthy and timely information about coronavirus (Covid-19) and reduce the burden on the National Health Service (NHS) and other under-pressure resources.

To engage with the bot, its phone number is 07860 064422 in the UK and connections are accepted from outside the country on +44 7860 064422.

Using the Covid-19 Bot is a little like using an interactive phone system: it’s respond “1 for this, 2 for that”.

     

Prof Yvonne Doyle, Medical Director, Public Health England, said, “This service will help us ensure the public has a trusted source for the right information about coronavirus, updated with the latest public health guidance and providing assurance that they are not misled by any of the false information circulating.

The Bot doesn’t check symptoms or provide diagnoses – it’s purely for information – but it does provide guidance on what to do if you think you have Covid-19, although the guidance information is UK-centric.

Pressing “7” offers a “mythbusters” section from the World Health Organisation that debunks many of the rumours around Covid-19. Some of the myths are pretty farfetched but now there’s an official source to refute them.

The ubiquity of WhatsApp makes it a great tool for this kind of information dissemination but a downside of WhatsApp is that it requires word of mouth to pass the number on – there’s no central index. So get the word out.


How to Backup WhatsApp with Google Drive



An email from the Google Drive Team dropped into my inbox earlier this week to let me know that from November any WhatsApp backups won’t count against my storage quota on Google Drive. It’s welcome news especially for heavy WhatsApp users with the basic 15 GB Drive allowance.

Unaware that WhatsApp did backups? It’s worth checking out as it’s one of the app’s best features. It’s especially useful for moving to a new phone or if needing to do a factory reset as all the chats, photos and videos get restored to the new device. It’s also very straightforward to set up and once done, the backups happen in the background on a regular basis.

Here’s are the steps. On Android, to get WhatsApp configured for backups, hit the three dots in the top right and tap on “Settings”, then “Chats”.

    

On the “Chats” screen, it’s “Chat backup” and the “Chat backup” dialog is where all the not-very-hard work is done.

        

Choose how often the backup needs to happen, the account to use, whether to include videos and so on. I recommend daily backups over WiFi only with videos. Once configured, the green “BACK UP” button can be used to immediately send the chats to Google Drive. On Google Drive, the WhatsApp chats are stored in the “Backups” section – it’s blanked out because the mobile number is included in the name of the backup file.

When it comes to restoring a backup, it has to be done the first time the WhatsApp app is run after installation and WhatsApp will display a message about it. It’s not possible to restore to an old backup after using the app for awhile.

That’s it. Just do it now.