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WhatsApp Now Lets You Move Chats, Photos From Android to iPhone

Patrick Holland Managing Editor
Patrick Holland has been a phone reviewer for CNET since 2016. He is a former theater director who occasionally makes short films. Patrick has an eye for photography and a passion for everything mobile. He is a colorful raconteur who will guide you through the ever-changing, fast-paced world of phones, especially the iPhone and iOS. He used to co-host CNET's I'm So Obsessed podcast and interviewed guests like Jeff Goldblum, Alfre Woodard, Stephen Merchant, Sam Jay, Edgar Wright and Roy Wood Jr.
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  • Patrick's play The Cowboy is included in the Best American Short Plays 2011-12 anthology. He co-wrote and starred in the short film Baden Krunk that won the Best Wisconsin Short Film award at the Milwaukee Short Film Festival.
Patrick Holland
2 min read
A hand holding an iPhone 13 with a large WhatsApp logo on the screen

You can switch to an iPhone without the fear of leaving your WhatsApp chats and photos on your old Android phone.

James Martin/CNET

What's happening

Apple and WhatsApp made it possible to switch from an Android phone to iPhone and bring over your chat history, photos and videos.

Why it matters

WhatsApp has over 2 billion active users globally, and most use the app on Android. By allowing people to move to iOS without abandoning years of chat history, Apple could drive even more people to switch to an iPhone.

If you use WhatsApp and want to move from an Android phone to an iPhone, the fact that you can't move your WhatsApp message archive to iOS becomes a huge stumbling block. It might not seem like a critical issue, but there are over 2 billion people who use WhatsApp globally as their main contact with friends and family. Switching to an iPhone typically means they have to abandon years worth of photos and conversations in their WhatsApp message. My colleague Claire Reilly even took to carrying around two phones to solve the problem: her new iPhone and an old Android phone that had her WhatsApp history and media. 

Fortunately there's now a remedy: Move to iOS, an Android app Apple created. The app already helps people move their contacts, calendar, SMS messages and photos from an Android phone to an iPhone. As of Tuesday, you can now move your WhatsApp data from Android to iOS, too.

The majority of WhatsApp users are on Android. And it will be interesting to see if this convinces more people who use WhatsApp to switch to an iPhone.

Move to iOS encrypts WhatsApp data, which has to be authenticated on your iPhone before you can pick up where you left off. A beta version of WhatsApp for Android currently offers support for the process.

As far as requirements are concerned, here's what you need:

  • iPhone running iOS 15.5 
  • Android phone running Lollipop (Android 5)
  • The most recent version of Move to iOS from the Google Play Store
  • The most recent version of WhatsApp for Android

Once your WhatsApp data is on your new iPhone, you can back it up using iCloud.

This news falls a week after Apple announced new iOS 16 additions to its Messages app that include being able to unsend or edit sent messages.

Watch this: Apple Previews iOS 16 and a Bunch of New iPhone Features

iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Mini: Check out the redesigned camera module and smaller notch

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