WhatsApp’s fabled data migration tool is flocking to Samsung’s new foldables first

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A few weeks ago, we reported that evidence was found showing Android was working on a WhatsApp update to Google’s Data Migration Tool. It’s the tool that’s used by the setup wizard when switching to a new Android device. Although it was pretty clear this was a certainty, we hadn’t had any official confirmation… until last night.

At Samsung’s Unpacked event, the company revealed its new range of foldable smartphones and the new Watch series, but it didn’t stop there. Samsung also showed off that users switching from iOS to Android, specifically its new Galaxy Z series phones, will be able to, almost effortlessly, transfer their WhatsApp experience using a cable.

In the demo, Samsung showed an iPhone, connected to a Galaxy phone, transfer chat history and media via a USB cable. This functionality will be available to the Galaxy Z Flip 3 and Galaxy Z Fold 3 from launch. You’ll need to have the latest version of Smart Switch on your Galaxy device and WhatsApp on your old iPhone.

Switching WhatsApp made easy — sorta

There are some important bits to note. The cable being used is a Lightning to USB-C. If you have one of those laying around then good for you. Chances are you probably don’t though because they don’t come standard with any device, so you’ll need to get one. We’re hoping a wireless option isn’t too far off.

If you already have two different WhatsApp backups then the tool will not merge them. Instead, when you transfer your WhatsApp data to an Android phone and then back it up, the new backup will overwrite your old Android backup. We’re assuming this means the backup in your iCloud will remain there but receive no further updates.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, Samsung notes that “WhatsApp can only be migrated before sign-in on the new device.” And that, “If someone signs into WhatsApp before migration or before Smart Switch is done transferring data, the migration will not be possible.”

In teeny tiny little text, Samsung also noted that it will be rolling out the update to devices running Android 10.0 or above, other than its foldables, through 2021, but has provided no exact dates just yet.

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I've been interested in tech for as long as I can remember. A few facts about me; I learnt how to code when I was 5, I helped Mark Shuttleworth develop Ubuntu when I was 9 and now I write for a tech publication. Only one of those facts is true. I also have a drama degree, hence the writing.

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