Almost every week WhatsApp launches a new feature that makes the messaging service better for its users.
The latest addition is a way to transfer your WhatsApp chat history between devices on the same operating system. It means you can quickly put everything – messages, photos, videos, attachments and other media – on a second phone without leaving the app.
It’s been possible to do this using third-party apps in the past, but WhatsApp says that the new, official way avoids potentially questionable privacy practices and is more private than using cloud services.
That’s because the data is sent directly from one phone to the other when you scan a QR code and – as ever – everything is fully encrypted during transfer.
It’s also a faster option than backing up your chat history on the first device and then restoring it on the other.
The limitation is that the feature works only on devices of the same type, which means iPhone to iPhone and Android to Android, not cross platform. Maybe that will come in the future, but for now, you need to have devices with the same operating system.
To transfer your chats, you must have both devices to hand. They need to be connected to Wi-Fi and have location enabled.
On the old phone, go to Settings > Chats > Chat transfer and – on the new phone – scan the QR code shown on the screen to complete the process.
The new feature is handy if you’ve already set up a new phone because, previously, if you wanted to move your WhatsApp chats, you had to do it as part of the initial process.
Of course, if you want to use WhatsApp on both phones and aren’t selling or trading in the old phone, you can just link the new phone to your old one thanks to the fact that WhatsApp now lets you have multiple phones as linked devices.