Google Photos will no longer back up WhatsApp and Instagram images by default

It's designed to "save internet resources" during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Steve Dent/Engadget

Google Photos will no longer back up images from WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and other messaging and social media services, the service announced (via Android Police). According to a community message, Google is doing it to save resources because “people are sharing more photos and videos” during the COVID-19 pandemic. The change appears to be temporary and you can manually re-enable backups for any service of your choice.

Many folks might not even be aware that Google is doing this and of course images are usually kept by your messaging app until you delete them. With many folks still in lockdown exchanging images and video, Google Photos may have been consuming a fair amount of your bandwidth behind the scenes. Other services including YouTube and Netflix made moves to reduce bandwidth strain caused by the Pandemic several months ago.

On my own phone, folders for Twitter, downloads, Instagram, screenshots, Slack and WhatsApp all have “back up & sync” disabled. Other services affected include LINE, Helo, Snapchat, Viber and Messenger, an XDA developer told Android Police. If you rely on Photos to backup images from those sites and others, here’s how to turn it back on.