Six Colors
Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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by Jason Snell

Apple, WhatsApp add iPhone migration feature

Apple and WhatsApp announced on Tuesday that the popular chat service has been rolled into Apple’s Move to iOS system, which allows Android users to migrate their data to the iPhone. Here’s the announcement from Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook page(?!):

We’re adding to WhatsApp the ability to securely switch between phones and transfer your chat history, photos, videos, 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—>Android last year, and now adding Android—>iPhone as well.

Here’s how this works: When Move to iOS requests WhatsApp data, it gets an encrypted bundle that Apple can’t read. That bundle is sent to the iPhone via peer-to-peer networking, like everything else in the migration process. When a user taps on the WhatsApp icon on the home screen on the iPhone, the app is downloaded and installed from the App Store. When they log in to WhatsApp (with the same phone number as the old phone), they’ll then be able to unlock and import the transferred bundle of data.

Interestingly, the infrastructure to enable this change is already enabled in both iOS 15.5 (the currently shipping version) and in the current version of the Move to iOS app in the Google Play Store. What’s changed today is that WhatsApp has flipped the switch on the server side to allow this feature to begin rolling out slowly, first to people opted into the WhatsApp beta testing environment over the next week, and then eventually to everyone on the service.

—Linked by Jason Snell

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