I am not sure if this is the case, but when you do iCloud Backup of your phone, it will backup Whatsapp. ( I am unsure if this include the Photos and Video )

Then Whatsapp itself has backup option to backup itself in iCloud Drive Backup.

Is that a double Backup? Because i see 2.1GB inside the iCloud Backup, and then 1.7Gb inside document and settings.

  • 1
    I really wonder that this is not discussed more often. I came here because on my girlfriend's iPhone the iCloud space Apple provides free of charge, currently 5GB, was full and a backup was no longer possible. Half of it was taken by the photo library and the other half by WhatsApp. Reducing that is makes a big difference.
    – Tim Büthe
    Dec 7, 2016 at 20:09

4 Answers 4


Yes, if you have device backup and WhatsApp chat backup turned on, you will indeed be making two backups for WhatsApp. In my case, this means 2 x 1.5GB.

The following unofficial info should help you make a decision on whether to keep both, or turn one of them off. Disclosure, this is not my info, I did find it elsewhere:

The iCloud backup and having the device backup does duplicate data. Backing up the phone will back up whatsapp, so if you restored to a new phone even without enabling the inbuilt backup your data would be there.

If you enable the whatsapp iCloud backup you are able to restore your data to a new phone, without performing a full iCloud restore. Personally I would keep the in built whatsapp backup enabled and untick it from the complete iPhone backup. I swap my backup often between my two phones using just the built in whatsapp feature, without restoring etc.

Source: https://www.reddit.com/r/ios/comments/3pz8hh/how_does_the_whatsapp_app_backup_work/

  • Thanks, I got the answer myself long ago. But it was nice that you answered anyway. Just a side note. Turning on iCloud Backup in Whatsapp will causes your iCloud on Mac to constantly take up all your bandwidth. ( It will keep download the Whatsapp iCloud in a loop ). This is a bug that I have reported long ago and no yet fixed.
    – Ksec
    Aug 4, 2016 at 8:27
  • Hello, thanks for this - rare - piece of information. I would add that by default (at least on iphone) the builtin whatsapp backup is excluding videos, while the iOS standard backup saves up everything (and cannot be setup differently I think.) So, basically it means that turning off the iOS backup would mean a greater loss of data (videos in that case) in case of phone loss/break.
    – Zzirconium
    Jan 8 at 10:00

Go to WhatsApp - Settings - Chats - Backup, and see how much space Whatsapp is trying to upload (you can choose to not include videos to reduce most of the size)

Now, there are 2 Whatsapp backup switches to handle, they are both on by default, hence, by default, WhatsApp is an odd and inconvenient outlier since (compared to iCloud Photo library) it literally duplicates the space required if both switches are on, let me explain:

1st switch: iPhone Settings app > Tap your name in the top > iCloud > scroll down to see the switch (this switch creates a live backup that allows for an independent backup, meaning you don't need to restore your whole iPhone to restore this backup, you can delete WhatsApp Only and said backup will be detected when you reinstall WhatsApp). You get to pick your frequency

2nd switch: iPhone Settings app > Tap your name in the top > iCloud > Manage Storage > click "Backup" green icon row > Click your device > here you have a list of your TOTAL apps, each might save a tiny bit of settings info for each app (not the app itself), this is a packaged backup that also saves your downloaded app list (no matter if you switch off every app). So, Here you see WhatsApp too (2nd switch) <- if on, Whatsapp backup will take 2x space of your total iCloud space. As I understand, this backup can only be accessed if you restore the whole iPhone (whole package see).

Post-context: for years, I've turned off the 2nd switch with no problems. But ever since iOS 13, background activity is a mess for WhatsApp, and even though I have more than enough space, auto-daily WhatsApp backup is not happening. I now have the question if I can invert the switches, and still be able to access WhatsApp backup by only deleting and reinstalling the WhatsApp app, not the whole iPhone. This question arises since the packaged backup (2nd switch) for the rest of the apps (including WhatsApp) works flawlessly, daily, perfectly fine.

TIP: It doesn't matter if you have iCloud Photo library on on both sections, Apple is smart about this and only backups once (only takes space one time), that's why I say WhatsApp is an inconvenient-odd outlier when it comes to both switches management.

With all this, maybe your backup is stuck since you have a 2.5Gb WhatsApp backup to be uploaded, which (if both switches on) requires 5Gb of free space. <- but in my case, not even having the double free space does the trick, auto-backup is not happening.

  • 1
    This is great info, I wish Whatsapp or Apple would solve this backup clusterf***.
    – Luciano
    Feb 11, 2021 at 10:51

Yes, if you let both options enabled, your iCloud storage will have two WhatsApp backups.

More information: http://www.whatsapp.com/faq/en/iphone/20888066

  • 1
    The link you provided is about WhatsApp backups but does not actually mention anything about the double backup issues. However, this unofficial thread seems to give the info we need: reddit.com/r/ios/comments/3pz8hh/… I have created an answer with this info in case it helps.
    – redfox05
    Aug 2, 2016 at 15:52

To get Whatsapp Chat backup working after getting stuck, I had to manually delete the existing Whatsapp data from iCloud. After that, the chat backup completed finally.

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