Close on the heels of offering the ability to make calls, WhatsApp is now giving users the option to back up their conversations directly on Google Drive.

Android Police reveals that the functionality, which was hinted at by some "translation strings" it received recently, has now gone live.

According to the report, the latest update to WhatsApp's Android app allows users to back up their chat history as well as media files to Google Drive. This ability is packed in by WhatsApp for Android with the version number 2.12.45.

Those intrigued and curious to try out the feature — provided you have an Android phone — can now do so. Here's how:

Ensure you have the WhatsApp version 2.12.45 for Android. The official WhatsApp download page for Android lists the version 2.12.44 (at the time of writing); however, the latest version 2.12.45 is available for download from APKMirror.

Step 1: Install version 2.12.45.

Step 2: Once the update has been installed, head to Settings in the application. Navigate to Chat Settings and then Chat Backup.

Step 3: In Chat Backup, you will see a new screen that displays the app's last backup time. It will also list Google Drive settings.

Step 4: Clicking on the Google Drive settings will display the Backup frequency options, which range from Off, Daily, Weekly and Monthly.

Step 5: By default, the Off option is selected. Change this to Daily, Monthly or Weekly depending on your preference.

Step 6: You will get the option to select a Google account that you want to choose for the backup, so select the one preferable.

Step 7: You also get the option to initiate the backup via Wi-Fi or cellular data, so key in the preferred choice.

WhatsApp usually backs up data daily at a specific time, so you will have to wait for the cycle to be complete. However, if you're unable to wait then, the option to initiate the backup manually is also available. For this, simply tap the Back up now option, which is listed above Google Drive settings.

However, the latter is a time consuming process as it makes a local backup first and then begins the transmission of data to Google Drive. Moreover, once this manual backup starts, it will continue for quite some time, especially if the media file sizes are massive.

The backed up information includes only images and chats. Videos are not backed up to Google Drive. Additionally, the data will be hidden inside Google Drive, and it is only once a user navigates to Settings > Manage Apps that they see that WhatsApp is listed with hidden data.

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