New admin controls for third-party app backups in Google Drive

What’s changing 

Admins can now choose whether their Android users can back up data from third-party apps, such as WhatsApp, to their G Suite accounts. Previously, admins didn’t have specific controls for third-party app backups—all G Suite users who had Drive enabled could back up this data, and users without Drive enabled could not. With this launch, admins can choose whether their users can back up this data, regardless of whether they have Drive.

This backup feature is limited to WhatsApp at launch, but other apps could be added in the future. If WhatsApp data is backed up, it can be used to restore WhatsApp conversation and message history if a user gets a new phone or deletes WhatsApp data from the device (e.g. via a factory reset).

Before choosing to enable or disable the feature for some or all of your users, we recommend that you use our Help Center to learn more important details about managing 3rd-party app backups for your organization. Also note: 

  • Third-party app backups is an additional service, which is not covered under the G Suite Terms of Service. 
  • These backups do not count against any Drive storage quotas. 
  • WhatsApp backups are only available for Android devices. 
  • Backups will automatically expire; WhatsApp backups that haven’t been updated for one year will be removed (learn more). 

Who’s impacted 

Admins and end users

Why it matters 

This gives admins more control over the content that’s stored in their domain. If enabled, third-party app backups can help users preserve and manage important data.

Additional details 

User experience of using and managing backups 
Users will see a link to Backups in Google Drive within the ‘Storage” section (see image below). This will contain their backed-up data. That data could include third-party apps such as WhatsApp (if enabled by their Admin with this control), as well as Android device backups. Users can delete these backups if they choose. Users cannot see the contents of these backups within Drive; they can only be used to restore data in third-party apps.

If admins turn third-party app backups off, users may be notified that their backups are not working properly. To avoid these notifications, the user can turn backups off on their device or back up their data to a different account on their device.

If admins have third-party app backups turned on but have Drive turned off, users may not be able to directly delete their backups through the Drive UI. Backups will continue to be deleted automatically upon expiration. You can also use our Help Center to find other ways to immediately delete backups

Getting started 

Admins: Starting on 5 February 2020, there will be a new setting in the Admin Console to control this feature at Admin console > Apps > Additional Google Services > Third-Party App Backups. The setting will initially have the same ON/OFF state as the Google Drive service, and can be controlled at the domain, OU, or group level. Visit the Help Center to learn more about managing backups for your organization.

Admin Controls for third-party app backups 

End users: This feature may be available to end users depending on the Admin control. If enabled, backups can be found and managed by users at Drive > Storage > Backups in their linked G Suite accounts. Use the Help Center to find out more about managing backups in Google Drive.

Users can find Backups in the ‘Storage’ section of Google Drive 

The new Backups section 

Rollout pace 

  • Rapid and Scheduled release domains
    • Admin console setting: This setting will appear in the Admin console sometime between February 5 and 12. 
    • User impact: G Suite users may see the “Backups” view starting on February 5 (Rapid Release) and February 19 (Scheduled Release), but no new policies will be enforced until March 4 or later. These policies will go into effect for users between March 4 and 11. 


  • Available to all G Suite customers