Have you purchased a new smartphone and would like to transfer the conversations you've had so far on WhatsApp to it? Do you plan to reset your mobile phone, but before you go to action, do you want to make sure you can retrieve the chats you currently have in WhatsApp? No problem, you've come to the right place at the right time!
With today's guide, in fact, we will discover together how to recover WhatsApp backups on the main smartphone operating systems, i.e. Android and iOS. It's a much simpler procedure than you imagine. In most cases, simply connect your new smartphone to the same online account and phone number as your old one and the app will automatically "see" previous backups.
Following the same procedure, you can also recover your conversations after resetting your smartphone's operating system and/or erasing all the data on the device's memory. Now, however, let's not get too lost in chitchat and take immediate action. Take a few minutes off just for yourself and concentrate on reading the following. I very much hope that you will be happy and satisfied with the result in the end.
Before getting to the heart of the tutorial and explaining how to retrieve WhatsApp backups, it is my duty to make some clarifications on this subject. This may seem trivial to most people, but in order to avoid misunderstandings, it should be noted that to perform the operation in this tutorial you must have previously backed up WhatsApp chats.
To back up WhatsApp, just enable WhatsApp's backup feature in the app's settings, define how often you want it to be backed up and... stop! By default, the backup is backed up automatically every day. However, it can also be done "on demand", so you can do it manually. For full details, you can refer to my specific guide on how to backup WhatsApp.
How to Recover WhatsApp Android Backups
With the above clarifications, let's get down to business and find out how to recover WhatsApp backups. Let's start with Android! I'm already anticipating that users using the "green robot" mobile platform have an advantage over iOS users: I can restore chats not only from the online backup (the one on Google Drive), but also from the backup files that the app saves locally on the phone, so I can choose which backup to restore and the date to return WhatsApp.
How to retrieve WhatsApp backups from Google Drive
If you want to retrieve WhatsApp backups on Android via Google Drive and you still have access to the smartphone from which you want to "extract" chats, open WhatsApp on Google Drive by tapping the WhatsApp icon (the one with the green cartoon and the white handset) on your home screen or drawer, and make sure the date of your last backup on Google Drive is fairly recent. To do so, press the button with the three dots vertically located in the top right corner and choose the Settings item from the menu that appears.
At this point, choose the Chat item from the screen that opens, touch the Chat Backup heading and check the date of the last backup is the one that matches your needs (you'll find it at the top of the screen). If not, tap the Back Up button and a new chat backup will be created instantly on Google Drive. If you want to include videos in your backup, don't forget to turn the Include Video switch at the bottom of the screen to ON.
Now you can take the real action. First, make sure that the device you are interested in is associated with the same phone number and the same Google account that WhatsApp is backed up from, otherwise the conversation recovery process cannot be completed. If you don't know how to verify the Google account that an Android phone is associated with, tap the Settings icon (the one with the gear wheel) on the home screen and select Account from the screen that opens.
Afterwards, tap on the Google logo and check the email address on the screen you are being offered: if your account is different (or there isn't one configured on your phone), go back to the Settings > Android Accounts menu, tap on the Add Account button and select the Google logo to associate it with your Google account.
When this completes, if the smartphone that you are working on is the same smartphone that you were using previously and the device is not formatted, you must first worry about uninstalling WhatsApp from WhatsApp. To do so, select the application icon on your home screen or in the drawer and, while holding it down, drag it to the trashcan icon at the top of the screen, then confirm that you want to delete the app and respond affirmatively to the warning on the display. For more details, you can read my post on how to uninstall apps on Android.
Now, regardless of whether you're using your old smartphone or another Android terminal, download WhatsApp again. To do so, visit the relevant section of the Play Store and press the Install button. Then, launch the app by selecting the Open button that appears on the screen or by tapping on the app icon that has been added to the home screen or drawer. For more information, read my article on how to download WhatsApp for Android.
How to retrieve local WhatsApp backups
As previously mentioned, the Android version of WhatsApp allows you to restore conversations even through local backups.
To take advantage of this opportunity, go to the HomeWhatsAppDatabases or SDWhatsAppDatabases folder (depending on whether you use a smartphone with fixed or expandable memory) on your mobile phone, using a file manager (e.g., Google Files) and copy the msgstore.db.crypt12 file to the HomeWhatsAppDatabases or SDWhatsAppDatabases folder on your smartphone on which you want to restore WhatsApp backups.
If you want, you can also restore an older backup of WhatsApp and not the most recent one. Just rename one of the files named msgstore-[data].1.db.crypt12 (where the [date] refers to the day the backup was created) - which are always in the Databases folder on your phone - to msgstore.db.crypt12 and transfer it to your new phone.
If the smartphone that you plan to use is still the same, after you make sure that the backup files are actually on your device, delete WhatsApp and then reinstall it. If you are using a new smartphone or have formatted your device, after you complete the steps above, download and install WhatsApp on the smartphone that you transferred the backups to.
At this point, follow the initial setup procedure I explained in the previous step, and when asked if you want to restore the app's backups, say yes. Then, wait a few moments for WhatsApp to detect the local backup and for the recovery process to actually start and complete, and you are done.
How to Recover WhatsApp iPhone Backups
On iPhone, WhatsApp backups are managed directly from iCloud. This means that to restore them, you simply need to reinstall or install (in case you want to use a new "melaphone") the app on a device associated with the same Apple ID and phone number as the source device (on which, of course, the use of iCloud Drive must be enabled).
To be even more precise, here are all the steps you need to take: if you still have access to the iPhone from which you want to retrieve chats, open WhatsApp on the iPhone by tapping on the icon (the one with the green cartoon and the white handset) on the home screen, and select the Settings item at the bottom right.
On the screen that's now shown, tap on the Chat item, tap the Chat Backup button and check that the date of your last backup is fairly recent (you'll find it at the top of the screen). If not, tap Back Up Now and a new backup of your conversations will be created on iCloud. If you also want to include videos in your backup, don't forget to activate the video backup function by turning the switch next to Include Video to ON.
If the iCloud backup feature isn't available, or you get strange error messages that prevent you from completing the operation correctly, go to iOS Settings by tapping the icon (the one with the gear wheel) on the home screen, and tap on your name at the top of the screen. If you are not logged in with your Apple ID (and your name does not appear on the device), you can fix this by selecting the appropriate item.
On the screen that you'll see later, tap on iCloud and make sure the switch at the iCloud Drive option is set to ON (otherwise you do it).
Now all you have to do is reinstall or install WhatsApp on your iPhone. In the case of reinstalling, first delete the app as you usually do with any other app, by pressing and holding the WhatsApp icon on the home screen, selecting Delete App from the menu that opens, and then pressing the Delete button. For more details, you can refer to the guidance I gave you in my article on how to uninstall apps on iPhone.
Next, or if you are installing WhatsApp for the first time on your device, visit the App Store section of the App Store, click the Get button, then the Install button, and authorize the download using Face ID, Touch ID, or Apple ID password. Then, launch the app by tapping the Open button that appears on the display or by selecting the icon that appears on the home screen. If you need help with this, I've also created a tutorial on how to download WhatsApp to your iPhone.
Note that older backups of WhatsApp cannot be restored using iCloud. If you accidentally deleted an important conversation, you can try to recover it by resetting your iPhone and restoring a backup from iTunes or iCloud, but the result is not guaranteed. I gave you more information on what to do in my WhatsApp iPhone conversation recovery tutorial.
How to recover WhatsApp backups from Android to iPhone
Many people ask me if it is possible to transfer WhatsApp conversations from an Android smartphone to the iPhone. Well, this possibility is not yet officially included in the app. However, there are third-party solutions that allow you to do this.
Simply follow an unofficial procedure that can be implemented using computer software.
How to retrieve WhatsApp iPhone backups on Android