You just installed WhatsApp on a new iPhone but can't retrieve conversations you had on your old "melaphone"? Don't despair, there's probably something wrong with your iCloud setup or you've skipped a few steps, nothing irremediable.
To transfer WhatsApp chats from one iPhone to another, both devices must be connected to the same Apple ID and have the same phone number. You must also enable data synchronization on iCloud and make sure that iCloud Drive is active on both phones. When all these conditions are met, WhatsApp automatically detects the backup files on iCloud and offers the user the ability to restore all threads.
At this point, what I suggest you do is check the iCloud connection on your old iPhone (if you still have it), create a new chat backup, check the iCloud connection on your new phone, and reinstall WhatsApp. If all goes well, after the initial phone number verification is complete, the application should automatically detect your iCloud backup and ask you if you want to retrieve WhatsApp iPhone conversations. Try it now!
Retrieve WhatsApp conversations via backup
If you created a backup of your conversations on an old iPhone and now want to pass them on to a new "melaphone", you can restore your messages by simply using the iCloud message restore feature, which starts automatically by installing WhatsApp on a smartphone associated with the same phone number and the same iCloud account as the previous one. The same, identical procedure can also be used to reinstall WhatsApp on an iPhone where it was previously installed.
What to do on the old iPhone
Do you still have your old iPhone? Well, then take your device, insert the SIM card you use on your new "melaphone" into it and turn it on. Then go to the settings panel (by pressing on the gear icon on the home screen) and check that the iCloud settings are all configured correctly.
Then check that your photo is at the top of the screen or, if not, log in to your iPhone using your iCloud account (by pressing the appropriate menu item). Once you've checked for an iCloud account or logged in, tap on your name, then tap on the iCloud icon and verify that the iCloud Drive setting is active. If iCloud Drive is not active, move the stick next to it to ON. Then repeat the same operation for WhatsApp, which should be at the bottom of the menu.
Now, start WhatsApp and repeat the phone number verification (having installed the application on another iPhone you should have lost access to your old phone). Then select the Settings tab at the bottom right, go to Chat, select Chat Backup and start a backup of your iCloud conversations by pressing the Backup Now button. If you also want to include videos attached to your messages in the backup, move the Include videos option toggle to ON.
What to do on your new iPhone
Well, now you're ready to restore chats on your new iPhone! Then reinsert your SIM card into your device and open Settings to make sure the account associated with your phone is the same as the old iPhone and iCloud Drive is running. If it is not, log in to iCloud with the Apple ID used on the other phone and move the iCloud Drive and WhatsApp toggles to ON, as we saw earlier.
Now you must remove WhatsApp from your phone (which will delete any messages in the application). Then keep your finger pressed on the app icon until the app starts to "dance", press and hold the "x" in the top left corner and confirm that the app has been deleted by clicking Delete on the warning that appears on the screen.
Once you have passed this step, all you have to do is re-install WhatsApp on your iPhone (just look for it in the App Store), launch the application and follow its initial setup procedure normally. If all goes well, after you verify the number, WhatsApp will detect your iCloud backup and ask if you want to restore it.
Just click on the Restore Chat History button and within a few seconds, WhatsApp iPhone will automatically complete the procedure to retrieve conversations. Of course, in addition to the conversations, you will also find all your settings, group memberships and all the data connected to your account.
iTunes and iCloud Backup
If you have created an iPhone backup on your computer through iTunes (Apple's media software available as a free download and installed "as standard" on all Macs) or through iCloud (Apple's home cloud storage service), you can try to retrieve WhatsApp messages using them. Be careful, however, these procedures involve full iOS recovery and return the device to the state it was in on the backup date. I personally would not recommend these procedures, except in extreme cases. If you want to learn more, read my tutorial on how to restore an iPhone backup.
Restoring archived conversations
Did you accidentally archive a conversation in WhatsApp and do not know how to recover it? No problem. Go to the Chat section of the application, drag the screen down and select the Archived Chat item that appears at the top.
At this point, locate the discussion to restore, drag your finger from right to left on its title and press the Extract button that appears on the right. Easier than that? If you need more information about the message storage process in WhatsApp, take a look at the tutorial I wrote on the topic.
Restore Deleted WhatsApp Conversations
Have you formatted your iPhone and want to retrieve the conversations you had on WhatsApp? I'm sorry, but without an iCloud backup, this is almost impossible to complete.
If you want, you can try scanning the phone's memory with one of the programs suitable for the purpose, for example Dr.Fone from Wondershare, but I warn you: the software is charged a fee (it costs 58 euros on Windows and 66.39 euros on macOS, but is available in a free trial version that allows you to view the recoverable data). Also, the hopes that you will achieve the desired result are not very high (as WhatsApp messages may have been quickly overwritten on the device memory after they were deleted).
If you're determined to continue, connect to Dr.Fone's website and download the version of the program for Apple iOS devices by clicking on the download button for Windows or macOS, depending on the operating system you use on your computer.
When the download is complete, if you are using Windows, open the drfone-for-ios_full[version].exe file you just downloaded to your PC and click the Yes button first and then click OK. Then tick the box next to I accept the terms of the license agreement and complete the setup by clicking the Next button three times in a row and then click Finish. If you're using a Mac, open the dmg package containing Dr.Fone, click the Accept button, drag the program into the MacOS Applications folder and you're done.
When installation is complete, connect your iPhone to your computer (if you are using Windows, make sure you have iTunes installed on your computer), start Dr.Fone, press the Retrieve button (or Retrieve) and wait for communication with your phone to be established. At this point, make sure that Recovery from iOS is selected in the left sidebar, check the box next to WhatsApp & Attachments, press the Start Scan button and wait for WhatsApp messages and attachments to be displayed (if available).
If the operation appears to be 99% locked, click the button to close the window, reply that you want to cancel the operation and you should see the data recovery screen. Then choose from the left sidebar if you want to recover WhatsApp messages or attachments (by selecting an option between WhatsApp and WhatsApp Attachments), place a check mark next to the items to be recovered and press the Export button (bottom right) to complete the operation. Data recovery is only available in the paid version of Dr.Fone.
If you have iPhone backups made with iTunes on your computer or if you have iPhone backups saved to iCloud, you can recover data from them by selecting iTunes Backup Recovery and iCloud Backup Restore from the left sidebar.
If Dr.Fone doesn't succeed, you can rely on alternative solutions, such as EaseUS MobiSaver, which is also a free trial version and is available on both Windows and MacOS: I told you more about it in my tutorial on how to recover deleted photos from iPhone.