WhatsApp Backup Guide: How to Restore WhatsApp Messages

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WhatsApp users can easily restore messages that are up to a week old just by using the automatic WhatsApp backup that is set up by the app itself. Unfortunately, whenever anyone accidentally deletes their messages, or just migrates to a new device from an old one, the restore process can prove to be a bit tricky.

This guide will show you how to backup WhatsApp on both iOS and Android devices, and how to restore WhatsApp messages, even those that are older than 7 days. We will also show you how to back up WhatsApp messages on cloud storage, and how to save conversations by sending them via email.

How to Backup WhatsApp Messages on iOS

WhatsApp for iOS saves an automatic backup by default every day at 4 AM system time. The automatic backup is done locally, and then updated to iCloud over Wi-Fi.

Users can enable and manage several automatic backup settings from WhatsApp. They can also set the automatic WhatsApp backup frequency, as well as disable it. They can even perform a manual backup to overwrite the most recent automatic backup. Here are the steps to backup your WhatsApp messages on iPhone, iPad, and other iOS devices:

  1. Boot WhatsApp, and go to WhatsApp Settings.
  2. Go to Chats.
  3. Tap on WhatsApp Chat Backup.
  4. Tap the Back Up Now button.
WhatsApp Backup page screenshot

Users can also toggle backing up videos with the automatic backup on the iCloud over Wi-Fi.

How to Restore WhatsApp Messages from a Backup on iOS

Here are the easy steps to restore your WhatsApp conversations from a backup on iOS devices like iPhone and iPad:

  1. Uninstall WhatsApp if it is installed on the device.
  2. Go to the App Store, and install WhatsApp again.
  3. After logging in to WhatsApp, follow the prompts to restore the WhatsApp backup.
  4. Import the chat history before the files expire (WhatsApp backup files are valid only 7 days).

Note: Users who share an iCloud account, but have different WhatsApp accounts, cannot access each other’s backups. It is not possible to merge backups from two different WhatsApp accounts, even if the conversations are all with the same contacts. Only the conversation history of the account which is logged in will be visible.

How to Backup WhatsApp Messages on Android

The WhatsApp backup and restore processes on an Android device are not that different from those on an iOS device. WhatsApp still generates a daily automatic local backup at 4 AM system time, but this time on the MicroSD card by default.

If given the chance, it is always best to overwrite an automatic backup with the latest chat history before migrating to a new device. Here are the steps to manually backup WhatsApp on an Android device.

  1. Boot WhatsApp.
  2. Go to the Settings Menu.
  3. In the Settings Menu, tap on Chats.
  4. Tap on Chat Backup.
  5. In WhatsApp Chat Backup, tap the button labeled Back Up Now.

How to Backup WhatsApp to Google Drive

Android users have the option to save the WhatsApp backup on Google Drive, instead of locally. Automatically saving your daily WhatsApp messaging history to Google Drive is a great way to save space locally. To backup to Google Drive, users of WhatsApp for Android will need a Google account, if they do not have one already. Here are the steps to backup your WhatsApp history to Google Drive:

  1. Open WhatsApp.
  2. Go to Menu.
  3. Tap Settings.
  4. Choose Chats.
  5. Select Chat Backup.
  6. Tap Back up to Google Drive. You can set the frequency of the automatic backup or disable the feature altogether.
  7. Select a Google account to backup your WhatsApp chat history to.

How to Restore WhatsApp Messages from a Backup on Android

Restoring conversations and messages from a local or cloud WhatsApp backup for Android is an easy process, although larger backups may need more time.

  1. Uninstall the WhatsApp app from your Android device.
  2. Go to the Google Play Store and install or reinstall WhatsApp.
  3. Login to WhatsApp with the same account details as before.
  4. Follow the prompts.
  5. Tap Restore.
  6. Do not forget to import the chat history before the WhatsApp backup file expires (7 days)

How to Restore a WhatsApp Backup Older Than A Week

Compared to the previous WhatsApp backup and restore processes, this one will prove to be more difficult. Android users will require a File Manager app in order to restore older backups. By default, the backup files are saved locally in sdcard/WhatsApp/Databases. If the device doesn’t have a MicroSD card installed, users should check the internal storage.

Inside the Databases folder, there should be several backup files, all but one having the format msgstore-YYYY-MM-DD.1.db.crypt12, where YYYY is the year, MM is the month, and DD is the day when the backup was saved. The part of the filename labeled crypt12 refers to the protocol used by WhatsApp.

When WhatsApp is installed on a device, it looks for the address mentioned earlier. In the folder, the app will look for the msgstore.db.crypt12 file, as that is always the most recent backup file. Here are the steps to restore your files:

  1. Move the original msgstore.db.crypt12 to a new folder, or delete it.
  2. Rename the backup file looking to be restored to msgstore.db.crypt12. (Note: If the original file does not have “crypt12” in its filename, do not change its numerical extension. When WhatsApp restores from a backup, it can read older protocols.)
  3. Uninstall WhatsApp from the device. The app’s backup database folder will remain in storage. Do not delete the folder.
  4. Download WhatsApp again and reinstall it.
  5. Log in with the previous account details.
  6. Navigate through the prompts.
  7. Tap on Restore.

How to Send WhatsApp Conversations via Email

Both iOS and Android users have the option to save copies of individual chats via email. This method is very useful if users want to save a small number of important conversations that span over several days, weeks, or more.

  1. In the WhatsApp navigation bar, tap the name of the contact or group.
  2. Open the conversation intended for backing up.
  3. Scroll through the options.
  4. Tap the Export Chat option.
  5. Exporting the chat via email can be done either text-only, or by including the media files present in the conversation. Choose to either Attach Media or send the email Without Media.
  6. WhatsApp will not use the device’s default email app. Select it from the list.
  7. Enter the email address meant to receive the conversation. Tap Send.

Users should note that backup files only contain the last seven days of chat history. Read the section above if you want to restore conversations older than seven days.

Final Words

We hope that our WhatsApp backup guide clarified any issues related to the backup process of this messaging app. The tricky part is that users are not able to retrieve any of their chat history older than seven days, unless they also backup their conversations locally.

Fortunately, as you know by now, there are ways to restore WhatsApp conversations and WhatsApp data older than a week. If you have any questions or comments, let us know in the form below.

If you want to test out other free texting apps besides WhatsApp Messenger, check out our 5 Free Calling and Texting App Options guide.

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