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How to back up, restore WhatsApp chat history using Google Drive, storage

Here is a guide on how to back up your WhatsApp chat history on Google Drive, phone's internal storage and microSD card, and how to restore it on a new device

BS Web Team  |  New Delhi 


Being a technology reviewer, I change my handsets quite frequently. Every time I insert my SIM card on new phone, I am presented with the task of taking a complete backup from my previous device and restoring it on the new one. Though transferring phone data — files, photos, videos, etc — is fairly easy, especially if your new phone runs on the same operating system as the previous one, you need a completely different method to transfer data from apps. Here is how you can back up your chat history on Google Drive, phone’s internal storage or microSD card and then restore it on a new device.

How to back up chat history on GDrive:

has a provision to back up WhatsApp chat history on Google Drive. Interestingly, the backup does not eat into your GDrive storage quota. This means, irrespective of the size of the backup file, your GDrive storage space will not get reduced. So, this is the most convenient method to back up your WhatsApp chat history. Follow the steps below to activate WhatsApp backup on GDrive using Android smartphones:

Step 1: Open WhatsApp

Step 2: Click on the three dots visible on the top right corner of the screen to explore more option

Step 3: Click on settings

Step 4: Go to the ‘Chat’ setting and click on chat backup

Step 5: Click on the backup button to create a backup and upload it immediately to GDrive

The chat backup option in WhatsApp’s Chat setting has additional settings for ease of use. You can set your backup frequency to daily, weekly or monthly. Additionally, there is an option to never take a backup or to create backup only when you tap on the ‘backup’ button. There also are provisions to change your default Google account for backups on your phone, backup over WiFi only, or backup over either WiFi or cellular data, or whether or not to include videos in backup. While the backup file does not reduce your GDrive storage plan, backing up and uploading the backup file to GDrive requires internet service. Therefore, it is always advised to use WiFi to back up WhatsApp data on GDrive.

How to restore WhatsApp backup from GDrive

Step 1: Connect the phone to internet using either WiFi or network data

Step 2: Set up your phone with the same Google account where the WhatsApp backup has been stored

Step 3: Download and install WhatsApp from Play Store

Step 4: Open WhatsApp, accepts its terms and conditions, enter your phone number and wait for OTP to proceed

Step 5: Enter OTP and click on the next button

Step 6: WhatsApp will notify that the existing backup file is saved on GDrive and seek your permission to restore chat history

Step 7: Give permission to retrieve chat history from GDrive backup. The backup restores text messages first and multimedia in the background later.

How to back up WhatsApp chat history on phone’s internal storage or microSD card

Along with GDrive, WhatsApp also creates a local backup in your phone’s internal storage every day. There is no way to manually change its time or location. According to WhatsApp, the local backup is created at 2:00 am every morning and it is saved as an encrypted file in your phone’s local storage. To find the local backup saved in the phone’s internal storage, go to file manager, open the root folder, search for the WhatsApp folder and tap on it. Look for the ‘databases’ folder, which includes all text messages. The media files are saved in a separate ‘Media’ folder inside the WhatsApp folder. There is a ‘Backups’ folder, too, which includes backup settings and other encrypted files.

How to restore WhatsApp backup using microSD card

If you remove WhatsApp for any reason and install it again on the same device, the instant messenger notifies about the existing local backup and takes your permission to restore messages from it. Follow the steps below in case you switch to a new device and seek to restore WhatsApp chat history from local backup:

Step 1: Insert a microSD card in your old phone, if it has a slot

Step 2: Go to the phone’s file manager

Step 3: In the file manager, locate WhatsApp folder in root

Step 4: Copy the WhatsApp folder and transfer it to the microSD card

Step 5: Eject the microSD card safely and insert it in your new phone, if there is a slot

Step 6: Download and install WhatsApp on a new phone. Set it up and then uninstall it

Step 7: Replace the WhatsApp folder in your phone’s internal storage with the one saved in the microSD card

Step 8: In the file manager, navigate to sdcard/WhatsApp/Databases

Step 9: Rename the backup file you want to restore from msgstore-YYYY-MM-DD.1.db.crypt12 to msgstore.db.crypt12. It is possible that an earlier backup may be on an earlier protocol, such as crypt9 or crypt10. Don't change the number of the crypt extension

Step 10: Download and install WhatsApp again and this time it will identify your local backup and notify if you would like to restore from it.

In case the old phone or the new phone does not have a microSD card slot, copy the WhatsApp folder from your phone’s internal storage on a desktop. Perform the step 6 mentioned above before transferring the folder in the new phone’s internal storage. Once you transfer the folder, perform Step 8 and onwards.

First Published: Thu, July 25 2019. 13:59 IST