How to recover WhatsApp conversations

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Aina Prat Blasi
@ainapratblasi

Chat with friends and family for free. Stay in touch with whoever we want: friends, family or colleagues. With group chats, to share messages, photos and videos for up to 256 people at the same time. These are just some of the features of WhatsApp.

In addition to being able to:

  • send photos and videos in real time, even with a slow connection,
  • record voice messages,
  • share documents: PDF files, documents, spreadsheets, presentations and more.

Given the many features that the messaging application provides, it is often important to keep an archive of the most meaningful messages and conversations.



It can therefore make us anxious to see, the main screen of WhatsApp, completely blank, while we are trying our new smartphone just purchased.

Recovering WhatsApp conversations is possible

To get back your messages you need to:

  • put WhatsApp in a position to check old backups,
  • install the application on a device associated with the same phone number that the backups are associated with.

If we choose to restore chats from a cloud service such as Google Drive or iCloud, the new smartphone must be linked to the same Google or Apple account as the old phone. The one used to generate backups.

Let's see more in depth case by case.

How to recover conversations WhatsApp Android

There are two ways to recover WhatsApp conversations on Android:

  • the use of Google Drive, intervening online,
  • the use of backup files generated locally by the application, acting on the phone memory.

The backup must go back to before the deletion of the conversation we want to restore. Messages received after this date will be deleted after the backup is restored.


Retrieve WhatsApp conversations from Google Drive

To regain possession of WhatsApp communications from Google Drive:


  • the smartphone on which we have to report the messages must be associated with the same phone number and the same Google account as the one from which the backup to be restored comes from.

To make sure that the smartphone is associated with the same Google account as the one from which the WhatsApp backup came:

  • take the device,
  • unlock it and access the home screen and / or drawer,
  • select the Settings icon, shaped like a gear wheel,
  • go to Account,
  • select the Google logo from the screen that opens,
  • check the e-mail address configured on the phone.

If the Google account configured on the phone is the same one that was associated with the smartphone, from which the WhatsApp backup comes:

  • install (or reinstall) WhatsApp,
  • from or from,
  • start the app and follow the initial setup procedure,
  • verify the number,
  • tap the Restore button, at the request to restore the backup identified on Google Drive.

By default, backups to Google Drive are done automatically every day. To check that this has happened and then make changes:

open WhatsApp,

  • tap the button with the three vertical dots at the top right,
  • select the Settings item from the menu that appears,
  • go to Chat, that Backup of chats,
  • locate the Last Backup section,
  • check the date shown next to the word Google Drive.

If we want to change the frequency with which the backup is performed:


  • tap on the word Backup on Google Drive which we find in the Google Drive Settings section,
  • select the option we prefer from the menu that opens.

You can also do a backup right now:


  • clicking on the Back up chats button.

If we also want to insert videos in the backups, this will take longer to save the backup and will lead to the consumption of more space on Google Drive, the switch next to the appropriate option must be moved to ON.

If the Google account associated with the phone is not the same as the one associated with the smartphone from which the WhatsApp backup comes:

  • before practicing the steps to install (or reinstall) WhatsApp,
  1.  configure its use and restore the backup,
  2. go to the Settings> Android Account section,
    Delete the Google account currently configured on the device:
  3. selecting it,
  4. pressing the button with the three vertical dots located at the top right,
  5. by choosing Remove account from the menu that appears.

The data associated with the account will be removed from the smartphone, but will remain stored in the cloud.
Subsequently:

  • go back to the Settings> Android Accounts menu,
  • tap on Add account,
  • select the Google logo,
  • enter the access data of the Google account relating to the WhatsApp backup.

Recover WhatsApp conversations from local backup

If we want to restore a backup prior to the one made on Google Drive or if we do not have a WhatsApp backup on the Google home cloud storage service.


To recover WhatsApp conversations from local backup, choosing from the backup files saved locally on the memory of the smartphone on which it is installed, it is essential that the phone currently in use is associated with the same phone number as the one used to generate the WhatsApp backup.

At least one local WhatsApp backup must be available or we need to create one. To do this:

  • open WhatsApp,
  • tap on the button with the three dots vertically, at the top right,
  • select the Settings item from the menu that is shown to us,
  • tap Chat on the next screen.

Check what is reported next to the Local item, in the Last backup section and, if we assess that there is a need to perform a new backup, press the Run backup button.


Now:

  • use any file manager (e.g.) to locate the backup files to use for restoring conversations,
  • go to the HomeWhatsAppDatabases folder or the SDWhatsAppDatabases folder. According to whether we use a smartphone with fixed or expandable memory of the device used.
  • The oldest backup files are named msgstore- [data] (instead of [date] there is the date the backup was made). The newer one is called msgstore.db.crypt12.

To make WhatsApp recognize a previous backup file generated automatically by the app:

  • rinominarlo in msgstore.db.crypt12,
  • select the file in question,
  • tap on the sharing icon,
  • from the menu that appears, choose between the auto-send via email option and the saving option on a cloud storage service.

You can also generate an even more recent backup than the one found in the WhatsApp Databases folder. So:

  • start WhatsApp,
  • click on the button with the three vertical dots located at the top right,
  • choose the Settings item from the menu that opens,
  • select the Chat option,
  • select the option Backup chats,
  • touch the Back up button.

If in the backup we decide to also include the videos, we must move the lever corresponding to the item Include video to ON.

After exporting the backup file:

  • copy the msgstore.db.crypt12 file into the HomeWhatsAppDatabases folder of the device,
  • install (or reinstall) WhatsApp on the latter,
  • after verifying the number, agree to resume your conversations.

If no local backup files are found and your phone tries to retrieve WhatsApp conversations from Google Drive:

  • do not accept data recovery,
  • uninstall the application,
  • connect to the page of,
  • remove WhatsApp from the list of applications associated with Google Drive,
  • reinstall the messaging app on your smartphone.

After doing this, the application will not have access to Google Drive. It will be possible to enable it again after restoring the conversations and it will use local backups.

Recover WhatsApp conversations without backup

As for recovering WhatsApp conversations without backing up: it's a bit more complicated, but it's possible.

There are some apps, for smartphones and special programs for computers, that scan the phone's memory and allow you to restore backups and other WhatsApp files, but there must be many lucky conditions for this to be successful.

How to recover iPhone WhatsApp conversations

Now let's move on to the Apple side and find out how to recover WhatsApp iPhone conversations. The operation can be done using backups, but only via iCloud (acting online), as WhatsApp on iPhone does not save backups locally.

Recover WhatsApp conversations from iCloud

If we want to recover WhatsApp conversations from iCloud, we must:

  • restore the backup prior to the date of the chats to be recovered,
  • install (or reinstall) the application on an iPhone, associated with the same phone number and Apple ID as the device on which the backup was generated.

To develop the creation of an iCloud backup:

  • start WhatsApp on the iPhone,
  • select the Settings tab located at the bottom right,
  • choose the Chat item, then the Chat Backup item,
  • press the Back up now button (operation to be performed having an active SIM with the number previously used on the terminal). If we also want to include videos in backups, move the lever relative to the option Include videos to ON.

When the operation is complete, install (or reinstall) WhatsApp on the new iPhone:

  • by downloading the application from,
  • by verifying the number,
  • accepting the restoration of old conversations,
  • pressing the Restore chat history button.

In case of problems:

  • tap on the Settings icon, in the shape of a gear wheel, from the home screen and / or in the iOS App Library,
  • check that the account associated with the phone is the same one used by the old device,
  • select our photo,
  • tap on iCloud on the next screen,
  • locate the item relating to iCloud Drive,
  • check that the lever corresponding to it is moved to ON (otherwise we will provide) and that data synchronization with iCloud Drive is active.

Recover WhatsApp conversations without backup

If we want to recover WhatsApp conversations on iPhone, but we don't have any backups, the possibilities at our disposal are very few.

You can only try to use special software for recovering deleted files.

Another method is to try to restore the app to a previous state, by restoring the iPhone from a backup on iTunes for Windows, or in the macOS Finder, made before deleting the messages.

How to recover WhatsApp conversations after changing phones

To retrieve WhatsApp conversations after changing the phone: if the same mobile operating system as the previous one is in use on the new smartphone, you need to:

  • download WhatsApp on the new device,
  • start the configuration procedure,
  • use the backup recovery system already described for Android and iOS.

Resume WhatsApp conversations from Android to iPhone or vice versa:

  • use your computer and some third party software.

How to recover WhatsApp conversations from a broken phone

As a last part, let's see how to recover WhatsApp conversations from a broken phone.

Conversations are stored in Google Drive on Android and iCloud on iPhone, and can be accessed from any other smartphone:

  • by logging into our account,
  • going to install (or reinstall) WhatsApp,
  • performing the initial setup procedure and backup recovery.

If we hadn't saved the online backups or we can't follow this procedure, the only way to try is to:

  • access the information on the mobile phone memory or on any memory card used,
  • connecting the phone to the computer,
  • acting from there, possibly also using special tools for data recovery.
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