WhatsApp Recovery for Android: How to Backup and Restore Your Chats

If you’ve got a new or reset phone, or have accidentally deleted your chat history, it’s really easy to restore WhatsApp messages on Android. I’ll also tell you how to make sure everything’s backed up in the first place.

WhatsApp Recovery for Android: How to Backup and Restore Your Chats

There is a whole bunch of reasons you might want to know how to restore WhatsApp messages on your Android device. Maybe you got a shiny new phone, perhaps your handset had to be reset, or (nightmare!) you accidentally deleted some crucial messages or favourite holiday snaps. In any case, you can restore WhatsApp simply and quickly.

Let’s start at the beginning. To restore WhatsApp, you’ll need to have a backup in place. If you want to restore and are panicking that you didn’t do this, don’t worry. Your device does this automatically. Even so, it’s good to know how the process works, so that you can take control of it.

(If you just want to know how to retrieve deleted WhatsApp messages, scroll down a little further.)

How to backup WhatsApp messages on Android

Method 1: Back up via Google Drive

The easiest way to do this is by using Google Drive to backup WhatsApp. Before we start, there are a couple of things you need to check. Make sure that:

  1. Your Android phone is synced with Google Drive
  2. You have Google Play Services installed
  3. There is enough space on your Google Drive to accommodate your WhatsApp history
  4. There is enough free space on your device to create the backup

Once you’ve checked those things, backing up WhatsApp is really easy to do. First, open up WhatsApp. Then, go to the menu and tap on ‘Settings’.

In the Settings menu, select ‘Chats and calls’ and then ‘Chat backup’. You will see the option to ‘Back up to Google Drive’.

WhatsApp backup menu on Android OS

Tap that and then you can set a frequency for automatic backups. You can also choose to back up right away by tapping ‘Back Up’.

WhatsApp backup frequency options

Now you will need to choose a Google account to back up your WhatsApp messages to (if you don’t already have an account, tap ‘Add account’). Make sure you don’t forget which account you are using, as it will be important if you ever need to restore your WhatsApp history.

After you’ve completed this step tap ‘Back up over’ to specify what kind of networks should be used. Please note that using your mobile 3G or 4G connection for this could get expensive, as there will be a fair bit of data involved.

Don’t worry about filling up your Google Drive with endless backups. Each time a new backup of your WhatsApp messages is made, the old one will be overwritten.

Method 2: Back up using internal storage or SD card

WhatsApp will automatically create a backup every day, storing it on your phone’s internal memory or on the SD card.

The reason I would recommend Google Drive in addition to relying on these backups is that in order to use them you need to have the functioning hardware on hand. If you lose or damage your Android device or SD card, the backups will be gone. Not so when using your Google account.

How to transfer or restore WhatsApp messages on Android

Restoring or transferring your WhatsApp history is also very easy to do. When you set up WhatsApp on a new or reset Android device and verify your number, the app will give you the option to ‘Restore’.

You can also access this option by uninstalling and then reinstalling WhatsApp. If for any reason you aren’t able to uninstall WhatsApp, go to your device’s settings then to ‘Applications’ > ‘WhatsApp’. Here you will see an option to ‘Clear Data’. If you click on that and then start WhatsApp it will act like a fresh install.

After this just tap on ‘Restore’ and you’re all set. WhatsApp will restore your messages first, followed by your media files.

Restoring WhatsApp from a backup

If WhatsApp doesn’t give you this option it means it hasn’t detected a backup. There are 4 possible reasons for this:

  1. You are not logged into your Google account or are logged into a different account
  2. You are using a different phone number from the one you used when creating the backup (This one is super important. You can ONLY do this when using the same phone number as when you created the backup)
  3. Your backup data has become corrupted
  4. No backup exists on the Google account or SD card you are using

Restoring WhatsApp history from an older backup

If you are experiencing problems, you can try restoring a less recent WhatsApp backup. While Google Drive will only store the most recent backup, your phone should store up to 7 days of local file backups. To restore an older backup, you will need to download a file manager app. Here are some options.

When you’ve downloaded the app, open it up and go to ‘sdcard’, then ‘WhatsApp’, followed by ‘Databases’. If you don’t use an SD card, you will need to go to internal storage instead. The older backup files will have a name like this: msgstore-YYYY-MM-DD.1.db.crypt8

Choose the one you want to use to restore WhatsApp and rename it msgstore.db.crypt8. Then uninstall and reinstall WhatsApp. When you launch the app, you should now have the ‘Restore’ option available. Phew! Panic over. Now you can rest assured knowing that all your insanely witty chats and artsy photos are back with you.