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How to backup WhatsApp

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Aina Prat
@ainaprat
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How to backup WhatsApp on Android

As just mentioned, WhatsApp mainly relies on cloud services for its backups. In fact on Android copy chats, photos and videos to Google Drive: the cloud storage service of the Mountain View giant.

To take advantage of the backups on Google Drive you must have a Google account configured correctly on your smartphone. Then open the menu of settings of Android (the gear icon located on the home screen or in the screen with the icons of all the apps), go to Account> Google and verify that your account @ Gmail.com is correctly configured.



If you do not see your Gmail account in the account management screen and / or do not find the Google entry, it means you have not yet configured the account. Then go back to the menu Settings> Accounts, select the voice Add account which is at the bottom of the screen and choose the option Google to authenticate with your Gmail account and associate it with your smartphone.

If you don't have a Google account yet, you can create it directly from your phone by pressing on the item Or create a new account found at the bottom of the Google login page. The procedure is very simple, in any case you can find all the instructions to complete it in my tutorial on how to create a Google account.

Once the Google account is configured, all you have to do is open WhatsApp, go to the main screen of the app, press the button (...) located at the top right and select the item Settings give the menu to compare.


In the screen that opens, go to Chat, Then Backup of chats e pulsing sul pulsating Back up to start saving all your conversations, both on Google Drive and locally. If this is the first time you back up WhatsApp on Google Drive, you must authorize the app to access the service by responding affirmatively to the warning that appears on the screen.


By default, WhatsApp does not include videos in its backups (as they may take up a lot of space) but, if you want, you can activate their saving by placing the check mark next to the item Include videos. The saving operations, if this is the first time you back up, could take several minutes: you can follow the progress thanks to the indications on the screen. Subsequent backups will be faster as they are incremental (so only the missing information compared to the last backup made will be uploaded online).

Once the backup function is activated, WhatsApp will save chats, photos and (if you have activated the appropriate option) videos on Google Drive and on your smartphone at 02:00 every day. To change this behavior, you can go to the screen Settings> Chats> Chat Backup of WhatsApp and select the various options listed under the heading Google Drive settings: pressing on Backup to Google Drive you can change how often chats should be automatically backed up (never, daily, weekly or monthly); selecting the option Account you can choose which Google Drive account to save the data on (useful option if you have configured more than one Google account on your phone), while pressing on the item Backup via you can choose whether to make backups only under Wi-Fi network (recommended option) or even under 3G / 4G network (with significant data consumption).


In the initial part of the screen, instead, under the heading Last backup, you can view the date and size (in MB) of the last backup made by WhatsApp: this is the information you need to check to make sure that the last WhatsApp backup is recent enough.

WhatsApp backups include chats, groups, photos and videos, but not contacts, which are managed by the phone's address book. In any case, don't worry: Google's cloud services allow you to save even those on the cloud and restore them instantly in case of switching to another phone or formatting your device.


To make sure you have a backup of your contacts on Google's servers, go to the menu Settings> Accounts> Google of Android, select yours Gmail account and check that the lever for the option Contacts is active: if it is not, activate it yourself.

Restore WhatsApp backup on Android

You now have a full WhatsApp backup on your Google account. The backup is updated daily, weekly or monthly (depending on your chosen settings) from the app to include all the latest content and can be restored at any time on any Android system. This means that you can buy a new smartphone and restore all your conversations on it or, if necessary, you can reset your current smartphone and reinstall WhatsApp without losing anything of what you had inside the app.

In order for the WhatsApp backup to be used, you must use a smartphone connected to the same phone number and at the same Google account from which the backup comes. This means that in case of purchasing a new smartphone, you must use a SIM connected to your old phone number and you must associate the device with the same Google account you had on the previous smartphone (the procedure you must follow for configuring the account is the same one that I showed you previously, however in my tutorial on how to associate an Android phone with Google you will find all the appropriate instructions).


If you want to transfer your backup to a different phone number, you need to take your current smartphone, open WhatsApp and start the change of telephone number. To recall it, press the button (...) collocato in alto a destra and seleziona la voce Settings from the menu that appears. Then go up Account> Change number and follow the onscreen instructions to transfer your WhatsApp account from one number to another. If any step is not clear to you or you want more information on how to change number on WhatsApp, consult my guide dedicated to the topic.


Now we are really there! To restore your backup in WhatsApp for Android, all you have to do is install (or reinstall) the application on your smartphone, start it, press the button Accetta and continue and follow the number activation procedure. After typing and waiting for the verification of your phone number (in some cases you have to manually type the verification code that you receive via SMS), WhatsApp should notify you that it has found a backup on Google Drive or on the smartphone memory.

Therefore accept the restoration of the information by pressing the button Restore and wait a few seconds for the backup to be processed correctly. At the end of the restore operations (it shouldn't take long), press the button NEXT, type in the name you want to use on WhatsApp, select a profile photo and go again forward to start using WhatsApp.

In the application you will find all your chats, while for photos and videos you may have to wait a few minutes: WhatsApp will download all the data as soon as the phone is connected to a Wi-Fi network.

Alternative procedure (offline backup)

As widely pointed out in the previous paragraphs of this tutorial, the Android version of WhatsApp creates its backups simultaneously on Google Drive and locally, on the SD card inserted in the smartphone or on the device's memory (if there are no memory cards inserted inside it. ). This means that, in addition to being able to take advantage of Google Drive online backups, you can take advantage of the WhatsApp offline backup to restore your conversations on any Android device associated with the same phone number as the one from which the backup files come. And I'll tell you more: multiple backups are saved on the phone memory (or on the SD). This means that, if necessary, you can take an older backup and restore WhatsApp to an earlier date than the current one.

To take advantage of WhatsApp offline backups you must first connect to the Google Drive management panel and remove WhatsApp from the list of applications that have access to the service. This will force WhatsApp to "look" on the phone memory (or SD) and not on the cloud to search for backup files.

When the operation is complete, open any file manager on your smartphone (e.g. ES File Manager), open the HomeWhatsAppDatabases folder and locate the backup files you want to use: the file msgstore.db.crypt12 is the one related to the most recent WhatsApp backup, while the files named msgstore- [data] are the files related to previous backups. If you intend to use a backup older than the current one, you must first rename it to msgstore.db.crypt12.

Now you just have to take the file with the WhatsApp backups and copy it to the HomeWhatsAppDatabases folder of the smartphone on which you intend to restore your conversations (the folder may not exist, in that case you can create it using ES File Manager or any other file manager) . To easily copy backup files from one smartphone to another you can use the Bluetooth, cloud storage services (eg. dropbox) or you can auto-send the files to you via emails. In Es File Manager you can find all the sharing options by simply holding your finger on the file to be copied, pressing the button Other that appears at the bottom right and selecting the item Share from the menu that opens. In the same menu you can also find the option to rename the file.

The rest of the procedure is the same as described above for backups restored via Google Drive: all you have to do is install (or reinstall) WhatsApp on your smartphone, verify the number and accept the restoration of the data when the request appears on the screen.

If you need a hand to install Whatsapp on Android, please consult the guide I wrote on the subject.

How to backup WhatsApp on iOS

I use a iPhone? In this case you can only take advantage of the backup that the application makes online on the iCloud servers and, consequently, an iCloud account must be set up on your “iPhone by”.

To verify the iCloud account set up on your iPhone, all you have to do is log in to settings iOS device (the gear icon located on the home screen) and check the name displayed at the top of the screen that opens. If you don't see any names at the top of the screen, it means you haven't yet associated an iCloud account with your device. In this case, presses on the item relating to iCloud and log in.

In case you do not yet have an iCloud account, you can create it directly from the phone by pressing the appropriate item and following the instructions on the screen: it is a very simple procedure, in each case I have also prepared a tutorial that explains step by step how create an iCloud account.

If, on the other hand, an iCloud account is already set up on the iPhone but it is not the one you intend to use, press on name that you find at the top of the settings screen, scroll up and down the menu that opens and presses on the option Logout to disconnect the current account. Then log in with the account you want to use.

You are now ready to backup WhatsApp. Then start the application by pressing on its icon on the home screen, go to the tab Settings (bottom right) and select the item first Chat and then the voice Backup of chats from the screen that opens.

At this point, activate the lever Include videos if, in addition to chats and photos, in WhatsApp backups you also want to include videos (be aware that this option could greatly increase the space occupied on iCloud Drive and backup execution times) and press the button Back up now to start saving the data. The operation could take several minutes (especially if it is the first backup you make, the following ones will be incremental, therefore shorter).

By default, WhatsApp performs an automatic backup every day. To change this setting, tap on the item Automatic backup and choose if deactivate automatic backup (not recommended) or whether to set it up weekly o monthly instead of daily.

The WhatsApp backup does not include contacts, which are managed by the smartphone address book and not by the application itself. To have an iCloud backup of the contacts in the address book (and then be able to restore them on a new iPhone or on the same iPhone following a device reset), go to the menu Settings of iOS, select the you don't know displayed at the top of the screen that opens and go up iCloud.

Check, therefore, if the lever located next to the item Contacts is active and, if it is deactivated, activate it yourself. This will ensure that your contacts are synced online via iCloud. If other address book synchronization services in addition to iCloud are configured on your iPhone, such as Gmail, you must also go to the menu Settings> Contacts> Default account I will select the voice iCloud from the menu that opens to make iCloud the default service for address book synchronization.

Restore the WhatsApp backup on iOS

After making the backup, you are ready to restore your WhatsApp chats to another iPhone or the same iPhone after performing a system reset (or simply uninstalling the app). In order for the WhatsApp backup restore to be successful, the chat target iPhone must be associated with it telephone number and at the same Apple ID than where the backup files come from.

If you intend to transfer your chats to a new number, before proceeding to restore the backup you must "move" the WhatsApp account. To do this, start WhatsApp on your current iPhone, go to the tab Settings e seleciona le voci Account> Change number from the screen that opens. Then follow the instructions on the screen and within a few seconds your account will be transferred to the new number. For more information on the procedure to change the number on WhatsApp, see my tutorial about it.

When you are ready to restore the WhatsApp backup, all you have to do is download (or re-download) the application on your iPhone, start it and press the button Accetta and continue. If you are asked for permission to access contacts and notifications, accept.

Successively, type il tuo cellphone number in the appropriate text field, tap the button end located at the top right and wait for the number to be verified. At the end of the verification, if everything goes the right way, the screen for restoring the backup from iCloud should appear: then press the button Restore located at the top right and wait a few seconds for the data recovery to be completed. Only the conversations, photos and videos will be restored will be downloaded gradually when the iPhone is connected to a Wi-Fi network.

Finally, choose the name and profile photo to use on WhatsApp and you can start (re) using the app by finding chats, groups, etc. where you left them. Happy?

How to backup WhatsApp on computer

Cloud services, such as Google Drive and iCloud, are the most convenient and immediate tool for backing up WhatsApp. However, as they say, caution is never too much and I therefore recommend that you save your conversations on your PC as well. How you do it? I'll explain it to you right away.

  • A terminal was used Android, connect your phone to your computer via USB cable. Then open theFile Explorer Windows, select the item PC / Computer question from the left sidebar and double-click the icon for your smartphone. At this point, go to the HomeWhatsApp folder and save the contents on your computer. If you use a Mac, you cannot act directly from the Finder but you must install the Android File Transfer application which allows you to browse the memory of Android devices (to copy the WhatsApp folder to your computer, you simply have to drag it out of the program window). If any steps are not clear to you, read my guide on how to connect Android to the PC where you find everything you need to know explained. After making the backup on your computer, you can use it, if necessary, on a smartphone by copying the file msgstore.db.crypt12 in the Device Name folder WhatsAppDatabases of the latter (just as explained above for the Android offline backup).

  • If you use a iPhone, you need to connect your phone to the computer and start iTunes (if you don't have iTunes installed on your PC yet, find out how to download iTunes by reading my guide about it). After that, if it is the first time you connect the two devices to each other, you must authorize communication by pressing the appropriate buttons that appear on the displays of both and you must click on the icon of the phone that appears at the top left of the PC. After this step too, select the item Riepilogo from the left sidebar, put the check mark next to the option What computer e pulsing sul pulsating Back up now. In this way you will get a complete backup of the device that you can restore in case of need by finding, among other things, the WhatsApp conversations in their place. If you also want to include passwords and health data in the backup, put the check mark next to the item Encode iPhone backup and set a password to protect the backup. If you still don't know how to restore iPhone via iTunes, read the guide I wrote on the subject.

Transfer the WhatsApp backup to another operating system

As we have seen, the WhatsApp backup can be transferred from one device to another only if the two devices use the same operating system (eg. Android> Android or iOS> iOS). However, there are third-party applications that allow you to bypass this restriction and to transfer WhatsApp backups from one system to another, more precisely from iOS to Android (unfortunately there are currently no simple methods to do the reverse).

Among the applications that allow you to transfer WhatsApp backups from iOS to Android there is Wazzap Migrator and costs only 3,79 euros. The app is very simple to use, but requires some preliminary "tweaking". To get WhatsApp backup files from the iPhone, in fact, you need to connect the smartphone to the computer, make a backup with iTunes (as explained above) and use software like iMazing to access the files in the backup.

Continuing with the example of iMazing (very good software, available as a free trial on both Windows and macOS), you need to select the item relating to the last iPhone backup from the left sidebar, then you have to go up App Groups and select the folder AppDomainGroup-group.net.whatsapp.WhatsApp.shared from which to get the file ChatStorage.sqlite which contains the chat backup.

Once the file has been extracted from the iPhone backup, copy it to the Android smartphone, install Wazzap Migrator e pigiare sul pulsating Select iPhone storage to select it.

At the end of a short processing, the app will confirm that the data has been imported and will allow the restoration of the WhatsApp chats from the iPhone file.

To complete the backup restore procedure, all you have to do is install (or reinstall) WhatsApp on your smartphone and accept the restoration of the data from the backup after verifying the number.

WhatsApp, in fact, will recognize the backup taken from the iPhone as a backup made by Android and will allow you to restore it without problems. For more information on this, consult the official website of Wazzap Migrator.

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