How to Backup & Restore Your Whatsapp Data
The WhatsApp free messaging app is one of the most popular around, touting near one billion users worldwide. The service has rapidly evolved since its early days in 2009, but no matter how many upgrades it undergoes or iterations of the software the developers release, there’s one common question that users are continually asking themselves—how to backup their data in the event something goes wrong.
Be it accidental data wipe, damaged device, or theft of your smartphone, there are some very real threats that could put your WhatsApp data at risk. In addition, in 2017, several devices became obsolete, as WhatsApp ended their support for the platforms.
Thankfully, with a few cloud storage tricks, you can ensure that your information is saved and ready to restore on a new device in case of the worst.
Wait. Doesn’t WhatsApp Create Automatic Backups?
This is true. WhatsApp does create auto backups to your smart device’s internal storage at regular intervals. If you simply want to restore to one of these backups, then you need only access them through your WhatsApp chat settings (you can also switch automatic backups off from here, if they make you uncomfortable for whatever reason).
Here’s the rub: your automatic backups update every day, so if you want to get a hold of older messages, you might be out of luck. Furthermore, local WhatsApp backup is useless if your phone is lost, stolen, becomes outdated, etc., so this option only provides a limited amount of utility.
Alternatively, you could try a manual backup or WhatsApp data transfer. This works well for Android devices, as you just transfer all your WhatsApp information to an SD card, then use that SD card to upload the data to a new device.
Simply go to your smartphone’s file manager (where you can view the internal storage data), go to the WhatsApp folder, then copy that information to the SD card you have loaded on the device. You can keep that SD card in a safe place then use it in a new device to get your data back when installing WhatsApp again.
If you don’t have SD storage, or want another method to make sure you can get to older messages and have access to them in the event your device falls out of your possession, you’re going to need to employ some creative uses of cloud storage (quick refresher: cloud storage refers to storing data on remote, internet-accessible servers so that you can get to the information from multiple locations).
WhatsApp & Google Drive
Back in 2015, WhatsApp rolled out an integration feature with GoogleDrive that allows users to easily backup data to the cloud storage service. First, you’ll need to remember to use the same Google account for both your WhatsApp backup and restoration. WhatsApp helpfully lays out the step by step process right on their FAQ:
Tap the Menu Button > Settings > Chats > Chat backup.
Here you can tap Back Up to create an immediate backup, and you can also tap on Back up to Google Drive to set up a backup frequency.
If you do not have a Google account already set up, tap Add account when prompted.
Tap on Back up over to choose the network you wish to use for backing up. Please note that backing up over cellular may result in additional data charges.”
They take care to note that while this is the easiest method for Android users, it can take a while to complete. Moreover, your backup data isn’t protected by their end-to-end encryption while it’s hanging out in the cloud.
WhatsApp & iCloud
As the Google Drive option is limited to Android users, iPhone owners must instead make use of iCloud to back up their data to the cloud. You can make an iCloud backup at any time that you wish by going to your WhatsApp chat settings and selecting the “Back Up Now” option.
This will upload your information to your personal iCloud account, which you can ten restore on a new device, provided you’re using the same iCloud account. Bear in mind that, at minimum, you must have iOS 7 installed on your Apple smartphone, and you should be signed into iCloud for the process to work correctly.
Alternatively, you could backup your entire iPhone via iTunes on your computer and restore that data on your current or future device using the feature. This method might take a bit longer, and there is a possibility you’ll lose some of your data but overall, it’s another solid alternative for you to consider, particularly if you’ve exhausted other options.
WhatsApp & DropBox / Other Cloud Services
With a bit of work, you can also use additional cloud services like Dropbox to backup your WhatsApp information (perhaps you’re not a fan of Google Drive?). You’ll need to make use of a secondary Android app to take data from your SD card and upload it to the cloud, but other than that it’s rather similar to the method we described earlier for copying data to an SD card to use later.
Some apps that enable this feature also come with the option of automatically syncing your smartphone WhatsApp data with the cloud at specified intervals, helpful if you’re somewhat forgetful about creating backups manually.
Going from Android To iPhone (Or Vice Versa?)
One question that constantly confounds users going from one operating system to another is how they’re supposed to handle backing up and restoring their WhatsApp info. Unfortunately, there’s no official WhatsApp feature to enable this, but there are a few workarounds that may prove useful.
When attempting to go from an Android device to an iPhone, the Email Chat transfer method allows you to save specific chats or WhatsApp history items to an email attachment and restore that saved data on an iPhone device.
For users going from iPhone to Android, several third-party apps exist that can either transfer WhatsApp data from an iPhone to a computer and then to an Android device, or take an iPhone backup and make it accessible via Android.
Make sure to review the methods discussed carefully and follow the steps that apply to your specific situation. Transferring WhatsApp data might seem daunting at first, but by making use of various cloud storage methods and following some simple instructions, you can navigate the process with increased confidence.