How to transfer old WhatsApp chats to your new smartphone

How to transfer old WhatsApp chats to your new smartphone

If you get a new phone and simply sign in to your WhatsApp account on it, your old messages don't automatically transfer across. This tutorial explains how to transfer WhatsApp chats to a new device, so you can pick up your exactly where you left off.

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1. Google Drive backup and restore

Newer versions of WhatsApp include automatic Google Drive backups, which makes the process of transferring your WhatsApp chat history between phones even easier than before.

  • You simply tap the trio of dots at the top left of the screen and go to Settings > Chats > Chat backup
  • From here, you can back up manually, or set it to automatically backup as regularly as you like. When WhatsApp is reinstalled, it will prompt you to recover your chats and multimedia from Google Drive.
  • Chats and contacts will appear in the app instantly, whilst media will begin downloading in the background.
  • This is the method we use when we switch smartphones for reviews and testing etc.
whats app backup chat
The ability to make Google Drive backups in the latest version of WhatsApp makes life easier / © NextPit

2. Manually backing up chats and restoring them

If you've yet to receive the Google Drive WhatsApp update, or just like to do things the old-school way, it's still reasonably easy to create a backup and move it to your new phone. Simply proceed as follows:

  • Open the Settings menu of WhatsApp, tap on Chats and calls and then tap Chat backup.
whatsapp backup 2018
Tap the three dots (options) button. Go to Settings > Chats > Chat backup / © NextPit
  • If your old Android phone and new one both primarily use an external SD card for memory, simply back up to the SD card and then switch it out of your old phone, and put it into your new one. Restore from the SD card to a newly installed WhatsApp on your new phone.
  • For phones that save to internal memory, such as most newer devices, connect your smartphone to your PC via USB cable, and navigate to the internal memory of the device to the folder WhatsApp / Database. This is where all the backup files are saved with a date. They will look something like "msgstore-2013-05-29.db.crypt". Copy the file with the latest creation date (it will have a different name from the automatic backups created, mine is "msgstore.db.crypt8") onto your PC in an easy to find location (such as your desktop). 
  • Install WhatsApp on your new device but do not start the app!

  • Connect your new device to the PC via USB. Because you've already downloaded WhatsApp onto your new handset, the folder WhatsApp / Databases should now exist. If not, you can manually create a new Databases folder in the WhatsApp folder. 

androidpit whatsapp databases conversations
You can use a folder browsing app like File Commander to navigate to your internal storage on your phone, just like you can on your PC / © NextPit
  • Copy your WhatsApp conversation backup file into this folder.
  • Now start WhatsApp on your new phone and verify your phone number. You should now get a notification that a message backup was found. Just tap Restore, and you're done. After a few seconds, all of your messages should have appeared on your new device.

3. Transferring WhatsApp chats from iPhone to Android

Please note that without using a questionable third-party tool, it is not currently possible to transfer chats from iOS to Android or vice versa. iPhone users can, however, use iCloud to get their old messages on their new iPhone in much the same way as Android users can make use of the Google Drive backup feature.

Are there any other methods you've tried? Did you manage to transfer your WhatsApp data to a new phone smoothly? Let us know in the comments. 

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Readers' favorite comments

  • Gloria Hackler May 7, 2016

    It's quite easy to transfer WhatsApp chat from one OS (android to android or iPhone to iPhone) but the real trouble is when you want to transfer your chats from one OS to another.


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  • thank you, i didn't know i had to back up the chat first. It worked smoothly once i followed your video.

  • Max 7 months ago Link to comment


    I suddenly lost all my WhatsApp messages for no reason, and restoring them from my local backup does not work. Can you help me fixing this issue?

    Let me explain:

    In January I used the app « Import That App Messages from Windows Phone », in order to recover my WhatsApp messages from my old Windows phone to my new Android phone. I successfully performed the data transfer process to this phone (OnePlus 7T Pro, Android 10).

    However today when I opened the WhatsApp app I suddenly got a message which said something like « Your chat history stopped working. You can restore your data by clicking on Restore ». I chose Restore but it actually only restored empty group discussions, without any messages inside, and no discussion were restored. Then, in the WhatsApp settings I checked my backup settings and saw there was a Google Drive backup dated of January (which corresponds to the moment I originally transferred my data from my old Windows Phone) and a local backup from February (which contains important new messages arrived in the meantime).

    So I decided I would try to restore the local backup, since it is more recent.
    I uninstalled WhatsApp, then installed it again and followed the instructions until it asked me to restore from a Google Drive backup. At this moment I turned off my Internet connection, clicked on Continue, waited until a message told me something like « The research is taking longer than expected ». Then I clicked on Skip so that WhatsApp detected my local backup and asked me if I wanted to restore it. I clicked on Restore, then the process started with a progression bar, but when the bar arrived at 100% I got an error message proposing me to Ignore or to Look for an older backup. The 1st button led to a restore only of empty group discussions.
    I uninstalled WhatsApp again, did the same process and tried the 2nd button, which led to a search for a Google Drive backup, which I don’t want to use.

    I tried the process several times but it failed every time.

    I precise that in my internal phone storage I kept a folder « WhatsApp » inside which I have 3 visible folders: Backups, Databases, and Media. There are also 4 hidden folders: .Shared, .StickerThumbs, .Thumbs, and .trash.
    Inside Backups there are 4 files: chatsettingsbackup.db.crypt1, statusranking.db.crypt1, stickers.db.crypt1, and wallpaper.bkup.
    Inside Databases there is 1 file: msgstore.db.crypt12 (which I believe is the main backup file to recover my messages).
    Inside Media there are 10 folders : .Status, WallPaper, WhatsApp Animated Gifs, WhatsApp Audio, WhatsApp Documents, WhatsApp Images (this folder contains all my pictures sent and received), WhatsApp Profile Photos, WhatsApp Stickers, WhatsApp Video, and WhatsApp Voice Notes.

    I really need help. Can you help me restore my messages? What should I do?

    Thank you a lot in advance!

    • timmyd 4 months ago Link to comment

      Did you ever get a solution to this? I have exactly the same problem - imported successfully from Windows phone backup and all ok but then lost all chat history and restore from local backup does not work!

      • Max 4 months ago Link to comment

        I did not get any real solution to this. Finally, I decided to try to import my Google Drive backup, backup that I performed just after I imported my WP messages in January. So I lost all the messages I received and sent in the meantime. If you don't have any Google Drive backup, you can still reimport your WP messages again by performing the steps you originally did when you first imported your WP messages.
        You can take a look at this page: http s:// com/view/importmessagesfromthatapp/home
        You can also contact the dev of this app if you need additional help.

  • Nice share. In addition, I found that MobiTrans Transfer can also transfer WhatsApp messages very well.

  • Thanks so much. I successfully transferred all my What's App data to my new phone. One note -- in the instruction " you can manually create a new Databases folder in the WhatsApp folder", you didn't mention making a Media folder and transferring the media files also from your old phone. So the first time I followed your instructions, my videos did not transfer over. I went back and repeated all your instructions, but added in making a folder for Media and copying my video files into it. Now I have everything in What's App on my new Pixel phone!

  • I have an old S8 with whattsapp messages that need to restore into my new S10.
    In the meantime I have been using whatsaap on the new S10.
    Will the two merge phones whattsapp message merge or will I loose the messages that are already in the S10

    • JakkeJ 3 months ago Link to comment

      Did you get an answer to this? I got the same thing, but I just upgraded from my old LG G6 (I have a V30 that I broke so I swapped back to my G6) to an Xperia 1 II, and I want all messages merged so the convos actually makes sense!

  • I realized that WhatsApp doesn't give you the option of local restore if it detects that you've already added a Google/Gmail account to your Android. It will always only show you the online Google Drive restore method. SOLUTION: Go to Settings > Accounts and Remove your Gmail account. Then reinstall WhatsApp and try again. This time it will detect the local backup file. (You should have copied over the Databases folder or the entire WhatsApp folder from the old phone onto the new phone before restoring of course). You can add your Google account back to the phone now. Hope this helps people who can't restore WhatsApp from Google Drive because of slow internet.

  • Liz M 10 months ago Link to comment

    trying to transfer app history from old android phone to new android phone. I have backed up to Google Drive. Installed WhatsApp on new phone but never get the screen to have option to RESTORE. Have done this half dozen times. Help!

  • Angie 11 months ago Link to comment

    I've installed whatsapp on my new phone, and not started the app; I've connected my new phone to my pc to copy the backup file which is saved to my desktop - but when I look on File Explorer there is no WhatsApp folder on my phone - not just no database folder, but no WhatsApp folder at all! But the app is showing on the Apps screen. What should I do now, to get my backup file across? Thanks for any help!

    • Manually create the folder(s) if it doesn't exist. And then copy the latest backup file into the 'Databases' folder.

      • Angie 11 months ago Link to comment

        Thanks - I created a WhatsApp folder and a Databases folder within it, and put the backup file in there - and it worked :)

  • Elsa Oct 14, 2019 Link to comment

    Hi, I made a whatsapp backup in google drive from old phone. Moved my simcard to the new one. started whatsapp, entered my phone nr. received a message with a code. .... but then whatsapp automatically started (without me entereing the code and showed the chats of the previous phone owner. I had previously removed all old gmail accounts and created a new one for myself on the new phone. how can i get my chats back? should I remove the whatsapp app altogether and isnatll a new one? thanks, E

    • I think you need to log in to the account you took backup of WhatsApp on, instead of creating a new one. Once you do that, if you uninstall WhatsApp and reinstall (on new phone), you can go through the process by entering a code, and you should get a prompt to restore the backup.

  • marco sarli
    • Admin
    Sep 26, 2019 Link to comment

    Always backup.When you transfer to a new android device everything will be right there

  • For some Whatsapp users, it is important to transfer account data after switching operating systems. This is not possible with standard WhatsApp application tools, so you must use third-party method.

  • Transferring chats between same OSes is easy but WhatsApp still doesn't allow cross-platform transfer. So, if you're looking to transfer chats from iPhone/iOS to Android, you will need to use some third party software like the one shown in this youtube video : . This is the thing that helped me transfer WhatsApp chats and media from my iPhone to my Samsung Galaxy S10+.

    On the other hand, If you'd like to transfer WhatsApp chats from Android to iPhone then you might find Quora discussions helpful:


    • Hi Gloria. Is there any cost to register the application mentioned in the youtube video? Or is the tool freeware?

    • JDWizz 6 months ago Link to comment

      So, how do I transfer my internal backup from old android phone (sim no longer active) to new android phone? I already moved my account to the new number, but none of messages transferred over.

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