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How to restore WhatsApp chat backup on Android

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Unlike Facebook Messenger or some other instant messengers, WhatsApp doesn’t store chat backups on any servers as it supports end-to-end encryption. Messages are only stored locally. We all welcome that as privacy is an important topic these days, but there is one minor downside to that.

Namely, if you uninstall WhatsApp from your device or clear app storage, all your chat history will be gone. Luckily, there’s an option to back up your chats to Google Drive which can be a lifesaver. But how do you restore those backups? Can you back up photos and videos? Keep on reading and you’ll find out in no time.

How do I restore my old WhatsApp messages from Google Drive?

As you probably know, WhatsApp uses Google Drive as a go-to cloud client to store backups. These backup files, due to an agreement between Google and Facebook (which owns WhatsApp), do not take any storage space. This is great if you have a ton of multimedia-filled chats you care to save.

Every new backup just updates over the old one, uploading only changes. The downside is that you can save one and only one backup. When creating a new backup, the old one gets overwritten. This can’t be surpassed as there’s no way to export chats and store them locally.

And backing up data is a habit you have to take seriously. If something goes wrong, everything can be lost. An example is a mandatory factory reset that will erase your internal storage, along with app data and media files.

You can also locate local back ups that WhatsApp stores in the internal storage. To locate them, you should open a File Manager and navigate to Internal Storage > Android > Media > com.whatsapp > WhatsApp > Databases. You might need to enable hidden system files to access the said folder.

Once there, you can restore a backup from an older date by renaming the file to msgstore.db.crypt14. An example would be changing msgstore-YYYY-MM-DD.1.dbcrypt14 to msgstore.db.crypt14.

How to configure WhatsApp chat backup?

Moving forward, you can configure a variety of options concerning backups, enable automatic backups, change the frequency of backups, etc. Also, you can allow for backups to be created on Mobile Data or change the Google Account you want to use to store backups.

Basically, a variety of nifty options you probably should inspect. Just open WhatsApp and then navigate to the 3-dot menu > Settings > Chats > Chat backup and you’ll see numerous options concerning backing up your chat history along with multimedia files.

How can I get my old WhatsApp messages?

Now, restoring a backup to WhatsApp is quite simple. You’ll get prompted whenever signing into WhatsApp for the first time. Just make sure to sign in with your number and you’ll get an option to restore the backup.

However, it depends on what Google Account you have assigned to WhatsApp. If you are using one and particular Google Account on your devices, restoring a backup should be a walk in a park.

On the other hand, if you are signed on your device with a different Google Account, you should sign in with the one related to WhatsApp, or Backup restore won’t be available.

With that out of the way, here’s how to restore your WhatsApp chat history from Google Drive:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Choose Apps and then All apps, App manager, or Manage apps.
  3. Open WhatsApp.
  4. Choose Storage.
  5. Clear the App Data.whatsapp restore backup
  6. After that open WhatsApp and sign in with your number.
  7. Follow the instructions and, when prompted, choose to restore a backup. As simple as that.

Have in mind that backups older than 1 year will be automatically deleted from Google Drive. And no, you can’t back up the backups locally and restore them later. It’s just the way it is, sadly.

With that said, we can wrap it up. Thank you for reading and we hope this was helpful. Don’t forget to tell us what are your thoughts on the backup system WhatsApp is utilizing or present us with certain issues you’ve encountered along the way. You can do so in the comments section below.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in November 2019. We made sure to revamp it for freshness and accuracy.

Picture of Aleksandar Ognjanovic

Aleksandar Ognjanovic

Managing editor at Mobile Internist. @lemmingspain My fascination with mobile technology, particularly Android and iOS, began years ago and continues today. I'm captivated by the constant evolution in the smartphone industry and its impact on our daily lives, always anticipating the next big innovation. That’s the main reason why I found myself writing instructive content on the subject for users who are not as familiar with all the bells and whistles.
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