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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 / © AndroidPIT

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 / © AndroidPIT
  • 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 / © AndroidPIT
  • 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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  • 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 : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJULYrIGVGk . 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:

    1. https://www.quora.com/How-do-I-transfer-all-WhatsApp-chats-from-an-Android-to-an-iPhone
    2. https://www.quora.com/How-do-I-transfer-WhatsApp-messages-from-Android-to-iOS-using-free-alternatives-to-Backuptrans-28

  • Thank you so much man. You rock. Have a good 2019 .

  • F.Alam 9 months ago Link to comment


  • Sophia 9 months ago Link to comment

    I'm bad to whatever is related to phones or PCs so can someone make this clear for me? When it says "If your old Android phone and new one both primarily use an external SD card for memory, simply take the SD card out of your old phone, and put it into your new one" do I need to have WhatsApp downloaded on my new phone? If I swap my WhatsApp from internal storage to SD card on my old phone, remove the SD card and put it on the new one, will I have WhatsApp as well as all my chats with it?

    • No.
      * For Android devcie, you need to backup chats on phone storage, move the backup to new phone, finally install whatsapp messenger new phone and restore chats from the backup. Or simply use google drive.
      * For transferring between iPhones, iCloud is the best choice.
      * If you would like to transfer whatsapp chats between Android and iOS, you may need a 3rd whatsapp transfer backup restore untility call Backuptrans for help.

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  • Dear Brittany,
    Many many grazies! Bloody idjut Whatsapp system disallows expats to migrate data/chats via Google backup simply because after a few years of working in Mexico...Indonesia...China...etc, one has gone through *numerous* SIM cards. Loooong story short: impossible to transfer backed-up chats/data. You saved my wife and me from having to forego many old and very valuable chats from friends and family that are gone and dearly remembered.
    We thank you dearly for 'msgstore' method.
    Matt and Bell, Sydney, Oz

  • Thanks So Much for info:D

  • Google BACKUP is the BEST for backup

  • Some third party apps that can transfer WhatsApp chats from iPhone to android cant be trusted.

  • Gem Oct 1, 2018 Link to comment

    Please help I have tried many times to back up manually by moving the file but it's picking up that I used google drive once b4 and only gives me the option to back up with that... ( drive files are deleted and set to never before uninstalled) my big storage file I move the the whats app file manually and it doesn't use it :( please help me!

  • I'm about to do a factory reset on my phone so I backed up all my 1.6gb of chat, and to test it downloaded the app on my old phone. But the last back up it could find was from 2016, now I'm worried if I do the factory reset on my phone I won't get the recent backup only the backup I can find on my old phone, what should I do?

  • I'm a bit puzzled I've got an Android phone I use the backup for Google Drive. When I've done a test run the interesting thing is it backs up all my photos and videos it also backs up WhatsApp group conversations, however not individual conversations.

    I have used this work around and it's worked in the past, however I'm a bit puzzled why individual messages don't get restored after being restored from the Google drive .

    And yes I have checked both internally and on the external SD card memory.

    Any ideas ?


  • Lina Sep 1, 2018 Link to comment

    Thank you!!!! I am not a tech whiz and I tried using some other sites to no avail. Apparently the order and sequence of the installation is quite important and this article really helped me out in restoring ALL my chat history etc
    Really relieved!

  • Don't know but it is not working on some devices.

  • Irin J Apr 24, 2018 Link to comment

    How can I transfer my whatsapp from iPhone to Samsung A5 without using icloud as my icloud is full

  • WazzapMigrator can also transfer chats from iOS to Android but it is bit difficult to use.

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