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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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  • 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


  • 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 2 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 4 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 3 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 4 months ago 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
    4 months ago 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.
    is.gd/pbaqJQ


  • 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 .


  • Thanks


  • Sophia Dec 26, 2018 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.
    Yours,
    Matt and Bell, Sydney, Oz

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