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How to Backup WhatsApp Messages on Android & iPhone

by | Aug 16, 2023

Many of us worry about our phones getting lost or stolen. But if you use WhatsApp, losing your phone can also mean losing your chats, pictures, documents, and memories. This is because WhatsApp keeps all your messages on your phone. So, if you don’t have a backup, you might not be able to recover them. Here’s how you can make a backup and get your data back. Additionally, once you have learned how to back up your WhatsApp messages, we recommend reading our article on “How to Restore Deleted WhatsApp Messages without Backup.”

Why Is It Important to Create a WhatsApp Data Backup?

It’s important to create a backup of your WhatsApp data because if you lose access to your device or it gets stolen, you’ll want to be able to transfer all your chats to a new device.

WhatsApp servers usually don’t keep copies of your sent messages. Sometimes, they store messages temporarily if they couldn’t be sent right away. All the messages are encrypted so that even WhatsApp and its parent company, Meta, can’t read them. Messages and media that couldn’t be sent are deleted after 30 days. This means that all your WhatsApp content is stored on your phone, including texts, photos, videos, reactions, stickers, and more. If you don’t have your old phone, the only way to get back all those conversations is by importing a backup onto a new device.

The app allows Android users to back up their data to Google Drive, while iOS users can use iCloud. You can set up the backups to be updated regularly and automatically.

How to Backup WhatsApp Messages on Android?

To back up your WhatsApp messages on Android, there are two ways:

Method 1: Back up to Google Drive via WhatsApp

To save your WhatsApp messages on Google Drive using an Android phone, follow these simple steps:

How to Backup WhatsApp Messages on Android?
  • Open WhatsApp on your Android phone.
  • Tap the three dots in the top-right corner of the screen.
  • Go to Settings, then tap on Chats.
  • Select Chat Backup, then choose Back up to Google Drive.
  • Make sure that the backup is set to happen regularly, not “Never.”
How to Backup WhatsApp Messages on Android?
  • Choose the Google account where you want to store the backup.
  • Tap on “Back Up” to start the process.

Advantages:

  • All your WhatsApp chats and media will be backed up.
  • It’s easy to restore the backup to a new device.

Disadvantages:

  • You can’t read the chats directly from the backup.
  • You can’t choose which specific chats to back up.

Method 2: Local backup to SD card

If you don’t want to use a cloud service like Google to save your private chats, you can instead back up your WhatsApp messages to your device’s SD card.

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To do this, follow these steps:

  • Open WhatsApp on your phone.
  • Tap the three dots in the top-right corner of the screen.
  • Go to Settings, then select Chats.
  • Choose Chat Backup, then tap on Back up to Google Drive.
  • Set the backup frequency to Never.
  • Go back to the Chat Backup screen and tap “Back Up”.

Advantages:

  • All your WhatsApp chats and media will be backed up.
  • You can restore the backup to a new device.

Disadvantages:

  • You won’t be able to read the chats directly from the backup.
  • You can’t choose specific chats to back up.
  • Restoring from the SD card is not as easy as using Google Drive.

How to Backup WhatsApp Messages on iPhone?

To back up your WhatsApp messages on an iPhone, there are two methods:

Method 1: Back up to iCloud via WhatsApp

If you want to save your WhatsApp chats to iCloud on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, you can do it directly from the WhatsApp app. However, keep in mind that you need enough free space on both your iCloud account and your iPhone for the backup.

To back up WhatsApp to iCloud, follow these steps:

  • Open WhatsApp on your iPhone.
How to Backup WhatsApp Messages on iPhone?
  • Go to Settings, then tap on Chats.
How to Backup WhatsApp Messages on iPhone?
  • Select Chat Backup, then tap Backup Now.
How to Backup WhatsApp Messages on iPhone?
  • On the Chat Backup page, you have some options:
How to Backup WhatsApp Messages on iPhone?

Auto Backup: You can choose how often you want your device to automatically back up to iCloud (Daily, Weekly, Monthly), or you can turn it off.

Include Videos: By default, videos in your WhatsApp chats won’t be included in the backup. You can enable this option if you want to back up videos as well.

End-to-end Encrypted Backup: You can enable this option to keep your backups secure with encryption.

Advantages:

  • All your WhatsApp chats and media will be backed up.
  • It’s easy to restore the backup to a device.

Disadvantages:

  • You can’t read the chats directly from the backup.
  • It takes up space in your iCloud account. If your storage is full, you may need to upgrade and pay for more storage.
  • You can’t choose specific chats to back up.

Method 2: Back up WhatsApp with iTunes or Finder

If you have an iPhone and you don’t want to use iCloud, you can back up your entire device, including your WhatsApp chats and media, using iTunes (or Finder on macOS Catalina or higher).

This method is useful for people who have run out of space in their iCloud storage or who prefer not to save private conversations in the cloud.

To back up your WhatsApp messages using iTunes or Finder:

Back up WhatsApp with iTunes or Finder
  • Connect your iPhone to your computer using a cable.
  • Open iTunes or Finder on your computer and select your iPhone.
  • Choose “This computer” as the backup destination on a PC, or “Back up all the data on your iPhone to this Mac” on a Mac.
  • Click on “Back Up Now” to start the backup process.
  • Your WhatsApp messages will be included in the backup.

Advantages:

  • All your WhatsApp chats and media will be backed up along with the rest of your device.
  • It doesn’t take up storage space on your iPhone.
  • You can easily restore the backup to another iPhone.
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Disadvantages:

  • You can’t read the chats directly from the backup.
  • You can’t choose specific chats to back up.

How to Restore WhatsApp Backup?

To restore your WhatsApp backup, you can refer to our article titled “How to Restore Deleted WhatsApp Messages without Backup.” In the article, we provide a detailed step-by-step guide that simplifies the process for you.

Is it Needed to Encrypt WhatsApp Backups?

Encrypting WhatsApp backups is not mandatory, but it is highly recommended for enhanced security and privacy. Here are a few reasons why encrypting WhatsApp backups is beneficial:

Protection against Unauthorized Access: Encrypting your WhatsApp backups ensures that even if someone gains access to your backup files, they won’t be able to read the contents without the encryption key. It adds an extra layer of protection against unauthorized access.

Safeguarding Sensitive Information: WhatsApp backups may contain sensitive information such as personal conversations, media files, and other private data. Encrypting the backups helps safeguard this information from being accessed or compromised by unauthorized individuals.

Secure Backup Storage: If you store your backups in less secure locations, such as cloud storage or external drives, encrypting them adds an additional level of security. It prevents anyone with access to those storage locations from viewing your backup data.

Data Integrity: Encryption helps maintain the integrity of your backup data. It ensures that the information remains unchanged and protected during storage and transfer processes.

Compliance with Privacy Regulations: Encrypting your WhatsApp backups may help you comply with privacy regulations or guidelines that require safeguarding personal or sensitive data.

How to Encrypt WhatsApp Backups?

You may have noticed that we haven’t talked about end-to-end encrypted backups yet. This special feature makes sure that your backup is kept private and can’t be read by people when they access it through your cloud storage. When you encrypt your backup, you’ll need to create a password or use a long passkey with 64 characters that are randomly generated. It’s really important to remember this password or passkey when you’re loading the backup onto your new device. 

To encrypt your backup, follow these steps:

How to Encrypt WhatsApp Backups?
  • Open the Chat backup menu in WhatsApp.
  • Select “End-to-end encrypted backup.”
  • Choose “Turn On” and decide whether you want to use a password or a passkey.
  • If you select “Create password,” enter your password twice for confirmation. It should have at least six characters with one letter.
  • If you choose “Use 64-digit encryption key,” you’ll be taken to a screen. Tap “Generate your 64-digit key,” then hold your key and select “Copy” to save it or take a screenshot. Keep this information safe. Press “Continue” and then “I Saved My 64-digit key.”
  • You’ll see a final confirmation screen. Select “Create.”
  • Perform a backup immediately to replace your unencrypted backup with an encrypted one.

From now on, you can unencrypt your cloud backup or change your password (if you’ve set one up). If you want to switch from a passkey to a password, that’s also possible. You can access these options by selecting “End-to-end encrypted backup” from the Chat backup menu.

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To unencrypt: Select “Turn off” and enter your passkey or password. If you’ve forgotten or lost your credential, select “I lost my encryption key/password,” and you’ll be asked to authenticate into your device for security. Select “Turn off” once again.

To change password: If you want to switch to a password or change your existing password, select “Change password.” You may need to provide your current password, but that’s not necessary if you’re switching from the 64-digit key. You can also bypass the password recall step by selecting “I lost my encryption password” and authenticating into your device.

How to Import a WhatsApp Account Backup to a New Device?

Here’s how to import a backup of your WhatsApp account:

  • Make sure your new device has the same phone number and is connected to the same Google Drive or iCloud account as your old device.
  • Open WhatsApp on your new device and select “Continue.” Enter your phone number and then select “Next.”
  • On your old device, where you are still logged in, WhatsApp will show a six-digit passcode. If you need help getting a new code, select “Need help getting a code?” and choose to receive it via SMS or a phone call.
  • Once you have the new passcode, enter it on your new device to verify.
  • You will then be asked about restoring your backup. Select “Restore.”
  • If you encrypted your backup, you’ll need to enter the password or passkey to confirm your identity. Without it, the backup won’t load.

How to Export Specific WhatsApp Chat Threads with Media Options?

If you want to keep a record of a specific chat with someone special or if you only need certain parts of your WhatsApp account, you can export individual chat threads. Here’s how:

  • Open WhatsApp and go to your chat list.
  • Select the conversation you want to export.
  • In the top-right corner, tap the three-dot icon (⋮), then choose “More,” and then “Export chat.”
  • Alternatively, you can go to the WhatsApp home screen, tap the three-dot icon (⋮), then go to “Settings,” “Chats,” “Chat history,” and select “Export chat.” From there, choose the conversation you want to export.
  • You’ll be asked if you want to include media like photos, videos, and voice chats in the export or if you prefer to exclude them. Choose the option that suits your needs.
  • The export process will begin.
  • Once it’s done, your device will prompt you to share or save the exported chat through another app. If you want to view the conversation, make sure the app you use supports .txt files.

Conclusion

Backing up your WhatsApp messages is crucial to protect your chats, media, and memories if you lose or have your device stolen. WhatsApp offers backup options for Android and iPhone using Google Drive and iCloud respectively. Regular backups ensure your data is safe and easy to restore.

WhatsApp also provides end-to-end encrypted backups, adding an extra layer of privacy. You can encrypt your backups with a password or a 64-digit passkey, ensuring only you can access the data.

You can also export specific WhatsApp chat threads, useful for saving important conversations or extracting specific information. Choose whether to include media attachments when exporting.

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