Losing the history of conversations on WhatsApp can be devastating, and circumstances are irrelevant. People who want to reminisce over old texts and those whose chat contained crucial information often feel equally desperate. Both types of people deserve a quick, easy, and effective solution, and we intend to present it below. We also recommend you disable automatic backup to iCloud or Google Drive until you get your chat back. After that, it’s down to your luck and a little bit of work – no technical knowledge required. With that acknowledged, here’s how to recover WhatsApp chat.
How to restore WhatsApp chat on Android
You must use the same Google account and the phone number linked to the WhatsApp account that suffered data loss. Here are 4 methods to recover WhatsApp chat exchanges:
1. Unarchive a WhatsApp chat
If you accidentally archive a chat with someone, a new option will appear at the bottom, allowing you to tap Undo.
If it’s been a while since it happened, scroll down and do this:
- Tap on Archived chats (X).
- X represents the number of conversations that were archived.
- Tap and hold the WhatsApp chat you want to restore.
- Tap on the Unarchive icon in the top right corner (box with an Up arrow).
2. Restore chat from Google Drive backup
Follow these steps to get your WhatsApp conversations back from Google Drive:
- Uninstall WhatsApp, then download WhatsApp for Android again.
- Install and open WhatsApp and authenticate your phone number.
- You’ll see a Backup found screen.
- Tap on Restore.
- Give it some time, then tap Next.
- Enter your profile name and tap Next again.
- Choose the frequency of automatic Google Drive backups.
We recommend Daily or Weekly.
- Select the Google account for future backups.
- Your conversation history on WhatsApp should be back now.
3. Recover chat from the most recent local backup
WhatsApp creates automatic local backup files every day at 2 A.M. At any point, you can retrieve chat from a local backup for the past 7 days. The process is identical to the one above, only this time the Backup found screen will display backup from local storage rather than Google Drive.
We strongly recommend doing this beforehand:
- Open WhatsApp, slide from left to right to open the left-hand menu.
- Tap on Backups.
- Delete the Google Drive backup if it exists. It has your phone number in the name.
- To do this, tap on the 3 dots next to its name, then select Delete backup.
This will prevent WhatsApp from discovering a cloud backup over your local file. A cloud backup of the already restored chats will be created afterward, so no data is lost.
4. Recover chat from an older local backup
If you accidentally deleted your chat history and it is past 2 A.M., WhatsApp can only detect the most recent backup and thus restore empty chats. To fix this, you must trick the WhatsApp application. Here’s how to make WhatsApp detect older local backups as the newest one:
- Open the File Manager app on your smartphone.
- Look for the WhatsApp/Databases folder in your sdcard or storage folder, depending on whether you have an SD card inserted.
- The newest backup doesn’t have numbers in its primary name. It looks like this: msgstore.db.crypt12.
- Rename it to anything you like, for example, msgstore.db-newest.crypt12.
Never edit crypt12, even if the number is lower or higher. It signals encryption protocol to WhatsApp.
- Now decide which older backup to restore from, based on when the chat existed. They’re marked with a date in their name to help you distinguish.
- Rename it from, for example, msgstore-2021-01-18.1.db.crypt12 to msgstore.db.crypt12.
- Erase Google backup if it exists.
- Follow steps 1 through 9 we listed under method 2.
Steps to recover WhatsApp chat on iOS
Here are 3 methods that allow you to get your WhatsApp chat back on iOS:
1. Recover chat from Archive
If you just made a mistake and archived the chat, do this:
- Shake your iPhone.
- A pop-up window titled Undo Archive will appear.
- Tap on Undo.
Here’s what to do if some time has passed since you accidentally tapped on Archive:
- Scroll up in the list of chats.
- Tap on the Archived Chats option below the search bar.
- Swipe left on the chat you want to get back.
- Tap on the Archive button that appears.
2. Restore conversations from an iCloud backup
For this to work, you must be signed in to the Apple ID that has the data stored, and use and verify the phone number that the chats belong to. Due to the nature of Apple ID, multiple users can simultaneously store their WhatsApp backup, but under unique phone numbers.
Make sure iCloud automatic backup was turned on
Log in to the Apple ID, then follow these instructions to verify iCloud automatic backup was enabled:
- Tap on the Settings tab at the bottom of the WhatsApp window.
- Go to Chats, then Chat backup.
- Check the Auto Backup option. It will show Daily, Weekly, Monthy, or Off next to it.
If it’s set to anything but Off, there’s a chance you can get your text messages back. It depends when they were lost.
Instructions to recover WhatsApp chat from iCloud
The required steps are nearly identical to the Android/Google Drive counterpart (method 2 above). The only differences are downloading WhatsApp for iOS instead of Android, and choosing backup frequency for iCloud rather than Google Drive.
3. Restore chat using a local backup
Unlike Android, iOS only stores the latest backup rather than for the last 7 days. That means there are no direct ways to restore older backups. WhatsApp always gives priority to iCloud, which is what we suggest you do first as well. However, that doesn’t always work. Here’s what to do to restore chats from a local WhatsApp backup on iOS:
- Optional. Disable automatic backup to iCloud temporarily.
- Open the Settings app.
- Tap your name or profile icon under Apple ID.
- Select iCloud.
- Tap on Manage Storage.
- Select WhatsApp Messenger, then tap on Edit.
- Tap on Delete Data…
- Follow the same instructions to restore the chat on WhatsApp from iCloud.
- WhatsApp will detect local backup during the first boot since iCloud backup doesn’t exist.