How to move WhatsApp to a new phone: transferring backups & restoring

If you get a new smartphone and install WhatsApp, your old chats and groups don’t get automatically imported to the new phone. But with some simple steps, it is easy to ensure that all of your messages, pictures, and media transfer properly to the new device. Even when moving from an iPhone to an Android phone.

WhatsApp transfer backup & restore:

  1. Google Drive backup and restore on Android
  2. iCloud backup and restore on iPhones
  3. Manually backing up chats and restoring them
  4. Transferring WhatsApp chats from iPhone to Android

1. Google Drive backup and restore

WhatsApp on Android smartphones uses Google Drive for automatic backups. Those are tied to the phone number and Google account they were created on, so it is important to keep these details in mind. The feature makes it easy to transfer chats but to avoid losing messages it is critical to take some steps.

Depending on the current settings, backups may be turned off, or set to a weekly or monthly basis, which can leave an outdated chat history at Google Drive. To ensure your new phone will have all the latest messages, force a manual backup:

WhatsApp backups 1
Force a manual backup to ensure all recent messages are saved to the cloud / © NextPit
  1. On WhatsApp’s main screen tap the three dots button ⋮.
  2. Select Settings.
  3. Tap Chats.
  4. Go to Chat backup.
  5. Tap the BACK UP button.
    1. Important: If your videos are not backed up using other apps (like Google Photos), remember to check first the option Include Videos, otherwise, the backup will have only messages and photos.
WhatsApp backups 2
The Chat backup window is also used to define when backups are made / © NextPit

Now that all of your messages from the old phone are saved on Google Drive, you can start setting the new mobile up. But first, remember to register the same phone number/SIM card and Google Account on the new device. And to avoid surprises, we recommend you connect to a Wi-Fi access point instead of cellular data.

After opening up WhatsApp for the first time on the new smartphone, the app will ask if you want to restore the messages and media stored in the Google account. Confirm, and all messages and other files will start downloading in the background. Depending on the number of files, it may take a while.

2. Apple iCloud backup on iPhones

The backup steps are pretty much the same for iPhone owners, the main difference is that your chats are saved to the iCloud account online storage instead of Google Drive.

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Select Chats.
  3. Go to Chat Backup.
  4. Check the Include Videos option and then tap Back Up Now.
WhatsApp backups 3
Backup steps are almost identical on both iOS and Android / © NextPit

When setting up your new iPhone, remember to use the same Apple ID from the old phone, and to have iCloud Drive turned on, as well as the same phone number used previously. WhatsApp should ask if you want to restore the messages and media saved in the backup during the first run. Confirm, and wait for your data to sync automatically.

3. Manually backing up chats and restoring them

If you prefer to do things the old-school way, and you have an Android Phone, you can also manually backup your WhatsApp chat history. Just follow the same steps for creating a backup copy. The same file uploaded to Google Drive is also saved to the local storage on your smartphone.

  1. Open your old phone’s file manager.
  2. Go to the WhatsApp folder.
    1. It may be saved to a path like Internal storage > Android > media > com.whatsapp.
  3. Open the Databases subfolder.
  4. Select the latest file – usually named “msgstore.db.crypt[number]”.
  5. Use the Share function on the device to copy the file to a cloud storage service or email.
  6. On the new phone, create a WhatsApp > Databases folder on the device’s internal storage.
  7. Copy the file to the new folder.

If you prefer using a PC to copy the backup files and transfer them to the new phone, you can do it, and these same steps also help you save a backup to the computer.

  1. Connect your smartphone to the PC using a USB cable.
  2. Open the PC file manager and open the folder WhatsApp > Databases on the phone’s internal memory.
  3. Copy the file with the latest creation date to your PC.
  4. Install WhatsApp on the new phone – but do not start the app yet!
  5. Connect the new phone to the PC using USB.
  6. Create a folder WhatsApp > Databases in the new phone internal storage.
  7. Copy the file to the new folder.

When you first open WhatsApp on the new phone, remember to register the app with the same phone number used in the old device. After verifying the number, WhatsApp will search for the local backup, and when prompted to restore your chats tap RESTORE.

4. Transferring WhatsApp chats from iPhone to Android

In October 2021, Google announced that Android 12 phones can now transfer WhatsApp history from iPhones, using only a Lightning to USB cable — usually USB-C on newer Android phones. Before trying the feature, make sure WhatsApp is updated on both devices, and that the new phone’s app is registered to the same phone number as the old iPhone.

The procedure runs during the initial Android setup, so it is not possible to restore WhatsApp messages to an existing Android installation. If the device was already configured, you will need to restore it to factory defaults.

During the Android set-up, connect both phones using the Lightning-USB cable. And follow the onscreen prompts.

  1. When the QR code is displayed for transferring WhatsApp chats, scan the code with the iPhone camera.
    1. If the scan fails, open WhatsApp on the iPhone, then tap Settings > Chats > Move Chats to Android.
  2. Tap Start on the iPhone and wait for the file transfer.
  3. After setting up the new Android phone, install and open WhatsApp.
  4. Log in using the same phone number from the iPhone.
  5. Tap Import after WhatsApp detects your transferred backup.
WhatsApp backups 4
Transferring WhatsApp from iPhone to Android requires plugging both with a cable during the initial Android setup / © NextPit

After activating WhatsApp on the new phone, the old device will stop receiving messages. Remember that payment messages and call history are not transferred to the new device, only messages and most types of media (images, videos, audio messages).

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.

More WhatsApp guides on NextPit:


This article was updated in December 2021, including the steps to transfer the chat history from iPhones to Android. Previous comments may refer to older versions of this guide.

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