The Backup Plan You Need to Save Your WhatsApp Conversations

Whatsapp on smartphone with cloud upload

There are few things you can depend on in this life and change is one of them. But with every change, you run the risk of leaving something important behind. If the pictures, gifs, and conversations you’ve had on WhatsApp are important to you, you might want to create a backup to guard against losing them in the event a big change surprises you. You can easily back up your WhatsApp in just a few simple steps.

Why a Backup Is a Good Idea

All good things come to an end. Even that sweet phone you bought just two years ago. You may drop it, shattering the screen. You might lose it on the way to the airport. Or maybe you just get seduced by the latest phone on the market. Either way, there will come a day when you need a new phone.

While WhatsApp does automatically save your conversations on your phone, having another backup could save your information should something happen to your phone. One way to make sure you don’t lose any of those fun conversations you’ve had over WhatsApp is to access a backup.

One thing to keep in mind, especially if you are switching from iPhone to Android or vice-versa – you cannot restore a backup from one operating system to the other. If you are switching from one iPhone to another, it will work fine, or if you switch from one Android phone to another that will work fine. You just can’t restore a backup from one to the other.

Backup WhatsApp from Your iPhone

WhatsApp uses iCloud for backups on iPhones. Before you can make a backup, you will need to ensure that WhatsApp has access to iCloud on your device. From your iPhone home screen, launch ‘Settings.’ Tap on ‘iCloud’, to bring up the iCloud options then tap on ‘iCloud Drive’ to turn iCloud on if it is off. Scroll down near the bottom of the list of apps to find WhatsApp. Make sure that access is turned on by clicking the slider to show green if it is not already.

Back at your home screen, launch WhatsApp. Tap on the gear icon near the bottom to launch the WhatsApp settings. Click on ‘Chats’ then locate and tap on the ‘Chats Backup’ to bring up your backup settings.

Tap on ‘Back Up Now’ to immediately begin backing up your chat history. It may be a good idea to do this when you are connected to Wi-Fi, especially if you are on a limited data plan with your cell phone service provider. You can automate this process in the future by tapping on ‘Auto Backup’ to turn on the feature. Schedule a backup to take place automatically either Monthly, Weekly, or Daily. You also have the option of including videos in your backup or leaving those out to save time and storage.

Now your chats are backed up, it means that when you launch WhatsApp for the first time on a new phone or after reinstalling the app, you can restore your history from the backup. When prompted during the initial setup, simply choose the option to ‘Restore Chat History’ and your backup will launch from iCloud.

Backup WhatsApp from Android

WhatsApp uses Google Drive to make a backup from Android Devices. If you want to do so you must have enough available space on Google Drive to store the backup. Moreover, you also need enough space on your phone to create the backup.

From the WhatsApp home screen, tap the three dots in the top right corner and select ‘Settings.’

WhatsApp backup settings

From the settings menu, find ‘Chats’ and tap on it to open up the Chats settings.

WhatsApp backup chats

Now find the ‘Chat backup’ setting near the bottom of the list to bring up the backup settings menu.

WhatsApp backup chat backup

To back up WhatsApp now, click on the green box labeled ‘Back Up’. Depending on your data plan, you may want to wait to do this step until you are on a Wi-Fi connection. You can set WhatsApp in the future to only do backups over Wi-Fi. With the ‘Back up over’ setting you can decide when Whatsapp will run the backup.

Setup WhatsApp to automatically backup conversations as frequently as you want. Tap on the ‘Back up to Google Drive’ option and select the frequency you desire, either ‘Daily’, ‘Weekly’, ‘Monthly’, or ‘Only when I tap “Back up”’.

Finally, you can also choose to either include videos in your conversation in the backup or leave them out by checking the box at the bottom of the menu labeled ‘Include videos’. This box is unchecked by default.

Restoring your chats on a new phone or after uninstalling and reinstalling WhatsApp is simple as well. During the setup after you open WhatsApp for the first time, you will be asked if you want to restore your previous messages. Tap ‘Restore’ to bring back your saved conversations from your backup.

You Have Options Available

WhatsApp makes it easy to back up everything in the app. It also gives you the option of backing up a single conversation, or group chat seperately. From the WhatsApp home screen, select the group chat or conversation that you would like to backup. Pull up the menu by tapping on the three dots in the top right-hand corner. Select ‘More’, and then tap on ‘Export chat.’

From this menu, you can choose how to send your backup from several options including email, backup to a cloud drive and more. Choose whether to ‘Attach Media’ including photos and video and WhatsApp will create a backup. The conversation will be sent in the form of a .txt file. If you chose to include media, they will be sent in separate files.

Final Thoughts

Knowing your conversations are conveniently stored can not only save you space on your phone but can also give you peace of mind. This way you won’t lose any of your conversations. So, even when you change phones, your conversations aren’t going anywhere.

It is important to also take your privacy into account when using WhatsApp. Saving all your personal information with a company means you need to place some trust in them. It would be wise to figure out who has access to your backup.

Tech journalist
Tove has been working for VPNoverview since 2017 as a journalist covering cybersecurity and privacy developments. Since 2019 she is's cybersecurity news coordinator.