How to Restore WhatsApp Messages

Get your chats back on your account

What to Know

  • Create a backup by going to Settings > Chats > Chat Backup. Delete WhatsApp on the old device.
  • On the new device, download WhatsApp and follow the prompts. Enter your phone number > Done.
  • Next, tap Restore History. Data will download from the cloud service associated with your smartphone.

This article explains how to restore WhatsApp messages and account information if you have to reinstall the app or if you're switching to a new device. Instructions cover WhatsApp for iOS and Android.

How to Restore WhatsApp Messages

Before you can restore messages in the WhatsApp app, you will need to check a few things first:

  • Check that you’ve made a backup of your WhatsApp account.
  • Make sure your account and your device have the same phone number. You cannot restore WhatsApp backups from a different account or phone number.
  • Ensure the account and device have the same iCloud or Google Drive account.

Once you’re ready, follow the steps below.

  1. Check that you have a backup saved to either iCloud or Google Drive by going to Settings > Chats > Chat Backup.

  2. If you haven’t made a backup of your WhatsApp chat history, or you need to make a more-recent one, do so now.

    You may want to connect to a Wi-Fi to speed up the process and reduce data usage.

  3. Delete WhatsApp from your iPhone or remove if from your Android device.

  4. On your existing smartphone, or on your new smartphone, download the WhatsApp app from the appropriate app store.

    Reinstalling the app is important as it’s impossible to restore account data once a WhatsApp app has been fully set up on a device.

  5. Open WhatsApp, then tap Agree & Continue.

    WhatsApp app on iPhone.
  6. The WhatsApp app will ask you if you want to let it send you notifications. Tap Don't Allow or Allow. The choice is yours.

  7. Enter your phone number and tap Done.

    Remember that this must be the same number that's associated with your existing WhatsApp account.

  8. Tap Restore History. Your data will begin to download from the cloud service associated with your smartphone. This may take a few minutes depending on the number of WhatsApp chat messages in your backup and your internet connection.

    WhatsApp app on iPhone.
  9. Tap Next.

  10. Enter your name, add a profile picture, then tap Done.

    WhatsApp app on iPhone.

    Your image and name may be automatically completed from your backup but you can change it here and at any time in the future if you want.

  11. Your WhatsApp account will now be fully restored.

    If your iPhone or Android smartphone asks you for permission to access your contacts or address book, tap Allow. This is needed to connect with your WhatsApp contacts again after the restore has completed.

How to Restore WhatsApp Chats to a Different Phone Number

If you want to restore WhatsApp messages on a smartphone after changing to a different phone number, you don’t actually need to restore from a backup. Instead, simply open the WhatsApp app and go to Settings > Account > Change Number to migrate all of your WhatsApp account data to your new number.

The Change Number feature only works if you’re using the same smartphone. You can’t transfer your account to a different device with a different phone number. Additionally, you will need SMS to be functional on your new phone number to transfer your WhatsApp account to it.

Can You Restore WhatsApp Messages When Changing Phones?

Managing WhatsApp accounts with different hardware and numbers can be a little confusing. Here’s a brief rundown of each possible situation you may encounter and how your WhatsApp messages and accounts are handled.

  • Switching from iPhone to iPhone or Android to Android with same number: Simply download the app onto your new phone and log in. All of your data and messages will transfer seamlessly.
  • Switching from iPhone to Android or Android to iPhone with same number: Downloading the app will transfer your account data and contacts but your messages and chat history will stay on your old phone.
  • Switching to a new phone with a new number: You’ll be unable to transfer your WhatsApp account data or messages and will need to make a new account for your new phone number.
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