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How to restore WhatsApp chat deleted messages on Android

Written by: Ilia

Data recovery specialist, guest author, journalist.

With the advent of messengers (Whatsapp, Viber, Facebook), SMSmessages are gradually fading into oblivion. However, the same old problem of deleted messages is still relevant.

Most methods require a user to carry out some complex actions which don't always end positively. However, today we're going to show you a way to easily retrieve WhatsApp chat history.


How WhatsApp chats get deleted

Most often, WhatsApp chat history disappears:

  • after an accidental deletion, i.e. instead of "Add conversation" you clicked on "Delete chat. This often happens not due to user fault, but because of the inconvenience of a touchscreen;
  • after reflashing a phone: all data stored in internal memory is lost irretrievably;
  • after changing a phone: you have to reinstall the messenger and, as a result, all messages are lost.

The main ways of restoring a WhatsApp chat:

How to retrieve deleted chats in Whatsapp: the standard way

Fortunately, all WhatsApp chats are safely stored in backups.  Backups are made automatically on a phone every day and on a schedule.

Perhaps the easiest way to retrieve old WhatsApp messages is to delete WhatsApp and reinstall it. After specifying your verification number, you'll be asked if you’d like to restore a backup copy from Google Drive or import a local file with your messages history.

Recovering messages via Google Drive

When it is first launched, WhatsApp suggests enabling backing up your data to Google Drive cloud.

Accordingly, the most simple and obvious way to restore a chat is from a file stored in Google Drive.

How to restore messages from Google Drive backup copy:

  1. After installing Whatsapp, open the messenger and specify your phone number (the one you used before).
  2. Select the method of restoring in the "Restore chat history" window and click the "Restore" button.

Did you fail to find a backup copy?

If you can’t find a backup copy, it could be for one of the following reasons:

  1. You're using a different Google account, not the one you used in Whatsapp;
  2. You've specified a phone number which wasn't previously used in the app;
  3. The memory card is corrupted, has errors, or the file with the WhatsApp messages fails to open);
  4. There are no message backup copies on a memory card.

Restoring from a local file

If you didn't connect a Google Drive account to Whatsapp, there is another way: to restore messages from a local file.

Chat backup files are stored at /sdcard/whatsapp/. If you fail to find them, check the phone internal memory. If they aren't there, perhaps you've deleted them. If this is the case, see the following recovery method which uses Undeleter or DiskDigger programs.

Note. Google Drive saves only the last chat version, while the phone stores WhatsApp data from the last 7 days.

How to retrieve deleted WhatsApp chat history from a local file:

  1. Install a file manager, for example, ES Explorer or TotalCMD.
  2. Open the sdcard/whatsapp/databases folder. All chat backups are stored there. If there are no files, check main storage also.
  3. Select the file you want to restore from the list. (Its format should be msgstore-YYYY-MM-DD.1.db.crypt12.) Rename it to msgstore.db.crypt12.
  4. Uninstall WhatsApp from your phone (if it is still on the phone) and reinstall it again by downloading the latest version from Google Play.
  5. Specify the phone number you've used before during installing,
  6. In the "Restore chat history" window click "Restore" in order to import old chats and get back deleted WhatsApp messages.

Using EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard to restore messages

If backups were stored on a computer, you can use any software to retrieve deleted WhatsApp chat. This example uses EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. In theory, it's possible to restore backups via the "deep scan" option. However, the chances of recovery are high only if backups did exist and not a lot of time has passed since their deletion.

Download EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard

To restore old WhatsApp messages:

  1. Select the disk where you stored backups.
  2. Click "Scan" and wait till the end of scanning.
  3. Sort files by their type.
  4. Restore them on a drive  via the "Recover" command.

There is a free alternative version of EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard called Recuva and its functionality is pretty much the same.

Using Undeleter to restore messages from phone memory

If chat backups were stored in device internal memory, try searching for them via the Undeleter app. The program scans phone memory and retrieves all the files it can get access to. Root access (superuser rights) is required for it to work.

Undeleter app for Android

Note. Some manuals state that Undeleter helps to detect WhatsApp call history. In fact, it doesn't. The only thing this app is able to do is to recover lost backup files that were deleted by a user.

An alternative utility that might be able to restore WhatsApp conversations is DiskDigger for Android. It scans SD cards and internal memory. It's best suited for recovering photos and videos, but it might also find WhatsApp user files. (We haven’t tried this ability, so we only offer it as a suggestion. If you try it, we’d love if you would share your experience.)

Diskdigger for Android
Diskdigger for Android


According to you, every chat will be recovered from the cloud, if you recover the account on your new phone, right?

If you've created backups to the cloud on your old phone, then on the new phone with the same old account and the same number, WhatsApp will recover the chats from the cloud.

I've accidentally formatted the whole internal storage of my phone and decided to install WhatsApp with further data recovery from Google Drive. The problem is that WhatsApp offers to recover only the data of the last backup (14 MB) instead of the full backup copy (about 1.5 GB). How can I recover the full backup copy from Google Drive? WhatsApp version is 2.18.13 Beta.

If you are looking at local backups for the full backup copy (the 1.5 GB), their content is the same. Local backups create a copy every day and store them all in one folder which can weigh in at 1.5 GB. The most recent copy is only 14 MB, and that is all that is needed.

How can I save the entire chat history and all the files so that after resetting I will be able to recover them? Are there any options on Android apart from Google Drive?

Copy the WhatsApp folder onto an external memory card or a computer via a USB cable. Then copy the folder back to your smartphone to the same memory area as where the folder was stored before. Only after that should you install WhatsApp.

Before doing anything create a local copy of your chats. (settings = chats = chats backup = click “Copy”.)

I accidentally deleted my WhatsApp chat backup copies. A chat with important data was among those copies. The story is empty, there is no chat. Is it possible to restore it somehow?

Check the Google Drive Recycle Bin. It is possible WhatsApp backup copies could still be there. If there are no messages in Google Drive cloud, search in phone memory for a local file.

As a last resort, you can ask the recipient of the messages to share their chat history with you.

How can I retrieve deleted WhatsApp chat history on my phone that did not have any backup using Recuva.

Backups could have been stored on a SD card or device internal memory. In the later case, Undeleter can help but not Recuva.

Messages can be restored only if you haven't disabled backing up while setting up the messenger for the first time.

Questions and answers

I tried to fix an old mobile as the latest one has an issue. When I try to retrieve WhatsApp backups I have for that phone, I find 4 chats dated Sep 2017 Dec2016 and another 2 for 2012/2011. I retrieved 2017 and it should retrieve 4300 msg, but after several hours I find only 2000, though I have more than 8Gb free and it refuses to get any more. I need to keep all messages with a school group. Unfortunately I tried to retrieve and uninstall again and it got worse I lost the 2000 and got only 600. I installed a 3rd time, and made it worse: no messages before 2 June 2018. Now I cannot find these on a backup drive, nor  email. I have only one option on drive: delete :( Can I recover or have I lost it all?

The answer. Check whether there are any other backup copies: local files or on Google Drive.

Unfortunately, with each new attempt of recovery, the chances of success decrease. It is possible you've written new files over the original backup files in your repeated attempts, and the files are no longer available.

[I can't retrieve WhatsApp messages backup copy from my Google Drive]

A few days ago I deleted WhatsApp from my old phone after creating a backup copy on Google Drive.

Today I decided to download WhatsApp on that phone. I downloaded and started the recovery, but after some time an error saying that it was impossible to recover the latest copy occurred and offered to recover an older version. I immediately uninstalled WhatsApp, as it's crucial for me to recover WhatsApp chat.**

I tried both rebooting the phone and reinstalling WhatsApp, but everything was of no use. I asked several of my friends and all of them were facing the same problem.

Please tell me how to restore WhatsApp chat history not from the Google Drive (cloud), but locally, i.e. from the phone? Before resetting the phone I made a local copy of the chat and saved it on a computer via a cable. After resetting, I created the WhatsApp folder, put Databases with msgstore.db.crypt12 file there and downloaded WhatsApp from the store. But no matter what I try, Google Drive is still offered during the recovery (I've already pressed “skip”) and nothing happens. And I even tried storing it on an SD card as well as on internal memory.

P.S. I need to recover the local copy  specifically, as the one stored in the cloud is an extremely outdated one.

The answer. To restore deleted WhatsApp messages:

  1. Install WhatsApp.
  2. Sign out of your Google account (unlink the account on your smartphone).
  3. WhatsApp folder must be stored on the same memory as before you reset it. (It's better to keep the whole WhatsApp folder instead of 1 file..
  4. Launch WhatsApp and enter your previous number. If you've done everything right, you'll find a local copy of chats  with a suggestion to “Recover”.

P.S. The most important point is to get rid of Google account on your device.

I need a small piece of advice regarding WhatsApp.

I had to perform a reset to factory settings and saved only msgstore.db.crypt12. There are no copies on Google Drive.

Is it possible to recover the WhatsApp chat history  in this case or should I give up?

The answer. Chats should be recovered without any problems, but only text with no media! Install WhatsApp, transfer your msgstore.db.crypt12 into the Databases folder, activate WhatsApp, and your chat history should be picked up.

If this method doesn't work, log out of your Google account and, most importantly, transfer your database file into the correct folder!

Hello everyone! Maybe somebody knows how to help me. Today I received a message in Whatsapp that I needed to delete, but I accidentally deleted all the photos from that chat too. Program backing up wasn't enabled. Is there a chance I can recover the attached photos?

The answer. No, you should ask the sender to send you the photos again.

A girl I know has been a member of a group for a long time, and she has an important conversion there with photos. It's a very long chat. She bought a new phone and a new SIM card (with a new number which was also added to that group), She wants to somehow save the entire conversation from her old phone and leave this group. How can she restore WhatsApp messages? You can't select the whole conversation and forward it, you can only select each message individually, but the conversation is so long that it will take you more than 5 years. Please tell her what to do!

The answer. If you've downloaded WhatsApp from Google Play:

  1. You can change the WhatsApp phone number to the one of your new SIM Card.
  2. Create a server backup.
  3. Insert the SIM card into a new device.
  4. Log in to the same Google account as the one on your old phone.
  5. Install WhatsApp. It should find the backup copy and see the deleted messages.

This morning while attempting to block a contact, I accidentally clicked “mark as spam” and as a result the whole chat has been deleted (around 60 000 messages).

This conversation is extremely important to me.Please tell me how I can recover it? I tried different programs which search for deleted data, but they require root rights and I'm not sure whether they are enabled. The last local backup copy was created yesterday at 2:00. I've been using WhatsApp for more than 3 years and I'd prefer not to lose all the chats. If I delete the app and then recover it, will I lose the chats I've deleted in the morning and all the other with media?

Note. When data deletion started, I managed to copy onto the memory card a part of the media from this conversation (I turned off WhatsApp and saved the entire folder on the memory card).

What should I do in order to recover that chat? Android 7.0 Galaxy S7 edge

Thank you in advance.

The answer. Today's conversation will be gone, if you recover yesterday's copy.

First of all, create a copy of WhatsApp folder on a memory card or a computer.

Disable Google Drive. After that recover everything in the standard way.

Though it's not easy to recover media, if your WhatsApp folder has been created on a SD Card, it's very possible. You can recover it via Recuva, DiskDigger, etc.

If your WhatsApp folder has been stored on the internal memory, it's way more difficult.

  1. Recover from Google disk dated 1 April. A part of media will be recovered. (You can also see what other files you've managed to save and add to the media folder.)
  2. Uninstall WhatsApp. Replace the base file msgstore.db.crypt12 with yesterday's file.
  3. Install WhatsApp. (All yesterday's chats will be recovered with the text of conversations.)