This post was last updated in September 2016
As of February 2016, WhatsApp reached up to one billion users, making it the most globally popular messaging application. Just as with any other data on your iPhone, WhatsApp chats are important, and you’ll want to make sure you will never lose them. These messages might contain precious texts and photos from your loved ones or maybe a list of useful links you’d like to recover.
Here's how to retrieve your lost data in few simple steps, if you’ve lost your iPhone or accidentally deleted WhatsApp messages.
Get your WhatsApp messages back
WhatsApp conversations are not stored on WhatsApp servers, so it's not possible to restore them directly from the application itself. The good news is that if you have an iTunes or iCloud backup created prior to deleting or losing your messages, you can get all your messages back.
Not sure what backups you have? Check here:
- iTunes backups – if you didn’t turn on the iCloud Backup on your device, iTunes backups are automatically created when you sync your iPhone with iTunes, and you should have one in your default backup folder. If you’re not sure whether you have an iTunes backup, check where iPhone backups are stored on your PC or Mac.
- iCloud backup - to check if you have an iCloud backup, open Settings on your iPhone, and in the first menu, tap "iCloud". At the bottom of the iCloud Drive screen you should see "Backup" - click that. If iCloud backup is "on", then you'll see information about the date and time of the last backup. Don't hit "backup now", as you don't want to overwrite your backup!
Note that restoring an iCloud backup to your iPhone could cause other data loss, as it will remove anything which was created subsequent to the backup being taken. We don’t recommend doing this if you're interested only in recovering WhatsApp data, and not in restoring the phone to the state when the backup was taken.
1. Retrieve WhatsApp messages from iCloud
If you have an iCloud backup, you should be able to recover all your WhatsApp messages by using the iPhone Backup Extractor.
Before starting, please make sure your device will not overwrite your last backup. To do this, check that your device is not charging or USB connected (iCloud backups are usually done automatically if the device is connected over Wi-Fi to the Internet, plugged into a power source or locked)
Here are the steps you need to take:
You’ll need to buy a licence of the iPhone Backup Extractor for full iCloud access.
Step 2. Click Preferences > iCloud > tap on Access iCloud backups for iOS 9 and above. Access Preferences by clicking the bottom left 'Add backups' button on Windows or the '+' on Mac OS X. Alternatively, you’ll find Preferences through the top navigation menu, under the 'File' tab.
Step 3. Sign in to iCloud by using the top bar 'Sign in' or click on the bottom left 'Add backups' button > Add.
You will need your iCloud username and password.
Step 4. Select and retrieve WhatsApp files from iCloud backup
On the left pane list, tap on ’Devices’, choose the iCloud backup corresponding to the device you want to recover from. You will see 3 tab options of exploring your iCloud data: Categories, Individual Files and Full Backup. Since you are interested in recovering only WhatsApp data, use 'Categories' > Download.
Step 5. Download is complete > OK > View and Extract your downloaded iCloud WhatsApp data just as you'd view and extract any normal offline iTunes backup.
2. Retrieve WhatsApp messages from iTunes
If you have an iTunes backup, you should be able to recover all your WhatsApp messages by using the iPhone Backup Extractor. Here are the steps you need to take:
Step 2. The iPBE Tool will automatically check for backups located in your default backup folder.
If your backup is located in a different location, select the folder by clicking the button Add backups.
If multiple backups exist in this folder, select the one containing your WhatsApp messages, from the dropdown left side menu.
If you have an encrypted iTunes backup, you will first be required to enter your backup password.
To extract all your WhatsApp messages from your unencrypted iTunes backup or to access an encrypted backup, you’ll need to buy a licence of the iPhone Backup Extractor.
Step 3. With the iTunes backup loaded into the iPhone Backup Extractor, you should be able to see the number of WhatsApp messages found in your backup, in the ”Overview” section, Available data, WhatsApp.
Click on the blue link corresponding to the WhatsApp messages. The iPhone Backup Extractor will ask you which format you’d like to get your data in, CSV or HTML (CSV option will save all your messages as text in a single file without any images, while HTML option will save them in separate files, allowing you to open them in a browser). We'd recommend you extract your data in HMTL format, as it is easiest to read: here is how a HTML file will look when opened in browser:
Then you’ll have to select the location where you want to export the files. Click OK and the folder with your messages will open.
If you need any assistance, don't hesitate to contact our expert support team.
Was this guide useful? Have you managed to recover your WhatsApp chat messages?