ChatStorage.sqlite location and how to restore your WhatsApp messages on your iPhone

Catalin Nichita

by Catalin Nichita

Updated in September 2017. Solution works with the latest iOS 10 & 11.

If you’re a WhatsApp user and an iPhone owner, restoring WhatsApp messages back to your iPhone is easy with the iPhone Backup Extractor. In this article we’ll teach you how to do this in a few steps.

Restore WhatsApp messages

How to extract and restore your WhatsApp messages on your iPhone

In the method described below we used two devices but you can use these instructions in different ways as long as you have a copy of these backups stored in a safe place. For example, you can use them to restore an old WhatsApp messages database on the same iPhone or you can simply transfer your WhatsApp history to another device.

For this tutorial we used 2 devices:

  • an iPhone with the WhatsApp messages and data we want to extract
  • a second iPhone used to transfer the data from the first one

If you’re searching for a way to retrieve your WhatsApp messages, this article is what you need.

If you need to restore your WhatsApp messages on an iPhone, follow the next steps:

  1. Make an iTunes or an iCloud backup for the device from where you want to restore the messages. For iCloud support you’ll need a subscription plan. After login you’ll be able to choose and download any backup file existing on your iCloud account. If you already have an iTunes or an iCloud backup with your WhatsApp chats and messages, you can skip this part.
  2. Download the iPhone Backup Extractor for PC or for Mac, depending on your operating system, then install it.
  3. Start the iPhone Backup Extractor and select the backup containing the WhatsApp messages, from the left window.
  4. ChatStorage.sqlite location

  5. In the middle window choose Expert mode, go to Application Groups > net.whatsapp.WhatsApp.shared then select ChatStorage.sqlite. This file is the database used by WhatsApp to store the exchanged messages. Make sure you extract and download this file in a safe place. You’ll need it later.Select WhatsApp database
  6. Make a backup of the iPhone where you want to import the messages history, the second phone in our example. Go to the same path described at the previous step:
  7. Application Domains >
  8. . Make a copy of the entire backup in a safe place. If you don’t know where the files are stored, use this guide to identify the backups.
  9. After you start the iPhone Backup Extractor use the right-click on the ChatStorage.sqlite file and select "Replace File". Then select the ChatStorage.sqlite file extracted at the third step.
    Important notice: the messages from the database will be replaced with the old messages from the first backup, so make sure you have a copy of it. Now you’ll have a modified iTunes backup containing the WhatsApp messages and chats from another backup file. This is the only solution you have if you need to add the messages back on your iPhone.Replace WhatsApp database
  10. In order to restore the WhatsApp messages on your smartphone you need to get back the modified backup file on your phone. To do this, connect your iPhone to your computer and start the iTunes. Turn off the iPhone location then restore the modified backup on your device.

That’s all! After the iPhone restarts, you’ll see the WhatsApp conversations imported on your device. You can browse through the conversations as if they were made using your iPhone. Notice that the media attachments are not visible in the messages.

This method works with both iOS 8 , iOS 9, iOS 10 and iOS 11. That means you can restore the WhatsApp messages from an iPhone with iOS 8 on your iOS 9, 10, 11 device and vice-versa. You can also retrieve and transfer the messages history and the chats from an iCloud or an iTunes backup. This method works also for the iTunes encrypted backups.

How to extract the attachments from WhatsApp to your computer

If you need to extract the images from WhatsApp to your computer, you should follow the next steps:

  1. Start the iPhone Backup Extractor.
  2. Select the backup file where the old messages and the pictures are stored. Now you have multiple options to extract the WhatsApp attachments from the backup file. Depending on your technical skills, you can choose any method you like. We’ve ordered them from the simplest to most complex:
    • In "Overview" click on the blue letters near WhatsApp and choose a location for the files. The images and the HTML files will be saved in the same location but the media attachments can be found in the "data" folder.Extract WhatsApp attachments overview
    • Use "Preview" mode then select all the messages. Click on "Extract" and chose the HTML format and select a location for the files. The images and the conversations will be saved on your computer. You’ll find the images separated by the HTML files, in a folder labelled "data".Extract WhatsApp data preview
    • Use "App View" then go to "WhatsApp Messenger" and click on "All Photos". The media attachments will be extracted in the chosen location. Extract WhatsApp app view
    • Use "Expert Mode" then go to Application Domain > net.whatsapp.WhatsApp > Library > Media. Select the Media folder and extract the data in a location from your computer. This solution will extract the pics and videos from your WhatsApp message history.Extract WhatsApp Expert mode

Now you have all the WhatsApp attachments extracted from your device. As you can see, restoring WhatsApp messages on your iPhone is simple, as long as you use the iPhone Backup Extractor and have a backup file containing the messages and their attachments.

Have you experienced issues trying to restore your WhatsApp data back on your iPhone? Simply send us an email here

Catalin Nichita

by Catalin Nichita on

We've helped over 3,000,000 people recover their lost iPhone data. Let us help you too.

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