Whenever you reinstall WhatsApp after a hard reset, device switch, or for any other reason, you lose all of your chat history, unless you have a previous backup. This is because WhatsApp does not keep your chat history on their servers. And when it comes to backup options available for WhatsApp on iPhone, iCloud is the only officially supported method.
Now, some people are just fine with an iCloud backup. It’s simple and convenient enough, unless you have data constraints. Depending on your usage history, size of a WhatsApp backup on iCloud may span several hundred megabytes. And you may prefer to keep a local backup of your chats, and restore them later to your iPhone when it’s required to do so.
On earlier versions of iOS, certain third party tools (such as iFunBox) could be used to access and backup (as well as restore) the in-app storage of iOS apps (App Sandbox). But ever since iOS 8.3, the App Sandbox access has been restricted to the ones with “iTunes File Sharing” enabled, thereby rendering such tools useless.
But there are still a few third party toolkits that offer to backup and restore WhatsApp data using an intuitive workaround. In this article, we’ll explore one of these alternatives:
iSkysoft Toolbox for iOS offers a set of powerful data and system recovery solutions for iOS devices. The app is available for both Mac and Windows, and works by connecting to your iOS device via USB.
Among its various recovery modules, “WhatsApp Transfer, Backup & Restore” module is an intuitive tool for backup, restore and transfer of WhatsApp chats. Using the tool, you can backup your chats from your iPhone to your computer, and later restore them to an iPhone or Android device. As the name suggests, you may also transfer your WhatsApp chat history from an iPhone to another iPhone or Android device on the fly.
Note: iSkysoft Toolbox requires iTunes to be installed on your computer, but in order to ensure that it doesn’t cause a conflict, you need to disable automatic sync in iTunes. Launch iTunes on your Mac or Windows PC, open Preferences and go to the Devices tab. There, you need to check on the “Prevent iPods, iPhones, and iPads from syncing automatically” option. This will ensure that whenever you connect your iPhone to the computer, iSkysoft Toolbox is able to detect it instead of iTunes.
Backup WhatsApp (for iPhone) to Computer
The following steps will guide you to backup WhatsApp chats from iPhone to computer (PC or Mac):
- Download and install iSkysoft Toolbox for Mac for Mac or Windows.
- Connect your iPhone to the computer via USB and tap on “Trust this Computer”, if such a prompt appears on the iPhone.
- Launch iSkysoft Toolbox for iOS and click on the “WhatsApp Transfer, Backup & Restore” module. If you use encrypted backups in iTunes, you may be required to enter your backup password.
- Click on “Backup WhatsApp Messages” option and wait for your iPhone to be detected.
- Once the iPhone is detected, click on the Backup button. iSkysoft will start creating a backup.
- When the backup is completed, click on View It, and then View to explore the backup contents.
- Select “WhatsApp” and “WhatsApp Attachments” and choose the specific items that you want to keep.
- Click on “Export to Mac / PC” or “Restore to Device” as desired.
Restore WhatsApp chats to an iPhone or Android device
Once you have backed up your WhatsApp chats, you can now restore them to an iOS or Android device. The following steps will guide you to restore a previous WhatsApp backup to an iPhone or Android:
- Connect the iPhone or Android device to your computer via USB.
- If it’s an Android device, ensure USB Debugging is enabled. For iPhone, tap on “Trust this Computer” if not already done. Additionally, you also need to turn off “Find My iPhone” from iOS Settings >> iCloud.
- Launch iSkysoft Toolbox for iOS on your computer and click on the “WhatsApp Transfer, Backup & Restore” module. If you use encrypted backups in iTunes, you may be required to enter your backup password.
- Choose “Restore WhatsApp messages to iOS device” or “Restore WhatsApp messages to Android device” as required.
- Click on the Restore button to restore WhatsApp chats from the latest backup available on your computer. If you want to choose a previous backup or selectively restore your WhatsApp chats, click on “To view the previous backup file” link at the bottom.
- Click OK on the confirmation prompt and wait for the restore operation to complete.
- Once the restore operation is completed, uninstall and reinstall WhatsApp on your iPhone or Android device, and restore from the backup when prompted.
Instead of backing up and restoring WhatsApp messages separately, you can even transfer your WhatsApp chats from an iPhone to another iPhone or Android device using the “Transfer WhatsApp Messages” option.
How does iSkysoft Toolbox for iOS backup WhatsApp chats?
Now, you might be wondering how iSkysoft Toolbox (and some other similar program) can backup and restore WhatsApp chats, where most other tools have ceased supporting the feature since iOS 8.3.
Well, there’s no magic happening here. iSkysoft Toolbox temporarily creates a full backup of your iPhone in the background, and then extracts your WhatsApp history (or the specific selected chats) from that backup. For the same reason, you may find the backup process taking more time, even though you have only selected a small amount of data to be backed up. After the selected contents have been extracted, the temporary backup is automatically deleted to release the occupied space.
The WhatsApp Transfer, Backup and Restore module for iOS is available for $39.95 for the Mac version and $29.95 for the Windows version. If you want to try out the features before making a purchase, a free trial is available as well.
Backup and Restore WhatsApp chats on earlier iOS versions
If you’re still using an iOS version older than 8.3, you may still use tools like iFunBox to backup and restore your WhatsApp data.
Backup WhatsApp chats from iPhone
The steps given below will guide you to backup WhatsApp chat history from your iPhone:
- Download and install iFunBox on your computer.
- Connect the iPhone to your computer and launch iFunBox. iFunBox should detect the connected device.
- Click on User Applications under the device tree on the left pane. This will open a list of all installed apps on your iPhone.
- Double click on the WhatsApp icon to access its local storage. iFunBox will display WhatsApp’s app data on the right pane.
- Now, create a new folder to store the WhatsApp backup, in a preferred location on your computer.
- Select the “documents” and “library” folders from the iFunBox window and drag them to the newly created folder. They will be copied from WhatsApp’s local storage to your computer.
These folders contain your chat and account information. Once you have saved them locally on your computer, you can restore your WhatsApp chats from this backup anytime.
Restore WhatsApp chats from backup
The following steps will guide you to restore your WhatsApp chat history:
- Ensure that WhatsApp application is installed but not running on your iPhone.
- Open the folder where you have saved WhatsApp data on your computer.
- Connect the iPhone to your computer and launch iFunBox. Go to User Applications >> WhatsApp to access WhatsApp’s app storage area.
- Select the “documents” and “library” folders from your backup and drag them into WhatsApp’s app storage area.
The data from the backup will now replace the contents of WhatsApp’s app data location. Once this is done, you will be able to open up WhatsApp and continue your conversations from right where you left off before taking the backup. As mentioned before, your account in this case will already be in active state and you’d not be required to re-verify your phone number every time WhatsApp is freshly installed.
- Before backing up chat history, ensure that your installed version of WhatsApp is in working condition.
- Also, if WhatsApp alters the file structure of app data in future, a backup created from an older version might not be compatible with it.
So now you know how to take a full backup of your WhatsApp chats on iPhone. If you know of any other ways to backup WhatsApp messages, do let us know in the comments below.