Problem with restoring whatsapp chathistory


Last week I received my now FP4! I have installed it completely now, except for Whatsapp. For some reason I am not able to restore my chathistory. I have put the file with messages on the right spot, but Whatsapp doesn’t see it and refers me to Google Drive. There is nothing. However, when I do use a backup in the cloud, I get an error when restoring it. I have seen some similar issues lately in the Play Store with Motorola phones that are updated to Android 11. Does anyone have experiences yet with restoring Whatsapp? I come from an Android 7 bq device, but I am not sure if this is the problem. I have added this question in Google Playstore as well but Whatsapp doesn’t come with an update or an answer. Al hints are welcome here! Thank you!

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WhatsApp has changed the type of database it uses for message storage on a few occasions - were you using an older version of WhatsApp on your previous device?

If you were, consider installing that older version on your FP4 and see if it does see the stored messages. Then you’ll be able to update WhatsApp and it’ll convert the database.


I had this exact same issue, also coming from Android 7 coincidentally. Drove me nuts for a day or two :slight_smile:

Turns out, you no longer should put your existing backup in /storage/emulated/0/WhatsApp, but instead you should now place it in /Android/media/com.whatsapp/WhatsApp.

I placed both my Databases and my Media folders there, and finally everything transferred correctly.

Unfortunately, their own documentation page is out of date. I found this info on WhatsApp doesn't prompt to restore from local storage - Android Enthusiasts Stack Exchange


Hi Robbert, thank you for your reply, In my case both versions were the same.

Hi Willeke,

you might have missed my post, in which I posted what worked for me after I had the same issue as you described in your initial post?

Hope that helps!

Hello Laurenss, yes I did see your post, and thank you very much! It seems to be the solution, however, still something went wrong. At least, whatsapp started to look on my phone for the chathistory, but then it still went to the cloud :unamused:. I guess I have to rename the chatfile (it is called .14, maybe it should be .12), finding that out now. Unfortunately I have to wait a day because Whatsapp only allows a few registrations of a telephonenumber in a timeframe (stupid "safety"rule for an app that offers very lousy safety itself). I will come back to it!

Hi! I told whatsapp not to use google drive, I skipped that step.

What I think I did:

  • installed whatsapp, but didnt open it
  • made the folder /android/media/com.whatsapp/WhatsApp
  • Copied the whole of my old whatsappfolder (so /storage/emulated/0/WhatsApp from my old phone) into it, so I had folders called /android/media/com.whatsapp/WhatsApp/Databases and /android/media/com.whatsapp/WhatsApp/Media etc)
  • I believe I went to the app list and allowed whatsapp access to files and contacts directly (so via Settings → Apps )
  • THEN I started whatsapp and I believe it found it then.

Other people have reported that they did the verification steps, and then ended the app, went into airplane mode, and then started the app again and ignore the google drive option then.

Also, as I too ran out of SMS verifications - I was given the option to be called, and then I had a robot who read me verification numbers I could enter, even though I couldnt get the sms verification messages for a day because of the same reasons you had.

Good luck!


Hi Laurens, thank you for the clarification! I tried to skip the step, but it went back to that step anyway, even after seeing the right folder! So I guess I made a mistake in the name. And I did open Whatsapp in order to make the right map before moving the folders to the right place.

I guess it will help to allow whatsapp to go to that folder outside the app.

And about the verification, I ran out of phonecalls the first day I tried :grimacing: (first, after 10 minutes possible again, then after an hour, then after 3 hours, then after 13 hours). And now, Whatsapp is still a bit supersticious, giving me only the phonecall option after 5 minutes. So I am not going there, because it is annoying to wait a few hours for another go. I I will wait until tomorrow to be sure I have some chances left.

To my understanding its really important to open WA to have the App create their folders, but def the login steps should only be done after the old back-up was moved to new folder. The following @Laurenss list step by step is the best way in my eyes.

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I had to make the folder myself, whatsapp didnt make it for me, even after I opened it. What might be important (dont know for sure) is that there are no capitals in com.whatsapp - but that is a guess on my side. Also, I made extra sure when I created the folders that the keyboard did not add extra spaces after the directory names, which it seemed to want to do.

Also, even though I completed the process, (I believe eventually with the voice option), I still for some weird reason get hourly SMS messages from whatsapp to verify my account, even thought it is. I hope that will stop soon :slight_smile:

If only WhatsApp had updated their own documentation pages, this would have been so much easier…

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I remember it took a bit of time to generate the folders by system, but somehow they were created. Overall the process is not very smooth and needs a bit patience, but it works, I used some you tube tutorial to do it. Overall I think they dont want us to use the local back-up and therefore the Google Drive way is easier :wink:

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Yes, it worked, finally! Thank you so much for your help!


Hurray! Happy to hear! Do you remember what you did differently to make it work? For future non-google-drive users? :slight_smile:

And yeah, it seems as if they strongly encourage you to use google. I can see why they want to store it off-phone, but I’m looking forward to the day I can install lineage on my FP4 and use their built-in open alternative that allows you to use your own server - SeedVault - Calyx Institute ; that is integrated into LineageOS 18.1. Right, I’m derailing this thread :slight_smile:

The only thing that I changed was that I explicitly granted the app access to all files, directories, contacts. etc in the Whatsapp directory (in my phone settings). After that, when I registered my phonenumber in Whatsapp, it immediately found the chat history and I was asked to click RESTORE (the green button) or deny.


But that’s not updating all apps and def. not WA Conversations as far was I remember…

Hello @Willeke and @Laurenss! I spent an entire week struggling with the same problem, and was so relieved to see this post! At some point, I had to wait an entire 48h for a new verification message… My problem was that I was indeed copying the whatsapp folder in the phone directory, and not in Android/media/etc, following the instructions from the whatsapp site.
I followed your instructions Laurenss (although those folders already existed in my Fairphone 4), and also granted access to all files, contacts, etc in the phone setting. I disconnected from my google account before opening the app again, and it finally recognised the local chathistory.
So thanks a lot to all of you!


I got my phone today and had issues with WhatsApp synch as well. I still had Access to my old phone/sim and uninstalling WhatsApp on Fairphone and creating a fresh cloud update on my old phone did the job.

I installed WhatsApp again and started the synch without turning the display off/switching apps and after 15 minutes (for 650ish mb) it was done.

I’ve been in a similar situation and this problem took me way too much time to solve. Finally, I use the RecoveryTool phone transfer program to transfer Whatsapp chat history. Although I look like a fool, I really hate this kind of tossing.

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