Where Are WhatsApp Messages Stored On Android, iPhone, and PC

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If you’ve ever wondered about your WhatsApp message storage, you’ll be happy to know that WhatsApp automatically backs up and saves your chats to your phone’s internal memory. You can schedule periodic backups to Google Drive as well, with varying frequency from daily to monthly.

Have you ever wondered where are WhatsApp messages stored? When you’re using a messaging app like WhatsApp, it’s hard not to think about the storage and security of your messages, especially because many messages contain personal information that you wouldn’t want to be shared with the world. 

The good news is that WhatsApp uses end-to-end encryption to protect your messages. It also backs them up, so you can easily restore them when you need to without security risk. Read on to learn about where WhatsApp messages are stored and how to back them up.

Where Are WhatsApp Messages Stored On Android, iPhone, and PC?

WhatsApp is currently one of the most popular messaging services that’s available on all platforms. It allows you to send messages, make audio and video calls as well as share media files with your contacts. 

One of WhatsApp’s main selling points is that it offers End-to-End encryption which means that no one, other than you and who you’re talking to, can read your messages, not even WhatsApp. 

Another key point of WhatsApp’s service is that it does not store your chat history on its servers. When you send a message, WhatsApp only keeps that message on its servers until the recipient receives the message or for a max of 30 days. Even then, the end-to-end encryption prevents WhatsApp from reading your message. 

The only time a message is stored on WhatsApp’s servers is if the recipient cannot receive it (maybe they’re offline or don’t have a WhatsApp account). In cases like those, the message(s) you sent are automatically deleted off of WhatsApp’s server in 30 days’ time

So this probably has you wondering if WhatsApp doesn’t store your messages on its servers, then where are they stored? The answer is, your WhatsApp messages are stored locally on your phone in the form of encrypted backups. 

Read on to learn more about where you can find these backups on iPhone and Android, as well as how to back up your WhatsApp messages. You’ll also learn about where WhatsApp messages are stored on your PC when you use WhatsApp Web or WhatsApp’s PC app. 

Where Are WhatsApp Messages Stored On iPhone? – Using iCloud

When using WhatsApp on iPhone, you can back up your messages to iCloud. If you wipe your iPhone or plan to switch over to a new one, you can use these backups to restore WhatsApp messages.

Here’s how to back up your WhatsApp to iCloud:

  1. First, you need to check that iCloud is turned on for your WhatsApp, so enter your iPhone’s settings and tap your Apple ID.

    Iphone settings with the Apple ID tab highlighted
  2. Next, tap iCloud to see which apps are available for iCloud backup.

    Apple ID settings with the icloud option highlighted
  3. On the iCloud page, scroll down until you see WhatsApp and ensure that it is toggled on so that it backs up to iCloud.

    Icloud settings with the WhatsApp toggle button highlighted
  4. Next, open up WhatsApp and tap the gear icon in the lower left-hand corner to enter WhatsApp’s settings.

    WhatsApp in iphone with the setting button highlighted
  5. In your WhatsApp settings, select the Chats option to view your Chats’ settings.

    Whatsapp settings with the chats option highlighted
  6. Next, tap the Chat Backup option to see your WhatsApp backups details.

    Whatsapp chats settings with the chat backup option highlighted
  7. In the Chat Backup settings, you can back up your WhatsApp now, as well as set the frequency of WhatsApp automatic backups. To do this, tap the Auto Backup option.

    Whatsapp chats backup settings with the auto backup option highlighted
  8. Now, select the frequency of your WhatsApp’s automatic backups. I personally use WhatsApp often, so I opt for a daily backup so that I don’t lose anything.

    Whatsapp chats auto backup option set to daily

That’s how you back up WhatsApp on iCloud. Here’s a video tutorial showing you how to back up WhatsApp on iPhone:

Where Are WhatsApp Messages Stored On iPhone? – Using iTunes

Besides iCloud, another great way to back up and restore WhatsApp messages on your iPhone is by using iTunes. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open up iTunes on your computer and connect your iPhone to your computer using your USB cable. 
  2. On the iTunes home screen, you’ll see a phone icon beneath the menu bar, click it to access your iPhone.

    Itunes home screen with the phone icon highlighted
  3. Once you’ve clicked the icon, you’ll see a summary of your iPhone with its current software, storage capacity, and backup options. Click the Back Up Now button to back up your iPhone and the WhatsApp messages on it. The time it takes to back up your iPhone will depend on how much content is on it.

    Itunes backups page with the back up now button highlighted

Here’s a video tutorial showing you how to back up the WhatsApp messages on your iPhone using iTunes:

Where Are WhatsApp Messages Stored On Android?

WhatsApp on Android allows both cloud and local storage of backups. You can back up your WhatsApp to Google Drive, and WhatsApp can also automatically create a local backup in your phone’s internal memory every day at 2 am. 

The cloud backup allows for easy transfer of WhatsApp data between phones, and the local backup allows you to easily restore your WhatsApp without the cloud backup. 

Here’s how to back up WhatsApp on Android:

  1. Open WhatsApp on your Android device and tap the three vertical dots in the top left-hand corner of your screen.

    Whatsapp for android with the kebab menu highlighted
  2. After you’ve tapped the three vertical dots, you’ll see a popup menu appear, tap Settings to access WhatsApp’s settings.

    Whatsapp popup menu with the settings option highlighted
  3. In WhatsApp’s settings, tap Chats to access the Chat settings for WhatsApp.

    Whatsapp for android settings page with the chats option highlighted
  4. When you access the Chat settings, you’ll see a list of options, select Chat Backup from that list.

    Whatsapp chats settings with chat backup option highlighted
  5. In the Chat Backup settings, you’ll see the option to back up your chats now, as well as set the frequency of the auto backup. However, before you can decide on the frequency of backups, you need to choose a Google account to back up your chats. Tap the Google Account option to pick an account.

    Whatsapp chat back up settings with the option to choose google account for back up highlighted
  6. After you’ve tapped Google Account, you’ll see a list of the Google accounts on your device. Select the one you want, but if you want to back up your WhatsApp to a different account than those already on your device, you can choose to add a new account.

    Registered google accounts pop up with the option to add account highlighted
  7. After you’ve chosen the account to back up your WhatsApp, tap the Back up to Google Drive option to choose the frequency of your backups.

    Whatsapp Chat backup settings with the back up to google drive option highlighted
  8. A popup menu will appear showing you the available options, as you can see, I chose Daily, so there isn’t an extended time between backups.

    Back up to google drive pop up menu with the daily option highlighted
  9. Now your WhatsApp will back up to Google Drive. However, as I mentioned before, you can also access your WhatsApp backups on your phone’s local storage. To do this, first, open your File Manager app and open the WhatsApp folder.

    Android file manager with the whatsapp folder highlighted
  10. Next, you’re going to see several folders, tap the one named Backups.

    Whatsapp folder in android with the backups folder highlighted
  11. In the Backups folder, you’ll see your WhatsApp backup(s). It is an encrypted file, so while you can view it, you cannot open it. It has all of your messages and other relevant WhatsApp information. The size of your backup will depend on the size of your WhatsApp data, which includes your chats and the media shared between you and your contacts.

    Whatsapp backup folder in android

Here’s a video tutorial that shows you how to back up WhatsApp on Android:

If you’re interested in how to transfer your WhatsApp backup from your phone’s internal memory to your SD card, here’s a detailed guide on how to do it. 

This can be a great way to clear some space on your phone’s internal memory, as well as transfer your WhatsApp’s local backup to a new Android phone, so you can restore your WhatsApp messages on your new Android phone without using Google Drive. 

However, if you’re switching from Android to iPhone and want to know how to access your WhatsApp backup on Google Drive on your new iPhone, then take a look at this detailed guide on how to make the switch

Many people think it’s impossible or costly to move your WhatsApp chats from Android to iPhone, however, this guide is a great way to help you do it. 

Where Are WhatsApp Messages Stored On PC?

WhatsApp has come a long way and now not only offers WhatsApp Web, but also a dedicated PC app, as well. You can link the PC app with WhatsApp on your phone and use it to text, record, and share voice notes, send pictures and videos as well as make voice and video calls, all from your computer. 

When it came to finding where WhatsApp messages are stored on PC, I couldn’t do it myself. The thing is, WhatsApp on PC is not like WhatsApp on your mobile phone, and it doesn’t store backups directly on your PC. 

What you can find on your PC are WhatsApp’s cache files and logs, which hold the temporary data that WhatsApp uses when you use it on your PC. However, similar to the encrypted backups on your phone, you cannot read the cache data like a regular file. 

During my test, I couldn’t find the cache and log data for WhatsApp on my PC, however, from my research I found out that you can search your computer for them. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open the File Explorer app on your PC.
  2. Select the “This PC” section on the left of the File Explorer window. This will allow you to search your entire PC using the search bar.
  3. Next, type “WhatsApp” in the search bar, then press Enter on your keyboard to begin the search.
  4. The search will take a while since you’ll be searching your whole computer, but at the end of it, you’ll see any available cache or log files for WhatsApp.

Many articles online mention that you can find WhatsApp messages in the Downloads folder on your PC. However, I discovered that this is not the case. 

It’s not WhatsApp messages or backup files that can be found in the Downloads folder, but rather media files, such as pictures, videos, audio files, and documents, that you download from WhatsApp Web or WhatsApp for PC

While the Downloads folder is the default folder for downloads from WhatsApp Web or WhatsApp for PC, you can choose another folder to save your WhatsApp files. Therefore, while you can’t find old messages via this method, it is a good way to find your downloaded pictures and other media files.

Here’s how to find downloaded WhatsApp media files on your PC:

  1. Log onto WhatsApp Web or open the WhatsApp PC app on your computer and select the chat that you want to download a media file from.

    Whatsapp for Web with a selected chat thread
  2. Next, hover your cursor over the media file you want to download. This file can be a video, image, audio file, or document. For this tutorial, I used an image. You’ll see a downward arrow at the top right-hand corner of the file, click it. It will open up a dropdown menu.

    Media file in whatsapp chat thread with the dropdown menu highlighted
  3. On the dropdown menu, you’ll see several options to choose from regarding the image, since you want to download the image, click Download. This will download the image to your PC.

    Dropdown menu for media file with the download option highlighted
  4. Next, open up the File Explorer app on your PC and go to the Downloads folder. There you will see the image you downloaded from WhatsApp.

    Portion of a windows explorer screenshot showing downloaded whatsapp image

If you’re interested, here’s a video showing you how to download existing WhatsApp media files from WhatsApp web onto your PC:

FAQs

Are WhatsApp messages stored anywhere?

WhatsApp messages are only stored on your phone and not on the WhatsApp server. The messages are only stored on the server when you send them and are deleted when the receivers get them. However, if they are not received, they are held and automatically deleted after 30 days. 

How long are messages stored on WhatsApp?

Messages are held on WhatsApp’s servers for 30 days if they are not received after being sent.  This means when you send a message, it is deleted from servers, once received. However, if it is not received, then it is stored for 30 days and automatically deleted after that time.

Are WhatsApp messages stored on iPhone?

WhatsApp messages are not stored on iPhone, but rather on iCloud. iTunes can also be used as a backup method too. Your WhatsApp chats are stored there because WhatsApp does not store your messages on its servers. This also makes it easier for you to restore your WhatsApp after installation. 

Can you retrieve old WhatsApp conversations?

You can retrieve old WhatsApp conversations. The best way to do this is to uninstall and reinstall WhatsApp. When you’ve reinstalled the app, you’ll be prompted to restore your backup, which has your old WhatsApp conversations. If you set your backup frequency to daily, you’re unlikely to lose many chats.

Where Are WhatsApp Messages Stored – Wrapping Up

What’d you think of this tutorial?

Now you have the answer to the question, “Where are WhatsApp messages stored?”

Whether you’re using iPhone or Android, you’ll see that you can easily back up and locate your WhatsApp messages for restoration. 

If you’re interested in learning about how restore backs up between iOS and Android, here’s a guide on how to transfer WhatsApp from Android to iPhone and another on how to transfer WhatsApp from iCloud to Android

Be sure to leave a comment, letting me know how the backup worked for you. Also, don’t forget to share this with your family and friends.

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