The WhatsApp and backups is quite a drama. The messaging app is very restrictive on this subject, as Android users are only allowed to save a backup of their chats on Google Drive . And until recently WhatsApp backups on Android were only compatible with other Android devices. Luckily, there is now an official method to transfer your WhatsApp from Android to iPhone .
However, if you have come this far, it is because you have found the msgstore file that contains all your WhatsApp chats and that, in theory, allows you to move them from one mobile to another without having to use any cloud storage service. Well, this time we will tell you everything you need to know about “msgstore”: from what it is to how to restore the backup stored in this file. Let’s go there…
What is WhatsApp msgstore and what is it for?
The WhatsApp msgstore file, which you will surely find in the folders of your mobile with the name “msgstore.db.crypt”, is the file where all your WhatsApp chats are stored in an encrypted way . That means you won’t be able to open it easily with a text editor or WhatsApp itself, since the messages are encrypted and can’t be read as plain text.
Remember that WhatsApp by default and in a mandatory way encrypts all conversations from end to end to prevent hackers from accessing your WhatsApp messages easily.
Normally, the app will not save a single msgstore file on your device, but several, since one is created for each date and encryption version used by WhatsApp when making the backup. The standard file name structure is as follows: msgstore.db.yyyy-mm-dd.db.cryptXX . And the meaning of each of its parts is as follows:
- msgstore : the type of file that saves your WhatsApp conversations.
- db : acronym for data base.
- yyyy – The year the file was created, for example, 2022.
- mm – The month the file was created, for example, 07.
- dd : The day the file was created, for example 16.
- cryptXX : the encryption method used by WhatsApp, it can be:
How to open a msgstore file and restore this WhatsApp backup?
Opening a WhatsApp msgstore file and accessing all the chats it contains is not as easy as searching for it and double-clicking on it, as it contains encrypted information. To start with, you will need to root your Android in order to decrypt msgstore files. If your mobile is not rooted and you refuse to root it, we are sorry to tell you that you will not be able to open the msgstore file. At the end of the article we leave an alternative for you.
This is so complicated for your security, because if WhatsApp allowed msgstore files to be opened easily, WhatsApp messages from all over the world would be leaked on the Internet because it would be very easy for hackers to access them. Clarified that point, if you have root on your Android, follow these steps to open WhatsApp msgstore files:
- Firstly, locate the msgstore files in the following address: internal storage > WhatsApp > Databases .
- Now, you must find the encryption key that WhatsApp uses, which can only be obtained with root from this address: data > data > com.whatsapp > files > key .
- Next, connect your mobile to the PC via USB cable and pass the required files, mentioned above.
- Then, install the WhatsApp Viewer application available on GitHub on the PC, which is open source, so it is quite reliable.
- Open WhatsApp Viewer on your PC and select File > Decrypt.cryptXX (replacing “XX” with the encryption version displayed by your msgstore files).
- Next, choose the msgstore files you want to open and the corresponding encryption key.
- On the left side of the program, your WhatsApp chats will be displayed and you will be able to read the conversations correctly identified with the phone numbers of the contacts.
- WhatsApp Viewer is not only a WhatsApp chat viewer, but it also allows you to export your conversations to txt, html and json formats in case you need them that way.
Now, if what you want is to restore the WhatsApp msgstore file backup on your mobile, then follow this tutorial on how to restore a local WhatsApp backup. It is very simple!
What do I do if my Android mobile is not rooted and I do not intend to root it?
Your only option in that case is to export WhatsApp chats from the WhatsApp mobile app itself. That way, you can share them with other apps or even email them to yourself. How? Check out this tutorial on how to export a WhatsApp conversation. So you can see them in Word or Gmail.
Rachel Maga is a technology journalist currently working at Globe Live Media agency. She has been in the Technology Journalism field for over 5 years now. Her life’s biggest milestone is the inside tour of Tesla Industries, which was gifted to her by the legend Elon Musk himself.