Wanna hold on to all of your WhatsApp messages? Save 'em! Switching phones? Take 'em with you!

Maybe you like to use WhatsApp for work because it's free and easy to use. Maybe it's just a convenient way to keep in touch with friends. Either way, you probably have some pretty important messages and media in there, and it'd be a shame if it all suddenly disappeared. That's why it's a great idea to backup your messages, photos, and videos.

How to backup your WhatsApp chats to Google Drive

Luckily, WhatsApp automatically backs up and saves your messages to your phone's memory on a daily basis. However, depending on your settings, you can also backup your chats to Google Drive. This way, just in case you have to delete WhatsApp from your phone, your messages will be safe. Just be sure to back things up before you uninstall the app.

Google Drive is a great way to backup all your WhatsApp messages. You can switch from Android phone to Android phone and you'll be able to have your messages and media follow you wherever you go. It's also a bit of extra insurance in case WhatsApp decides to one day crash beyond repair and you end up having to uninstall and reinstall it. Here's how to backup with Google Drive:

  1. Launch WhatsApp from your Home screen or from the app drawer.
  2. Tap the menu icon on the top right of the screen. It's the three vertical dots.
  3. Tap Settings.

    Launch whatsapp, tap menu, settings

  4. Tap Chats and calls.
  5. Tap Chat backup.
  6. Tap Google Drive settings to choose the frequency with which you'd like to backup your chats.

    Tap chats and calls, chat backup, choose frequency

  7. Tap Account.
  8. Tap the account you would like associated with the backup.
    • Tap an account in the list
    • Tap Add account to add an account not found on the list or to create a new one.
  9. Tap Allow.

    Tap account, choose an account, tap allow

  10. Tap Back up over.

    • Tap the circle next to "Wi-Fi" to backup over Wi-Fi only.
    • Tap the circle next to Wi-Fi or cellular to backup via Wi-Fi or wireless data, keeping in mind that you could accrue data charges.

      Tap backup over, choose connection

  11. Tap the box next to "Include videos" to backup video messages.
  12. Tap Back Up to manually back your phone up now.

    Tap box to include video, Tap Back up to manually backup

Now that everything's backed up, you'll be able to restore your chats every time you reinstall WhatsApp, no matter the device. Note that whenever you backup to Google Drive, WhatsApp also backs up to your phone's internal memory as well, which means it'll take up some space. If you have a preinstalled file managing app, or one like ES File Explorer, you'll be able to go in and make room if you need to.

It may be prudent to plug your phone in when backing up, as the first backup could take a while, depending on the sizes of your chats. The nice thing is that every backup you perform after the first one will be incremental, which means it will add to the current backup, instead of erasing everything and starting again or adding an entire backup over the old one, taking

How to restore WhatsApp chats from a Google Drive backup

Everything's backed up. Great! You've changed phones or have had to reinstall WhatsApp. Not so great. Now how do you get all your chats back? Here's how!

  1. Launch WhatsApp from your Home screen or from the app drawer.
  2. Verify your phone number when prompted.
  3. Tap Restore.
  4. Tap Next when the restoration is complete.

    Verify your phone number, tap restore, next

  5. Set up your profile just like you did the first time.
  6. Tap Next at the top right of the screen.
  7. Tap Continue.

    Set up profile, tap next, continue

Now you can access your WhatsApp chats on any Android phone that has WhatsApp installed. All you have to do is sign in.

How to move your WhatsApp messages to a new phone using Google Drive

You're wading through the jungle in Borneo. Of course, you're using WhatsApp to keep in touch with family and friends back home because hey, it's free. Suddenly, an orangutan swoops in, grabs your phone, and crushes it into dust between its able hands.

No worries! You've already followed the steps above and are properly backing up your WhatsApp chats to Google Drive, so all you have to do is grab a new phone and move all your chats over. Confused? Don't be! Here's how:

  1. Add the same Google account to your new phone that you used to perform the backup on your old phone.
  2. Install WhatsApp on your new device as you did on the previous one.
  3. Launch WhatsApp from your Home screen or from the app drawer.
  4. Tap Agree and continue.
  5. Verify your phone number, just like you did the first time you set up WhatsApp.

    Launch whatsapp, tap agree and continue, verify phone number

  6. Tap Restore to restore your WhatsApp chats from your Google Drive backup.
  7. Tap Next.

    Tap restore, next

And away you go! Your WhatsApp on your new phone is just like it was on your old phone. Thanks, Google Drive!

Note: This process isn't entirely foolproof and may not work every time. You may have to uninstall WhatsApp and reinstall it a couple times for the restore to take effect. If there are messages you really want to save, you may want to copy them to a computer or some other device to make sure you have them forever. Also beware that continually reinstalling WhatsApp may result in a temporary ban, since you phone number has been recognized. In short, WhatsApp can be just a little fickle.

If you'd rather not bother with Google Drive, you can always save your chats to an SD card and transfer them that way. This is a rather complicated process, since you can't just simply move WhatsApp from your phone's internal memory to an external SD card; you can only move its data. So, when we say it's a complicated process, we mean it's more like a migraine, and we don't recommend it if you can avoid it. However, if you must, check out WhatsApp's "Restoring or transferring a backup" instructions.