WhatsApp is the most widespread mobile messaging app on the planet, even above its sister Facebook Messenger, but it doesn’t work like it. It also doesn’t work like Telegram or Skype. Actually, WhatsApp works like the Signal from which it also takes its encryption algorithm. That means when we change devices, the chats are no longer there because they are not stored on the outside of the phone.
Different is when we make a backup, although we would already be talking about another matter. So if the WhatsApp chats are not maintained when we change phones, they must only be inside our own device. The question that arises from this is, and where do you keep them? So let’s try to explain that to you, where WhatsApp saves the conversations inside our mobile phone.
WhatsApp stores your chats on your phone
As we have said, the only way to “get” WhatsApp messages from our mobile phone is through the backup stored in the cloud, because otherwise the copy remains internal. WhatsApp uses Google Drive to store external copies, so that when we change phones we can restore the latest version (we recommend updating the copy just before changing phones) so that everything remains in place.
But as long as this backup does not occur, WhatsApp stores everything locally. That means, for example, that once a message is delivered to its recipient, whether it is us because it is sent to us or our recipient when we send it, the message disappears from the application servers. Because during shipping it does go through your servers, logically, like a telephone switchboard that connects some users with others.
So the chats They are stored inside the phone and we can tell you the exact route. So that you can see it for yourself, you will need a file explorer installed on our mobile phone, one like Google Files or similar. In Android we find many very practical and any of them will help us to dive through the entrails of our mobile (as long as the system has not protected certain folders).
In our example we are going to use Google Files or ‘Google Files’, installed by default on our Google Pixel 5. Just open it. to see the system directory tree and from there we can start browsing. We are marking the folders through which we are going:
- Internal storage
We arrive at the ‘Databases’ folder after following the path that we have indicated and we come across a list of files, each of which represents the database for each of the days on which it was created. Are the copies that WhatsApp updates every day until moving on to the next, and these copies are the ones that are then exported to an external server in the case of saving them in Google Drive. You will see that they are only saved for a few days, and that is that WhatsApp is eliminating the oldest files so that they do not devour the internal memory of our phone.
Text chats and other files (images, videos, audios, stickers) are stored separately.
But here are only the chats, the text of each of our conversations. To locate the rest of the files that we exchange for WhatsApp we have to go back to the previous folder, to WhatsApp, and then access Media. There we can see animated gifs, images, videos, audio files, voice notes, documents and even profile photos. And yes, also the stickers. Although several of these folders are easily accessible from other phone apps such as Google Photos.
So that, you already know where our WhatsApp chats are stored. In the guts of our mobile phone so that only we have access to them. And when they leave the phone to travel to the cloud, they are also saved with our user so that, again, they are protected from unwanted access.