Whatsapp didn't restore local backup , where can I find them?



  • Panic mode.

    I wanted to clear&restore Whatsapp to make sure it deploys encrypted Google Drive backups. I've never done a Drive backup, only local.

    I made a local backup on the fly, then wiped Whatsapp data using app settings.

    I re-registered to WA but my chat history was totally blank! I found that the local directory /sdcard/WhatsApp was missing in Google Files app.

    Panic again. I am now restoring a NAS backup of my WA directory, but I am surprised to see that, while last synchronization occurred one week ago, all backup files are dated April 25th 2021.

    Questions: does WhatsApp still store data in /sdcard/WhatsApp? Does it get deleted automagically when you clear WA data from settings? If I have to format my device and don't have Google Drive backups, what directories should I backup?

    Have I lost months of chat history??

    Pixel 5, Android 12



  • In the end, it was because the Android file system policy has changed. I'll share for reference.

    Before Android 11, Whatsapp saved files under /sdcard/WhatsApp.

    Starting from Android 11, and anyways since someday around April 25th 2021, WhatsApp now stores data under /storage/emulated/0/Android/media/com.whatsapp/WhatsApp to comply with A11 storage APIs.

    I had FolderSync to sync all my /sdcard directory. In my own case, except for /sdcard/Android because of file permissions issues. So while the /sdcard/WhatsApp folder was already gone on my device, the last sync was made on April 25th (WA backups chats every day).

    In the end, I lost 6 months of chat, not 10 years.

    More, there's a pitfall. Deleting app from settings wipes /storage/emulated/0/Android/media/com.whatsapp, wiping backups and media. Uninstalling WA prompts for keeping or deleting data, but when you uninstall/reinstall WA you have to register again.

    In the end, I'll have to open another question why WA didn't deploy e2e encrypted backups.




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