One of the best features of WhatsApp is that, thanks to optional backups on Google Drive, when you install it on a new phone all of your chats repopulate and you never lose anything between contracts.
But where is this backup on Google Drive, exactly? Well I’ll tell you, but before I get to that I should also tell you that this knowledge won’t help you much.
How can I open my Google Drive WhatsApp backup?
Surprise! You can’t.
Like the messages themselves, chat backups are end-to-end encrypted for privacy reasons. That means that they can’t be opened without appropriate cryptographic keys. Presumably for that reason, Google Drive won’t let you do much with the file except see that it exists.
That may seem quite annoying if you just want to look through your messages on your PC, but it really is for your protection. If they weren’t encrypted, your private messages could be read by anybody with access to your Google Drive. Trust me, it’s better this way.
Still, if you just want to ensure your WhatsApp messages are backed up on Google Drive for your own peace of mind, then here’s how to find them.
Where is WhatsApp backed up on Google Drive?
Because you can’t actually do anything with WhatsApp backups, they’re saved as hidden data on Google Drive, which explains why there aren’t a whole bunch of files labelled “WhatsApp”. This is how to see it’s all present and accounted for.
- Log in to http://drive.google.com.
- Press the cog icon in the top right-hand corner of the screen, and then press “Settings”.
- Press “Manage Apps” and then scroll down the alphabetical list. Unless you have a whole load of xylophone and zoo-based apps, you’ll find WhatsApp near the bottom.
- As documented above, you can’t really do anything with this information. But you can disconnect it from Google Drive if you no longer use WhatsApp and don’t want your data on Google’s servers, even if it is encrypted.