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How to transfer WhatsApp chats from iPhone to Android

It's a bit of a tricky process.
By

Published onDecember 15, 2023

One of the most important things you want to carry forward with you when switching phones is your chat history. While most apps and chat platforms make it relatively trivial to carry years of chat history with you, WhatsApp is an outlier. Sure, you can use cloud backups to keep moving your chat history from one phone to the next as long as you stay on Android or iOS. However, switching WhatsApp between iOS and Android has previously meant losing all your conversations. Thankfully, this is no longer the case.

WhatsApp is the most popular chat platform in the world. With over 2.5 billion users, the service relies on Google Drive and Apple iCloud, respectively, to maintain online chat backups. As a free platform, this makes sense to mitigate storage costs for WhatsApp — my own WhatsApp backup clocks in at over 15 gigabytes.

However, it isn’t possible to directly connect and transfer encrypted backups between Drive and iCloud. Moreover, neither platform integrates deeply with the competing platform’s smartphones. Apple doesn’t even offer an iCloud app for Android devices. This essentially leaves local transfers the only real option to move data from one platform to another.

THE SHORT ANSWER

Local transfers of WhatsApp backups from an iPhone to an Android device require you to have a freshly reset phone with at least Android 12 onboard. Additionally, you'll need to ensure that you have the Google migrate tool installed on your phone. After that, it is a simple process of connecting the two phones via a USB-C to lightning cable, tapping the move chats to Android button, and following along the guided steps.


JUMP TO ESSENTIAL SECTIONS

Editor’s note: We used a Google Pixel 7 running Android 14 and an Apple iPhone 12 Mini running iOS 17.2 to come up and verify these steps. Some things may be slightly different, depending on your hardware and software.

How to transfer chats from an iPhone to any Android phone

WhatsApp transfer from iOS to Android
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

Starting with Pixel phones running Android 12, Google added operating-system-level changes to allow users to bring their WhatsApp chat histories from iPhones to Android devices. It should now work on any device running Android 12 or newer.

  1. You’ll need a freshly reset phone with at least Android 12 onboard. Here’s our guide on factory resetting your Android phone, if you need some help.
  2. Follow the on-screen instructions to import all or selected data from the iPhone to your Android 12 phone.
  3. Unlock the iPhone.
  4. Connect the iPhone to your Android 12 device via a USB-C to Lightning cable when the Copy apps and data page shows up.
  5. On the iPhone, hit Trust.
  6. When prompted during the transfer process, scan the QR code shown on the Android device using your iPhone.
  7. Scanning the QR code will pop open WhatsApp on the iPhone. Tap the Start button, and you’re good to go.

How to transfer WhatsApp chats from an iPhone to a Samsung phone

WhatsApp announced the ability to move chats between platforms alongside a partnership with Samsung. And it might be easier with Samsung devices, as you only need Android 10.

  1. Reset your Samsung device.
  2. When prompted by the onboard Smart Switch app, connect your iPhone to your Samsung device via a USB-C to Lightning cable.
  3. Select all the apps and data you want to transfer, including WhatsApp.
  4. When prompted, scan the QR code displayed on the phone’s screen.
  5. The QR code should open WhatsApp on your iPhone. Tap the Start button to continue transferring data.
  6. You can now finish setting up your Samsung device.
  7. Once done, open WhatsApp and log in using the same number as on the iPhone.
  8. Press the Import button when prompted to complete the process.

Transferring WhatsApp chats from iPhone to Android is a pretty straightforward process that shouldn’t take more than a few minutes, depending on the size of the WhatsApp backup. The entire transfer takes place locally and remains encrypted. All media, including chat history, photos, and videos, should carry forward, but you will lose out on your WhatsApp call history.

Use your Android phone as a linked WhatsApp device

Did you know you can have WhatsApp on multiple devices? You can use both Android and iOS devices as linked devices on WhatsApp. This means the primary device will continue to be the main WhatsApp device, but you can access all messages and content from secondary WhatsApp linked devices. Furthermore, the main phone doesn’t need to be online, but linked devices will be logged out after 14 days if your main device is inactive.

This is a good alternative if you want to access your iPhone’s WhatsApp messages from a new Android device, but will continue using your iPhone as a primary device. Also, remember these messages won’t stay in a linked phone if logged out. That said, this method won’t work for you if you need to eventually get rid of the iPhone.

How to turn your Android phone into a linked device for WhatsApp for iPhone:

  1. On your Android phone, download and install WhatsApp from the Google Play Store.
  2. Launch WhatsApp. You will enter the set-up process.
  3. Select your language and tap on the green arrow.
  4. Hit Agree and continue.
  5. You will be asked for your phone number. Don’t enter it. Instead, tap on the three-dot menu button.
  6. Select Link as companion device. WhatsApp will create a QR code.
  7. Now, go to your iPhone and launch WhatsApp.
  8. Go into the Settings tab.
  9. Tap on Linked Devices.
  10. Select Link a Device.
  11. Scan the QR code on your Android device.

Now, your WhatsApp chats and content will show up on both phones. Remember that the primary device is needed in the long term, though. You should follow the previous methods if you actually want to transfer everything to your new Android phone.


FAQs

Yes. iPhone users can backup WhatsApp messages to iCloud, while Android users will rely on Google Drive. This makes it easy to move messages from Android to Android devices, or from iOS to iOS. It’s also why it’s so hard to transfer between platforms; they use different services.

You can use both Android and iOS devices as linked devices for WhatsApp. You will need a primary phone to control everything, but once linked, all devices can operate separately.

You can have up to four linked devices on WhatsApp, aside from your primary device.

Sadly, a physical cable is required if you want to transfer WhatsApp messages between iOS and Android.