WhatsApp recently added the Encrypted Backup feature which allows your Google Drive and iCloud backups to be end-to-end encrypted as well. This makes the service more secure as a whole. However, you can still backup your WhatsApp data and even transfer it to another phone through completely offline methods. All you need is a file compression app like RAR.
The method basically works by taking an offline backup of your files, recovering all the data in a single folder, and then transferring that folder to another phone. It’s not as convenient as using your Google Drive backup, but lets you skip Google Drive altogether.
It can also come in handy if you’re in a rush and don’t have WiFi around you, avoiding downloading and uploading all of your WhatsApp data which can be too much for a data plan. Here’s how.
Step 1: Create a local backup on WhatsApp
In WhatsApp, go to the three-dot menu on the homepage and navigate to Settings / Chat / Chat backup and press “Save”. Once the local backup is created, you can ignore the Google Drive backup prompt, if necessary. You now have a local backup created in your phone’s internal storage.
Once the local backup is ready, uninstall WhatsApp from the old device.
Step 2: Install RAR or any other file compressing application
Go to the Google Play Store, download the RAR app and set it up. We will use it to compress all of our WhatsApp data and make it into a single file. You can also choose any other app you want.
Step 3: Compress your WhatsApp data
In the RAR app, you will see your phone’s internal storage directory. Go to Android / Media and find the “com.whatsapp” folder. Select the check mark next to the com.whatsapp folder and press the Add archive button at the top (shaped like a ‘+’). The entire folder should now start to turn into a .rar file.
Note that compressing all of your WhatsApp data is a lengthy process and may take some time. You can also choose to make it a .zip file instead. The only point of turning the whole folder into a .zip file or a .rar file is to make the whole transfer process less clunky.
Step 4: Move the data to your new phone
Move the new com.whatsapp.rar file (or the com.whatsapp.zip file if you created a zip) to your new phone where you want to set up WhatsApp.
Use RAR once more to unzip the same file in the internal storage of the new phone and place the extracted folder (must be named “com.whatsapp”) in the same directory, which is Internal storage / Android / Media.
Step 5: Install WhatsApp on your new phone
You can now install WhatsApp on the new phone and during the initial process ignore the Google Drive backup prompt so that the app will try to find a local backup instead. This will allow WhatsApp to detect the files we restored to the specific directory in step 4.
Restore the detected backup and continue with the rest of the installation process. Once done, your WhatsApp account is now ready on the new phone. You can now delete the .rar or .zip file that you created and copied to the new phone in step 4.