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WhatsApp: How to get out of Google Drive backup during restore

Let's say you have accidentally enabled Google Drive backup on your WhatsApp. Now when you want to restore it to a new phone, you find that you have to download 500MB worth of data and wait for an insane amount of time because you don't have fast broadband. What do you do?

I found myself in this situation recently and cracked my head a bit trying to solve it. Thought I'd log this down and save someone else in the same situation a little time.

Firstly, whether or not Google Drive backup is enabled, a local backup file is always created in the SD-card under /WhatsApp/Databases/msgstore.db.crypt8. The full path is typically /storage/emulated/0/WhatsApp/Databases/msgstore.db.crypt8. You have to copy msgstore.db.crypt8 to the the same path on the new smartphone (create the necessary subfolders along the way) before WhatsApp is installed.

The next step delinks WhatsApp from Google Drive so that when you install and run it on the new smartphone, it will not insist on restoring from Google Drive.

From a web browser, login to Google Drive. On the top-right corner, click on the gear icon, then click on "Settings":


 A new popup window will appear.  Select "Manage Apps" on the left.



You should see "WhatsApp Messenger" in the list. Click on "Options, Disconnect from Drive".

You will be given a choice to "Delete hidden app data" in a checkbox. If you leave that unchecked, you can always delete the data later from the "Options" button again.

Once you have disconnected WhatsApp from Google Drive, you can go ahead and install WhatsApp on your new smartphone. When you run it for the first time, it will now search within the local storage for the backup and find msgstore.db.crypt8 if the file is in the right place.

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