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My phone has suffered physical damage and it will no longer turn on. I have given it to a phone repair shop in the hope that the data is still alive in there and that it can be extracted using external means. Assuming I can get a copy of the internal storage of that phone into a thumb drive, one of the things I would like to recover from it is the WhatsApp chat history. The standard procedure, however, requires a working Android system on the old phone to work, and this might be a little too much of a stretch given the damage.

Is there a way to recover the chat history given these circumstances? Or is it lost to history due to WhatsApp's encryption mechanisms?

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  • If you made a backup previously, it's a maybe, and that's still a big maybe. Without one, the chances are low.
    – Ethan Z
    Nov 19, 2015 at 2:52

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You can, if you can save everything in the /data/data/com.whatsapp folder. Your logs will be in /data/data/com.whatsapp/databases but they are encrypted as you mentioned and encryption key is in /data/data/com.whatsapp/files/key. Proper transfer of these files will mean a successful operation. Once you start Whatsapp on another phone with the /data folder from your broken phone and start Whatsapp, it will prompt you to activate Whatsapp on this phone with a text like "This account wasn't activated on this phone, please activate" and once you do, it'll be successfully done.

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    Thanks for this. I'm still waiting for the workshop to come back and say whether they recovered the data; if they did I'll give this a shot.
    – E.P.
    Nov 19, 2015 at 11:08
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    I was unable to recover the data so I don't know for sure that this works, but it sounds about right so I'm accepting this.
    – E.P.
    Nov 29, 2015 at 11:23

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