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My old phone just died on me yesterday. It used to back up the WhatsApp chat history to my main Google account, which I also used to register the device.

Now I have a new phone, and I registered it to the same Google account. After installing WhatsApp, I tried to restore the Google Drive backup to the new installation. However, when I try to enter my Google account, it tells me "This account already exists on your device"

Somehow after switching apps, WhatsApp assumed I don't want to restore a backup, and now I'm stuck with no history.

Also, when I try to set up the Google Drive backup on my new device, it gives me the same error when I try to enter my Google account; "This account already exists on your device". I can't figure out what I am doing wrong.

Is it just impossible to backup WhatsApp to an account already registered to the same device?

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4 Answers 4

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I just encountered the same problem on Android 13. I fixed the problem by deleting the Google account and then in the application settings Google Play Service > Permissions. Make sure there are no more denied permissions.
I deleted all WhatsApp data and then made sure there were no more denied permissions.
Then restarted the application.

I was able to add a Google account and find my backup !

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Did you already add that Google account while setting up the phone? Please check Settings > Users & accounts if that account is already added. If it is, then try removing it and adding it again.

P.S: It may be called Accounts in older Android versions.

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  • I had exactly the same "This account already exists on your device" notification without being able to actually select it. Removing the google account (with a reboot just in case), and re-adding, allowed WhatsApp to do backups to google drive again.
    – MiG
    Sep 18, 2022 at 22:08
  • Just to be clear the tl;dr: this solution still works in 2022 (and has no data loss penalties, WhatsApp isn't affected and anything google resyncs immediately after re-adding) :)
    – MiG
    Sep 19, 2022 at 10:19
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After several unsuccessful attempts to get Whatsapp to use my main google account, I just left it as it was. After a few weeks, Whatsapp notified me by itself that I should set up a backup plan. At that time, it did allow me to select the account I wanted to use, without a hassle.

Looks like the problem fixed itself over time.

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Not deliberately wanting to comment on a necro'd thread, BUT ... I literally just had exactly this issue, following a message from WhatsApp itself. However, the solution was quite simple:-

I forced a complete restart of the app by using the Android STOP option on the WhatsApp application; and Restarting it using the icon on the main screen.

Once that was done, it allowed me to setup the backup frequency on my existing Google account.

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