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My WhatsApp has been giving me trouble for a long time regarding backups. It started a couple of months ago when I pressed back up now and I received an error message saying "unable to back up". A little while later, my WhatsApp suddenly crashed and when I tried opening it, I received an additional error message saying

Something went wrong with your chat history, don't worry you can restore your chat history from backup. If you don't restore now you won't be able to restore later.

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After pressing "backup now", it responds with "unable to retrieve old backup from Google drive."

I tried looking up different solutions and I did everything including, resetting the cache, disconnecting and reconnecting my Google account, turning off my phone, and playing around with every possible setting. I have plenty of storage on my device and Google Drive account and a great internet connection, so I had no idea where the problem was. The only solution that helped was when I switched my WhatsApp number to a different number. After that, I was able to back up to Google Drive normally as it should be. Unfortunately, I had to reset my WhatsApp from new and start again which was really irritating, on the bright side I was able to do backups moving forward.

My WhatsApp has been working fine ever since yesterday when it gave me the same "unable to back up" error message I'm all too familiar with. Not surprisingly, the next day my WhatsApp crashed and the situation that happened a couple of months ago repeated itself.

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Please help me understand what's wrong with my WhatsApp and if there are any solutions or fixes I can do. I've scoured the internet and I haven't found any solutions that have worked.

The problem now being when I press backup now I get an error message "unable to backup " in response. Any idea of what could be wrong/if some file is corrupt how to fix it?

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  • Is your chats on the device now? I mean did you synced all the chats and media (that 2.5GB) on the phone offine? If so, make sure drive is updated. Then open Google Drive application, tap the hamburger menu, click Backups. Delete WhatsApp backup by clicking on the Delete backup option, then close the Google Drive app. Preferably reboot. And head to whatsapp and create a new backup. This will consume 2.5 cellular data if on mobile network.
    – 44yu5h
    Commented Apr 23, 2023 at 19:58

2 Answers 2

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Ahh, one of the gut-wrenching WhatsApp problems. Try below after you have tried all other options.

  • Change backup frequency to "never", under 'Back up to Google Drive".

  • Force stop WhatsApp.

  • Clear cache.

  • Remove Photos and Videos permission for WhatsApp.

  • Give said permission back to WhatsApp.

  • Open WhatsApp and change the backup frequency to whichever you prefer under "Back up to Google Drive" (I set it to "daily").

  • Tap "Back up".

I believe this would definitely work. It did for me and many of my friends.

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Normally when WhatsApp makes a backup, it makes a local backup too. You can find the local backup on your phone's memory or sd card under the WhatsApp folder. You should probably backup the backup so it doesn't get overwritten by a new backup, then you can turn off Google Drive backup and see if you can do "Backup now". It should then only make a local backup.

If that doesn't work you should try putting the local backup back. I am not sure what the cause could be, I would assume either your phone isn't authenticating with Google Drive properly or your Drive is full. Try logging off from Google and logging back in. There may be an issue with the data of WhatsApp itself. Sometimes clearing the cache helps but I can't guarantee what'll work and what not.

It looks like it managed to create a backup 16 days ago, so if nothing works you should still have a proper copy of your messages from everything before that date. Reinstalling WhatsApp should then give you the option to recover from Google Drive, but you will lose 16 days of chat history unless if you use the local backup.

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    I've disconnected my Google drive account from Whatsapp and tried doing just the internal backup again with no success. The error "unable to backup messages" still pops up. After taking a closer look at the files themselves I find that the media and backups folders actually do get backed up every time I press back up now, but not the database file. Is there any explanation for that and or a fix to the problem itself?
    – Ktclmymlrk
    Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 17:19
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    @Ktclmymlrk I would assume there is an error reading the database then, you may be able to try to rename the WhatsApp folder so it creates it from scratch. Otherwise something deeper you may want to try to restore from a working backup. It could be possible you can use adb logcat to see what errors it shows, that would give us a more detailed overview of what WhatsApp tries before it fails.
    – Foxyz
    Commented Apr 28, 2023 at 12:10
  • I'm not familiar with adb logcat, can you elaborate or explain how to do this. Also are there any third party apps/softwares I can use to backup Whatsapp. I've pretty much given up on trying to fix whatsapp, since I have no idea on how to even diagnose the problem.
    – Ktclmymlrk
    Commented May 5, 2023 at 10:40
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    @Ktclmymlrk Sorry for the late reply. I don't think there is any third party software that can backup WhatsApp since the data is in the app's private storage. You should try a file manager app and see if there is a WhatsApp folder on your internal storage or sd card. If there is, you should try to delete WhatsApp's data, but remember there might be a small chance that your messages can't be recovered. Normally when logging back in using the same phone number you can recover the chats from the local backup.
    – Foxyz
    Commented May 24, 2023 at 22:01
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    I did everything you said and it still gives me the "unable to back up messages" error whenever I press back up now. The issue isn't with my Google drive account because it doesn't even let me run an internal backup either. Is there any fix to this or a way to even debug the problem?
    – Ktclmymlrk
    Commented May 27, 2023 at 17:54

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