I have a galaxy nexus (stock OS). During its use I have used WeChat and WhatsApp, and would like to save my chat and voice histories within these programs.

Does a way exist to image my current phone as it is, so I can load it onto some PC emulator and browse these apps on my PC? This would allow me to save everything as it is, but also start fresh on my phone with a format. I do not want to format my phone then load back on WeChat for instance, yet I still want to be able to browse my old WeChat chats and voice clips (using a PC).



1 Answer 1


You can make an adb backup of only the desired apps, then adb restore it to an emulator. As far as I know, this should preserve all the apps' data. Also, backups of user apps should be compatible between different versions and architectures of Android - but there's a chance of failure, so try it before you wipe anything!

  • 1
    Confirmed: ADB backups of user apps should be restore-able across devices. To ease a "transfer" was one of the reasons I'm working on Adebar currently (had to send one of my devices to repair, so I transferred everything needed to another). Should also do for emulator.
    – Izzy
    Oct 31, 2014 at 12:58
  • Thanks for the answer and comment. I have been trying to get this working. Using the adb backup -apk -shared -all -system -f myBackup.ab command. Restoring it to the emulator works, but my msms messages do not transfer. Also my icons for WhatsApp and WeChat are there, but when I click them I get an App not installed notification. So not sure why this is... Nov 1, 2014 at 4:17
  • @SteveHatcher some apps can "opt-out" of ADB backups. You can verify that easily when trying to back them up separately (adb backup -f <appname>.ab -apk <package_name>); if that results in a 41 byte file (just the backup header) you've encountered such. No way around that without rooting the device then. Not sure whether your sms/mms fall into the same category; do you even have an SMS/MMS app available in the emulator?
    – Izzy
    Jun 8, 2015 at 9:36

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