Switching from an Android phone to an iPhone and vice versa is easy these days, thanks to the tools smartphone manufacturers offer to users. For instance, Apple offers the Move to iOS app on Android that helps easily transfer essential data from your Android phone to your iPhone.
While switching has become way easier than before, one thing is still making the process daunting—WhatsApp. For whatever reason, you cannot transfer your WhatsApp chats from your Android phone to your iPhone and vice versa. And since WhatsApp is one of the most popular instant messaging applications, it’s a major drawback.
There’s no simple way to transfer WhatsApp chats from Android to iPhone
My mom recently gifted my dad a new iPhone on his birthday. Being a longtime Android user, it was somewhat difficult for him to adjust to using the iPhone. But what made it even more difficult was the fact that there seemed to be no way at all to transfer all his WhatsApp Business chats from his Android phone to his iPhone.
Being the “IT help” at home, the responsibility of transferring his chats from his Android phone to his new iPhone befell my shoulders. Without researching, I told him I could do it thinking by now, WhatsApp must’ve employed some way to do that. But after countless hours of searching online, reading clickbait-y articles, and watching outdated YouTube videos, I found a solution.
Getting to the solution alone cost me $30 and when I was finally able to transfer my dad’s chats from his Android phone to his new iPhone, I was out an additional $22. Here’s the story.
My struggle with the WhatsApp chat transfer and the “helper” software saga
If you search for the term “transfer WhatsApp chats from Android to iPhone,” most search results are from websites that sell specialized “helper” software. I searched for the term and clicked on one of the helper software’s websites whose name I don’t recall. The website led me to a free trial page for the software where I could download it to my PC.
I installed the software and booted it, performed the steps according to the guidance the software offered and was only able to back up the WhatsApp chats from my dad’s Android phone to my PC, after which the software demanded I purchase the full version.
Since there was no other way and the software appeared promising, I agreed to pay. After purchasing the full version, I was able to continue the process until the app started crashing at a particular point in the transfer. To be clear, the app had tons of articles from media publications supporting it, lending a false sense of authenticity to it.
I contacted support, but they weren’t able to help as well until finally, I ordered a refund. They refused to give me a full refund and at the end of a long, heated argument over support chat, I only received back half of what I paid. In other words, I spent around $30 bucks on software that didn’t work at all.
Then, I decided to take another risk and went on to purchase yet another similar software that claimed to help transfer WhatsApp chats from an Android phone to an iPhone; this time from a reputable brand that I have had interactions with before.
I paid for and downloaded Wondershare’s Dr. Fone WhatsApp Transfer software and it was the one that finally helped me go through the entire process of transferring my dad’s WhatsApp chats from his Android phone to his new iPhone.
At this point, it’s imperative for you readers to know that this isn’t an advertisement or a sponsored article for Wondershare, nor is The 8-Bit in any way affiliated. After a hit-and-miss run, Dr. Fone finally got the job done and is simply worthy of recognition.
Here’s how the transfer process looks like:
Connect Android phone and iPhone to a PC or a Mac together.
Start the transfer process.
The software will install its own version of WhatsApp on the Android phone and ask you to restore a previously saved backup to that version.
The software will then take the chat data from the seemingly modified version of WhatsApp on the Android phone and transfer it to the connected iPhone.
In order for the data to be transferred successfully, your iPhone must have an activated version of WhatsApp installed.
Just reading about the transfer process might be easy and doesn’t seem so daunting. However, it takes hours for the entire process to complete in practice from start to end. Nevertheless, that’s not the point. The point is that this process shouldn’t be so difficult in the first place.
The time it takes to transfer WhatsApp chats from an Android phone to an iPhone is significantly more than the time required to transfer your entire phone’s data collectively. Moreover, considering not everyone is tech-savvy and may find using the “helper” software seriously intimidating, the process needs reform.
Why WhatsApp can’t transfer chats between operating systems and what Facebook could do to fix this shortcoming
The technical reason behind the inability to officially and easily transfer WhatsApp chats from one platform to another is that both platforms use different cloud services to back WhatsApp chats and data. On iPhone, WhatsApp chats are backed up on iCloud while Google Drive takes charge on Android.
Both cloud systems are native to their respective operating systems and are locally inaccessible on opposite platforms, which is why WhatsApp can’t acquire your data for you while using it on a new iPhone, for instance.
There are multiple options Facebook—which owns WhatsApp—could adopt in order to make it easier for WhatsApp users. For instance, WhatsApp could offer its own encrypted cloud storage just for this purpose and ditch iCloud and Google Drive completely. It could also offer users to choose between different third-party cloud storage options like Dropbox or Microsoft’s OneDrive.
Alternately, Facebook could also let users create a universally applicable backup file that can be restored on any phone, provided that the file is encrypted and password protected.
Why it’s taking so long for a simple cross-platform WhatsApp backup and restore solution
One of the reasons I think WhatsApp hasn’t gained this functionality yet is due to the fact that people switching between ecosystems is a niche market. Per a 2018 PCMag survey of 2,500 U.S. consumers, only 29 percent of the participants had switched operating systems.
Considering that only a few of those people use WhatsApp (since WhatsApp is strongly rivaled by other instant messaging apps in the U.S.), the need for a smooth WhatsApp backup and restore system between smartphone operating systems is low. Due to that, Facebook might be preferring to use its resources on more pressing issues and features.
People need a better, universal backup and restore solution for WhatsApp
Despite that, WhatsApp is a globally used instant messaging app, and the demand for an improved backup and restore system exists. According to StatCounter, the adoption rate for iOS has been steadily increasing indicating that more and more people are making the switch from Android to iOS globally.
Additionally, there’s no deterrent for Facebook in this case as WhatsApp isn’t affected by which operating system it’s being run on.
It’s not just my dad, many people I know have bought an iPhone only to realize they can’t transfer their WhatsApp chats. My aunt, who lives in a different country waited three months after purchasing an iPhone 12 Pro just because she couldn’t figure out a way to transfer her WhatsApp chats from her old Android phone to her new iPhone.
It’s 2021; high time for Facebook to look into this issue.
Until then, I wish you luck and the power to endure the daunting process of transferring your WhatsApp chat history from an Android to an iPhone or vice versa.
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