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Problems restoring WhatsApp backup from Jolla to XA2

asked 2019-05-13 12:16:13 +0300

Daedalus gravatar image

updated 2019-05-13 12:22:42 +0300

I've just recently upgraded from my trusty old original Jolla phone to the XA2. All went smoothly, Sailfish was booting on the XA2 without any trouble at all and I'm definitely enjoying the extra horsepower and nicer screen. However, my WhatsApp messages backup is not restoring for me. I created a backup file on my old Jolla, it's about 16MB. I transferred the backup to my PC via USB cable and MTP mode, then copied it to the same location on my XA2 in the same way (via MTP mode). When I installed WhatsApp, it didn't find the backup at all, instead starting straight after verification into the app, with my chat groups present but no messages. I tried renaming the backup file to the standard database file and reinstalling WhatsApp. This time it found a backup, but listed it as 0KB in size and dated 1970! Choosing to restore this backup didn't work - it failed after a couple of seconds of processing with a message saying sorry, we can't restore your messages.

Any questions I've already come across tend to suggest copying the entire android_storage directory. I did also try copying the entire WhatsApp directory from android_storage to the new phone, but it still came up with a backup of 0KB from 1970. After trying so many times (and reverting to my old phone to re-make the backup file), the WhatsApp verification step has blocked me for 13 hours, so I'm very limited in what I can try now. I sent a message to WhatsApp support, but immediately got a response telling me they don't support rooted devices and will not answer emails from me.

Is there anything I can do to get my messages over to my new phone? Is the 0KB and 1970 thing a clue towards some sort of issue?

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5 Answers

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answered 2019-05-13 13:40:19 +0300

enwine gravatar image

I had the same symptoms a couple of months back when I made the change from J1 to xa2. The problem was that copying the old WhatsApp-folder to android_storage crashed alien dalvik (I guess this has been fixed in the latest update), and when copying the files succeeded, the permissions were wrong. Try the solutions suggested in my post, they did work for me:


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Thanks for the reply. I've tried both changing the owner of the directory in .android, as well as the parent folder, and tried the other suggestions of deleting the entire android_storage WhatsApp folder, reinstalling WhatsApp, copying over the backup database. No backup found. Uninstalled WhatsApp, renamed the backup file to remove the date from the name, reinstalled WhatsApp, found the backup this time but still says it's 01/01/1970, 01:00 and 0kB in size. Locked out of trying again now for 25 hours :( At least it appears to be working fine, other than losing 3 years of messages...

Daedalus ( 2019-05-14 00:37:21 +0300 )edit

I came across the same problem when trying to update a friend from Xperia X to XA2. The backup is found with date 1970 and restore fails pretty quickly restoring only a few very old chats. I'm trying to fix this issue for a few weeks now. Unfortunately, you always have only a few tries before WA restricts the activation temporarily.

What exactly did you do to solve this? There are a few tips on the linked entry.

SagaciousT ( 2019-05-14 15:11:01 +0300 )edit

I copied folders "Backup" and "Databases" from the old whatsapp folder to /home/.android/data/media/0/WhatsApp and then changed the permission of the folders with

devel-su chown -R media_rw:media_rw /home/.android/data/media/0/WhatsApp

This was done after I had installed WhatsApp, but NOT started it.

For some reason it didn't work the first time (although as far as I can see the permissions were changed correctly), but when I did it again, after starting WhatsApp the backup was identified correctly. I can't remember whether I had Alien Dalvik active when I did the chown, possibly not. Anyways I think a restarting AD is needed after changing the permisions. I did this with SFOS 3.0.2.

enwine ( 2019-05-22 13:35:45 +0300 )edit

Both things don’t work for me. My backup is found but still say’s 01/01/70 01:00 0kb and when i try to restore it, I get a [Alert] notification - unable to restore chats etc... But afterwards, when I have a look into the WhatsApp chat settings, it says that my last backup is made when I copied the database to the folder. Are there other solutions?

meverik ( 2019-05-30 02:22:55 +0300 )edit

I've tried several times to do this, even resetting the phone to factory and following the steps given here, same symptoms. I've given up now and written off the past three years of chat history...

Daedalus ( 2019-06-03 13:33:09 +0300 )edit

answered 2019-12-30 00:06:07 +0300

mento gravatar image

Same issues with xperia 10.

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My solution on Xperia 10 was only to give Whats app the right to write on the volume in settings-App-Whatsapp. The problem is, that Whatsapp not ask if you this right not given in the moment of the chat restoration. In all other cases you get a question from the app.

Ralf ( 2020-01-04 08:05:43 +0300 )edit

Thanks for the tip, after setting those permissions recovering from the backup worked :) I installed the whatsapp directly from their website and installation did not ask for permission so they were all off

rsainio ( 2020-01-06 12:33:12 +0300 )edit

Ralf, your suggestion should be written as an answer. Had the same problem, used the same solution.

martinbook85 ( 2020-09-20 12:43:30 +0300 )edit

answered 2019-12-31 13:05:09 +0300

Sebix gravatar image

I was struggling a lot with the same problem and I provided a full guide for WhatsApp migration here: https://together.jolla.com/question/206983/whatsapp-data-sync-help-please-can-you-do-it/?answer=220090#post-id-220090

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answered 2020-09-10 11:05:20 +0300

mViper gravatar image

Hello there,

today I opened WhatsApp - a message popped up - it wanted to restore my backup, because of some problem - it failed - ALL WhatsApp Chats, Groups,... were gone...

Let's try to fix it the easy way (-: without using the terminal ;-) - Some File Browser from the Jolla Store did it fine. The backup file for all the WhatsApp chats seems to be at ...nemo/android_storage/WhatsApp/Databases on my Xperia XA2. msgstore.db.crypt12 should be the latest file (older ones have a date in the file name). Watch out for the file size (small file size might be a wrong/bad file).

  • I copied that *.crypt12 file in some folder on my device (remember where ;-)
  • Deleted WhatsApp-App.
  • Deleted the whole WhatsApp directory on the device (I had already a backup of All the received pictures, videos, documents,... within the WhatsApp chats).
  • Installed WhatsApp.
  • Before I started it the first time, I went to Settings - Apps - WhatsApp - Android Settings --> gave the app All the rights to access to files, pictures, contacts,...
  • Started WhatsApp - which will create new folders on the device.
  • Manually started a backup (WhatsApp - Settings - Chats --> Chat-Backup).
  • That created the above mentiones directory with one *.crypt12 file.
  • Deleted WhatsApp-App again.
  • Deleted the new *.crypt12 file.
  • Copied my old *.crypt12 file in the above mentioned place.
  • Installed WhatsApp again.
  • Before I started it the first time, I went to Settings - Apps - WhatsApp - Android Settings --> gave the app All the rights to access to files, pictures, contacts,...
  • Started WhatsApp - it found the backup file - asked me if I wanted it to be used - I agreed
  • That worked for me - All my chats were back (-:

Maybe it is not necessary to delete the whole WhatsApp direcotory?! Maybe it is possible to skip one deletion of the WhatsApp-App (which I used to get the backup directory path) and instead create the foldery by yourself?!

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answered 2020-09-20 12:50:24 +0300

updated 2020-09-20 16:43:08 +0300

What I have realized is that it is always best on Sailfish OS to go to settings and grant the permissions I want before starting an Android app the first time. That's how I got WhatsApp to find my backup file.

Edit: To give a tad more information, this is how I go about when installing an Android app:

  1. Install the app
  2. Go to settings > apps > the app in question > android settings
  3. Grant whatever permission you think is necessary and useful
  4. Open the app
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I see no reason at all to flag this user, I do not believe he is a spammer. Whoever flagged this as 'offensive' should consider removing their vote.

This user is also registered on FSO; https://forum.sailfishos.org/u/martinbook85

Spam Hunter ( 2020-09-20 14:10:11 +0300 )edit

Maybe they do not see it as an answer? Or too much like other answers?

I am a real person and mean no ill towards anyone. Maybe I am just not used to forum rules and I need someone to tell me when I am in the wrong.

However, this answer of mine was a short and easy approach to solving the WhatsApp back-up issue - and a general approach to solving similar problems in other apps.

  1. Install the app
  2. Go to settings > apps > the app in question > android settings
  3. Grant whatever permission you think is necessary and useful
  4. Open the app

This normally works best for me.

Cordially, Martin Book

martinbook85 ( 2020-09-20 16:40:54 +0300 )edit

No prolemo, @martinbook85, it seems someone saw your username as being, well, a bit spammy looking. But I noticed you posting legit questions on the newer forum.

Anyway, whom ever it was, has revoked their vote, which is nice of them.

Spam Hunter ( 2020-09-21 13:22:58 +0300 )edit

It's funny how <namesurnameyearofbirth> looks spammy, while other completely random usernames do not... I will be considering to change it if possible.</namesurnameyearofbirth>

martinbook85 ( 2020-09-21 16:29:57 +0300 )edit
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Asked: 2019-05-13 12:16:13 +0300

Seen: 2,961 times

Last updated: Sep 20 '20