The WhatsApp Migration Guide

The WhatsApp Migration Guide

Contents


Introduction

A few months ago WhatsApp’s controversial Terms of Service update led to panic on a global scale. Users who did not accept the new ToS, which would mandate them to allow WhatsApp to share user/usage data with Facebook, faced losing access to their account and contacts. In the heat of the moment, many people who felt their privacy was being invaded switched to newer messaging apps.

Following backlash, WhatsApp has softened its terms. But if you are still looking for some change, or just need help following your friend group, this page has tips to help you emigrate from WhatsApp.

Disclaimer: This page and Data Horde itself were not sponsored or financially endorsed by WhatsApp, Facebook Inc. or any of their competitors at the time of writing. What is presented here is given for informative purposes and not to smear WhatsApp against any particular competitor.

Originally published as https://datahorde.org/the-whatsapp-emigrants-guide/, May 13, 2021.

Why Are People Leaving WhatsApp

WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app in the world, so why are people leaving when everyone is still here?

  • Privacy Concerns: WhatsApp prides itself with its end-to-end chat encryption which protect users’ chat messages. Yet the app still exposes other kinds of personal data. As mentioned above, the new Terms of Service will allow for data sharing, such as contacts, with Facebook. This has drawn ire from privy folks and privacy regulators.
  • The rise of global competitors such as Telegram and Signal which offer more transparency and privacy; as well as regional competitors such as WeChat in China and LINE in Japan.
  • Security vulnerabilities and frequent scams circulating.

Click here for the latest Data Horde updates on WhatsApp

If any of the above is concerning to you, or your contact groups, you might want to use a new app to message your contacts, friends and family! Read on to find out how you can export your WhatsApp data.

How To Export Chat Logs

You can export the history for a single chat, contact or group, from the chat options. Fortunately WhatsApp already has a guide on their website. When exporting like this, remember to choose “attach media” to also include photos and other media shared within chat.

Warning!

Google Drive and iCloud backups are not readable outside of WhatsApp. These are only worth your while if you:

A) Plan to switch phones and to continue using WhatsApp.
B) Need a backup in case your phone is damaged, but will continue to use WhatsApp.

Migrating to Telegram


Telegram, one of WhatsApp’s most ambitious competitors, can import WhatsApp chat logs directly. Starting with Telegram 7.4, you can directly migrate your contact/group chats from WhatsApp to Telegram. After exporting, you will be able to see who sent what message when on Telegram, and can continue the conversation as if you had always been using this app in the first place.

How To Export Contacts

Most apps nowadays can read your contacts from your smartphone so you shouldn’t have to add them in manually. As long as your contacts switch to the same messaging apps, you should be able to reconnect soon enough.

That being said, if you would like to make a list of your WhatsApp contacts you can do so from WhatsApp Web, or by using a couple of tools. See iMyFone‘s contact export guide for more details.

How To Migrate Group Chats

It’s one thing for one person to move to a new app, but how do you get your group chat to migrate together? So here are some tips to make the process as easy as possible:

  • As mentioned above, Telegram in particular makes it easy to migrate group chats and continue the conversation.
  • Talk to your group members to see what messaging apps they already have installed. It’s a lot easier for someone to use an installed app than to try a new one.
  • Ask your group admin to change the group description to link the invite for your new group.
  • Consider muting, or if you’re feeling naughty kicking, all members from the group to make sure people notice that the old group has closed down.

Chat Log Utilities

Here are some tools you can use to tinker with your chat data liberated from WhatsApp:


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