Want to get your conversations out of WhatsApp and save pictures and videos as well? Find out here how to export WhatsApp messages and data on iPhone.

First, Short River = Short Name

If your river is short, do not waste many a letter naming it.

Consequently, Roe River near Great Falls is competing for the title of the world’s shortest running water with a river in Lincoln City called D River. The winner seems clear.

Now, conversations in WhatsApp have a tendency to expand and grow with words and videos flowing, and possibly a letter wasted here or there. If you want to cut these short (and save some space on your iPhone), do export the data first:

How to Export WhatsApp Messages and Data on iPhone

To save chats’ message texts and media from WhatsApp on iPhone in a format you can easily open and convert anywhere:

  1. Open WhatsApp on your iPhone.
  2. Make sure the Chats tab is open (at the bottom).
  3. Swipe left over any chat you want to export.
  4. Tap More (•••).
  5. Select Export Chat from the menu that has appeared.
  6. Choose which portion of content you want to save from the conversation:
    • Attach Media: WhatsApp will export everything including photos, voice messages and videos sent or received in the conversation.
    • Without Media: WhatsApp will export only the text messages (including emoji).
  7. When WhatsApp has finished creating the archive, choose how you want to save it:
    • Tip: You will have all options available for .zip files on your iPhone. These include sharing using AirDrop, saving to online drives such as iCloud Drive or Google Drive, attaching to an email, and more.
    • Note: WhatsApp export archives can be large. With a big archive, it is best to save to an online drive you can then access from a desktop machine.
  8. If the sharing sheet has not disappeared on its own, tap Done.

How to Export WhatsApp Messages and Data on iPhone: FAQ

In what format does WhatsApp export data?

WhatsApp will potentially export everything in a chat, though not necessarily in its native format:

  • Text messages will be saved to a single “_chat.txt” file.
    It contains time-coded text (in Unicode UTF-8 format) as well as references to attached files (including the file name as exported from WhatsApp).
  • Audio messages will be saved as .opus files.
    The OPUS codec is used for streaming voice and music, e.g. in Voice over IP. You can typically open OPUS files using software such as VLC media player or converter the files online.
  • Pictures of all formats will be saved as .jpg files.
  • Videos of all formats will be saved as .mp4 files.
    Files using the MPEG-4 format contain video and audio (as well as subtitles) and are almost universally used by the iTunes Music Store, for example. A wide variety of media players (including iTunes, Windows Video and VLC media player) will let you open mp4 files.

Can I import data back into WhatsApp from a WhatsApp export?

No. Unfortunately, you cannot import exported data back into WhatsApp.

(How to export WhatsApp messages and data on iPhone tested with WhatsApp 2.18; updated May 2018; title image: StockUnlimited)