In most cases, the process of transferring user data from an app in one environment to another is either seamless or quite simple. That's not the case when one wishes to transfer Whatsapp's chats history from Android to iOS or vice versa. However, after a long battle, I managed to transfer my chats history from iOS to Android.
This blog post goal is twofold; First to serve as a guide to anyone who might be interested in going through this process. Second, to release some steam since going through this process with the inadequate fragmented guides all over the Internet was agonizing.
It should be noted upfront, that I used a paid software for completing the process. I'm not affiliated in any way with the owners, developers, etc. and I gain nothing from advertising that tool.
For me, the process was moving from iPhone 7 128GB to HTC One m9u (and shortly after a much easier transfer to Samsung Galaxy S10). Yet in the guide below I try to describe the process more broadly in iOS and Android terms.
So, first thing first, let's go through the guide.
Things you'll need
The iOS device from which the chats history should be extracted.
An Android device with a CELLULAR connection where you'll transfer said history to.
A PC/Laptop/MAC running iTunes and "Dr. Fone" paid application
A bit less than 20$ to pay for a license of "Dr. Fone".
Time - take your time reading through this guide (it's not that long) and then make an estimate how long the process might take for you.
Stage One - Backing Up On iOS Device
The first stage is setting up an unencrypted backup of your iOS device on your PC/ Laptop/ MAC.
In order to do that you'll first have to make sure your device isn't managed by someone else. In my case, the phone was paid through the workplace and managed by the IT department. I had to change my plan to personal, then ask the IT department to release the phone from their management and only then, I could proceed to the next step.
Now the thing is that I'm writing this post quite sometime after I returned the iPhone, so I can't get the relevant screenshots by myself. So I'll be referencing one of Cnet's screenshots. In that picture, you can see the menu where you need to change the backup settings. Under the "Automatically Back Up" header you should select the option "This Computer". Next, remove the checkmark next to "Encrypt iPhone backup".
Now it is time for backup - make sure you have enough space on your computer (iTunes will NOT warn you in advance), and that the computer will not go to sleep while in the process.
Stage Two - Extraction to Android
That is not the last stage, sorry. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
For this stage you'll need "Dr. Fone" software installed on your computer with a purchased license. The cheapest I found cost a bit less than 20$. I managed to get a small discount by using a Chrome extension named "Honey" (as a side note, I recommend it to anyone who buys anything through the Internet).
After double-clicking the app's shortcut you'll get here:
Click on "Restore Social App", which will get you here:
Now click on "Restore WhatsApp messages to Android device" and from here on you'll be prompted by Dr. Fone with more guidance on how to complete the transfer.
Note that this stage requires logging into your WhatsApp account, which means you'll need a cellular network connection.
I tried this at first on my PC and for some reason, it failed. I tried the exact same thing on my laptop and it worked well on the first time.
Stage Three - Moving from "A whatsapp app" to WhatsApp App
At the end of the last stage "Dr. Fone" will tell that you aren't running the official version of WhatsApp but a special version. In order to be able to use WhatsApp you'll now need to:
Backup your chats history from the Android device to Google Drive.
Uninstall the special version and install the official one from Google Play Store.
Even if you don't manage to upload the backup to Google Drive, a local backup is enough, since the official version identifies the backup file and asks whether to use it.
That's it, your done! ^‿^
Possible Shortcut (not tested!)
The "Dr. Fone" application has an option for transferring WhatsApp messages directly between two devices. It is possible that it would work, given that your device is not managed by a third party, and that the backup settings are set for unencrypted backup.
As mentioned in the title, I haven't tried it, so I can't vouch for that.
Why Some Other Stuff Didn't Work
Now that we're through the guide, it's a good time to note some of the reasons why some other methods I tried didn't work:
WhatsApp for iPhone only allows backup to and from iCloud.
WhatsApp for Android can't access iCloud for fetching a backup file.
The backup file on iCloud is hidden, meaning there is no way to access it with regular user permissions (maybe it is possible with a rooted device).
All this means that it's not possible to get a backup file from the iPhone to an Android device, unless maybe with a rooted device. However even if it is possible with a rooted device, there's the chance that the backup file from an iOS device isn't compatible with the Android version of the App. Again, since I haven't tried this myself, I can't say for sure. If you tried it and found out, please let me know.
Lastly, I think it's unfortunate that a company with such a large userbase isn't tackling this problem. The chats history is precious to users as it contains memorable moments with friends and loved ones, as well as being a long-term memory of our everyday lives. It really is time they would come up with a solution to this problem.