For whatever reason, you may be looking to backup, download, or export your WeChat (微信）files, chat logs, or contacts. After scouring the Internet for hours, I wasn’t able to find comprehensive tutorials for my needs, so I decided to pull together these step-by-step instructions to help those who are facing similar problems. Without further ado, here are the best ways I found to backup my WeChat profile data:
3 Ways to Backup WeChat Data
- For chat history and files: Use WeChat’s PC App or Mac Desktop App to store logs on computer (for device to device transfer only)
- For chat history, files, contacts, or moments: Request personal data backup files (EU, US only)
- For chat history and files: Use third party desktop apps
For chat history and files: Use Wechat’s PC/Mac Desktop App to store logs on computer (for device to device transfer only)
Time: 15 minutes+, depending on how much chat history and file data you have
Preparation: Laptop (WeChat PC or Mac Desktop App), Phone (iOS or Android WeChat App)
- Go to Wechat’s official site to download the Mac or Windows version of the Desktop app.
- Open the Desktop App and scan with your WeChat phone App to log in.
4. Once you’ve logged in, find the menu icon at the bottom left corner and click ‘Backup and Restore’.
5. Choose ‘Back up on Mac’ to store the files within the Desktop app on your computer.
6. Take out your Phone and follow on-screen guidance to ‘Backup All’, or select specific chat records that you want to save. This process will take you anywhere from a few minutes to hours, depending on how much data your chat logs have (i.e. image files, large attachments, etc). Keep both the computer and phone Apps open the entire time, or else the backup process will pause.
7. That’s it! The data is now stored on your Desktop WeChat. When you need to restore this data to a new phone or mobile device, just log in to the Desktop App, go into ‘Backup and Restore’ and choose ‘Restore on Phone’.
For chat history, files, contacts, or moments: Request personal data backup files (EU, US only)
Time: 10-15 minutes
Preparation: Phone only (iOS or Android WeChat App)
- Open your iOS or Android WeChat App
- Go to ‘Me’ → ‘Settings’ → ‘More Settings’ → ‘Export Personal Data’
3. You’ll meet one of two scenarios:
A) If you haven’t linked your Wechat to an email address, you’ll need to verify your email first before you can request a personal data export:
B) If you’ve already linked and verified an email address, click ‘OK’ to begin the data request process. IMPORTANT: Do not close this Wechat window – minimize the App to check your email, and then come back to this screen. The email verification must happen while this window is running. If you click out of this screen, you’ll have to start the process over again. You’ll receive the verification email in your inbox about 2-5 minutes later.
After you click ‘OK’ in the email and see the success screen, go back to the App, where you’ll see that your email was successfully verified. Click ‘Next’.
4. Select which data types you want to export. Hit ‘Next’ to begin the data request process.
5. You’re done! Depending on how large the data file is, it can take up to 72 hours to receive an email with the data download link. You’ll need to open the email on your Desktop, and the download link will expire in 72 hours from the time it was generated. Note that the downloaded data is all stored in (.js) extension files, so you’ll need a way to parse through that.
For chat history and files: Use third party desktop Apps for backup
Time: 30 minutes or more
Preparation: Laptop, Phone
Cost: Depends on App (Free, $10-$50 is the typical range I’ve seen)
Of the three featured backup methods, this is the least consistently effective one. There are dozens of third-party software providers out there that claim to backup Wechat files, but depending on whether the original developers have updated their software, version compatibility, and many other reasons, the experience will be less reliable. Do your research prior to purchasing and make sure that other users can vouch for a positive experience (you can do by searching for user reviews on Google, Reddit, etc). I do not endorse any of the following options, but am laying out some options that I came across in my research:
- MobileTrans – Backup Wechat history and account contacts to a PC before transferring to another mobile device. The same developers also created dr.fone, which offers similar functionality on their website.
- iCloud – Backup your iPhone (for iOS users) including WeChat data, and you’ll be able to reinstate all of your chat history and contacts after you log into iCloud on a different mobile device.
That’s it! I hope one of the methods above worked for you. If not, do not fret – there are alternative (but less straight forward) ways to backup your data, including several that require reading the Chinese language. If none of the above worked for you, send me a message and I’ll help recommend an alternative solution.