To note: Although you will lose the current conversation when switching from WhatsApp to Signal, you can export a copy of your conversations and keep it for reference when chatting with the same people. We’ve shown the steps in our guide linked above.
How to Backup and Restore Signal Conversations
Since Signal is incredibly high on the security scale, the app doesn’t back up any of your data by default. And, even when that’s the case, backups are local to your device, not Signal’s servers or cloud services like Google Drive or iCloud. These are two good things.
In this article, we’ll walk you through how to backup and restore your Signal chats on an Android device and how to manage your local backups. As always, you can use the table of contents below to jump to any relevant section.
How to Enable Signal Chat Backup in Android
As mentioned above, by default Signal keeps backups disabled on your phone. This means that if you want to back up your Signal chat to make sure you don’t lose your data, or if you’re upgrading to a new phone, you’ll need to enable backups first. Here’s how.
- Open the Signal app and tap the “profile” icon in the top left. Tap on “chats and media”.
- Scroll down and tap “chat backups”, then tap “Enable”.
- Signal will show you a passphrase in a pop-up window. Be sure to note this as you will not be able to restore your backup without the codes. Tap “enable backups” once you’ve noted the passphrase.
- Now you can tap “Create Backup” to create new backups whenever you want. It will also show you when you last created a backup on your phone.
How to Restore Signal Backup in Android
Now that you have created backups on your phone, let’s see how to restore them. There are two reasons you may want to restore a Signal backup to your phone.
Either reinstall Signal on the same phone or switch to a new smartphone entirely. In both of these cases, as long as you switch from Android to Android, you can easily restore your Signal backups. Let’s see how you can do it.
Restore to the same smartphone
If you’re restoring your Signal chat backup to the same Android phone, here’s what you should do.
- First, you need to locate the backup storage location. You can find it by going to “Settings -> chats and media -> chat backups” and seeing what name the backup folder is mentioned as. In my case it’s “/storage/emulated/0/Signal/Backups/”
- Use any file manager application and navigate to this location, then copy the file with a name like “signal-year-month-date-time.backup”. Move it to a computer or storage device to keep it safe.
- Now reinstall Signal on your phone. Give it the required permissions and Signal will automatically detect the local backup on your phone. Just press “restore backup”.
- Enter the passphrase you noted when creating the backup and press “restore”.
Restore to a new smartphone
If you’re switching to a new smartphone, here’s what you need to do.
- Copy the Signal folder from your old phone to the /Internal Storage/ directory of the new phone.
- Next, install Signal on your new phone and give it the required permissions. It will automatically detect the backup.
- Tap “restore backup”, enter your backup passphrase and tap “restore”.
Q. Can I restore the Signal backup without the passphrase?
No, the passphrase is like a key for the backup. If you forget or misplace this passphrase, you will not be able to restore the backup. Be sure to write down the passphrase somewhere before proceeding to enable backups on your phone.
Q. Can I transfer Signal chats between Android and iPhone?
Signal chats can only be transferred between Android -> Android, iPhone -> iPhone, iPhone -> iPad, etc. You cannot transfer chats between Android and iPhone.
Q. Backup signal says “saved too often” when restoring?
If Signal displays the “saved too often” error when restoring backups, wait about an hour and try restoring again.
Easily backup and restore signal conversations
This is how you can backup and restore your Signal chats on Android device. As mentioned earlier, Signal does not back up your chats to the cloud, which is great for security. Additionally, chat backups are protected with an encrypted key which ensures that your backups cannot be read by anyone unless they have access to this key. So be sure to keep the key in a safe place.
So, do you like making Signal chat backups on your phone? Let us know in the comments below. Also, if you have any problems, you can also ask your questions here and we will certainly try to help you. Also, if you’re still on the fence, check out our article on Signal vs Telegram vs WhatsApp, to see if the change is worth it or not.