How to Import WhatsApp Chat History into Signal?

Image by Mobile App Daily (2021)

1. Backup your WhatsApp messages on your phone

2. Transfer the .db backup file to your computer

The backup file should be found under Internal Storage/WhatsApp/Databases as .db.crypt## where ## refers to the numeric identifier of the encryption used. If your phone is rooted, you can directly get a copy of the “key” file as well from /data/data/com.whatsapp/files/key.

3. Use WhatsDump to decrypt the backup file

If your phone is rooted, and you were able to get the key file in the step above, you can use WhatsApp Viewer instead of WhatsDump. With either tool, you should be able to get the decrypted database file with .db extension only. Depending on your Windows settings, you might not be able to see file extensions. You can also use WhatsApp Key Database Extractor, but its installation is a bit more involved.

4. Install Docker on your computer.

5. Download the source code for the modified Signal app.

The author of the version modified the Signal source code to include a WhatsApp import feature out of personal need.

6. Extract the .zip you have just downloaded and use your command line tool of choice to navigate to the /reproducible-builds/ folder inside it

7. Build the docker image using the following command

docker build -t signal-android .

8. Go back to the parent folder you extracted

This is typically done using cd ..

9. Compile the source code into an apk using the following command:

docker run --rm -v $(pwd):/project -w /project signal-android ./gradlew clean assemblePlayProdRelease

10. Transfer the decrypted .db file and the .apk file you just created to your phone

You would have to place .db file in the main folder on your phone Internal Storage for step (12) to work

11. Install the Signal app on your Android from the .apk you just transferred

Android would likely warn you. Don’t worry, you compiled the app yourself, and you have the source code at hand to check if you were paranoid. You would have to enable installation form unknown sources if you haven’t previously.

12. After you set up Singal, go to Backup -> Import WhatsApp inside the app

This might take a while depending on your message history. Group chats would only be imported into Signal groups with the same name.

13. Once the import is done, make an encrypted backup of your Signal chat history

This is important as Signal does not backup your messages to its server or otherwise. The backup you create after you import your WhatsApp chat history would include your WhatsApp chat history.

14. Install the official Signal app from the Play Store now and restore the backup you have just created

15. You’re done. Enjoy your privacy!

As the developer behind the chat history migration tool mentions, he created it for personal use and might not maintain it. Hurry up and use it while it is still supported. It is best to perform the migration before you have used Signal app. If you have already started chatting on Signal, make sure to backup your chat history before trying to import your messages from WhatsApp. With the option to use signal for your SMS also, this would soon become the only casual messaging app you need.

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Wael Itani

Wael Itani

I am an engineer based in Beirut. I write on multiscale, and I write with metaphors.