WhatsApp’s options only allow you to export a backup of your chats to Google Drive. This is the transparent part for the user, but it does not mean that the information from the conversations will disappear from our phone. In fact, WhatsApp saves a number of files as local backup in case the cloud sync fails, keeping the newest and deleting the oldest.
To get to the location of the local files saved by WhatsApp, we must first open a file manager. In our example we will use Google Files.
We open the application and scroll down until we see the Internal Storage section that we must click on:
Internal storage in files
On the next screen we click on the WhatsApp folder
WhatsApp folders in files
In this folder we click on Backups:
Backup folder on WhatsApp
We get to the encrypted files of our conversations (even the custom wallpaper backup is stored here if you use one):
Backup of the chats
Well, even if you’ve made it this far, you won’t be able to access your conversations through these files. They have been encrypted using the WhatsApp logs and the only way to decrypt and read them is to use them within the full app. It’s a bit like the Google Drive backup, which is stored in a part of our cloud directory that we can’t access by normal (or any other) means.
In short: we can find the files, but we can’t do anything with them afterwards. We can only restore them if we reinstall the app.