How to Read Encrypted WhatsApp Messages on Android Without Keys
by Jenefey Aaron Updated on 2023-04-10 / Update for WhatsApp Tips
One of the reasons why WhatsApp becomes one of the most popular messaging services is because of the strong security feature. It encrypts messages from end to end, so the only ones who can read those messages are the sender and the receiver - unless someone else can open either the sender’s or receiver’s phones.
But sometimes even the owner of the phone can’t access his/her phones due to technical glitches. If you can’t access your own phone, can you still read your encrypted WhatsApp messages?
- Part 1. Types of WhatsApp Message Encryptions
- Part 2. How to Decrypt WhatsApp crypt12/8 Database without Keys?
- Bonus Tip: How to Read Deleted WhatsApp Messages on Android without Root?
Part 1. Types of WhatsApp Message Encryptions
In September 2012, WhatsApp introduced end-to-end encryption as one of its security features. This step is taken to prevent session hijacking and packet analysis which often happened before.
WhatsApp uses crypt2, crypt5, crypt7, crypt8 and crypt12 form to encrypt all data. It means that hacking the database files to read all chat messages has become almost impossible.
But there are tricks that you can use to decrypt the database without key and support files. You can use this method to access your conversations.
Part 2. How to Decrypt WhatsApp crypt12/8 Database without Keys?
The trick below works on reading encrypted WhatsApp messages Android devices. Before you start, you need to do is to create a copy of your WhatsApp database to make sure that you don’t destroy the original file.
To do that, open your Android File Explorer or File Browser. Then create a new folder or the SD card. Then navigate to this location your SD card: /WhatsApp/Databases/msgstore.db.crypt. Then copy the msgstore.db.crypt files into the new folder that you’ve just created.
- Method 1. (For Rooted Devices) Decrypt WhatsApp Database crypt12 without Key on PC
- Method 2. (For Unrooted Devices) Read WhatsApp Database crypt12 without Key on PC
Method 1. (For Rooted Devices) Decrypt WhatsApp Database crypt12 without Key on PC
Whatsapp encrypts all data into .crypt5/7/8/12 format. But on a rooted Android phone, you can easily decrypt and read these encrypt messages with Whatsapp Viewer.
Find your WhatsApp message backup file i.e. msgstore.db.crypt12 from Device Storage/WhatsApp/Database.
Find your Key file which contains the decryption key to decrypt an encrypted file from /data/data/com.whatsapp/files/key.
- Connect your phone to your PC and copy the database file with name msgstore.db.cryptX. and key file to your computer.
Download and install Whatsapp Viewer on your computer. Open Whatsapp Viewer and go to file > Decrypt .crypt12.
Now you have to load your database file and key file. Click on "..." button next to database file box to import it and do the same for Key file. After that, click OK to decrypt the database file.
When you see the message "Database decrypted to file msgstore.decrypted.db", the decryption is completed. You will find a file named "msgstore.decrypted.db" in the folder where you stored the database file and key file.
Run WhatsApp viewer again and click File>Open. Click on "..." button to import your msgstore.decrypted.db file and click OK.
Now you can select the mobile number at the right panel and see the chats of it at the left panel. You can export the in the format of .txt/.html/.json if you want.
Method 2. (For Unrooted Devices) Read WhatsApp Database crypt12 without Key on PC
To decrypt the database into something that understandable for the human, we can use the help from one of the decryption apps available in the Google Play Store. The recommended app that you can use is Omni-crypt . It can easily decrypt WhatsApp Database without root. Please note that to decrypt database above crypt6 version, you would need the WhatsApp-Key-DB-Extractor to extract the encryption key.
- Connect your Android phone to a computer. Download and install Omni-crypt on your Android device.
- Download WhatsApp-Key-DB-Extractor to your computer from github.com.
Open the WhatsApp-Key-DB-Extractor folder and find the file named WhatsAppKeyDBExtract.sh. Right click on it and select Properties.
From the Permissions tab, check the box before Allow executing file as program.
After that, running WhatsAppKeyDBExtract.sh file in Terminal on Mac.
When it prompts you to unlock your device and confirm the backup operation, open your Android phone and click BACK UP MY DATA.
Waiting for WhatsAppKeyDBExtract to restore WhatsApp and once the operation completed, press Enter to quit the Terminal.
Now open Omni-crypt on your Android phone. Tap on ENABLE CRYPT 6-12 BACKUPS and then tap on DECRYPT WHATSAPP DATABASE.
Now open WhatsApp-Key-DB-Extractor folder and go to extracted folder. Here you can see ‘msgstore.db’ and ‘wa.db’ files. ‘msgstore.db’ stores all the messages along with attachments and ‘wa.db’ stores all the information related to the contacts.
- Use a utility called ‘Whatsapp Viewer’ and give the path of ‘msgstore.db’ and ‘wa.db’. You will see all the chat messages, that were extracted from the database.
Bonus Tip: How to Read Deleted WhatsApp Messages on Android without Root?
That’s all about how to read encrypted WhatsApp messages. The steps are a little complicated for ordinary users. If you are looking for a way to read deleted WhatsApp messages, Tenorshare UltData WhatsApp Recovery offers you an easy way to recover WhatsApp messages and contacts from Android without root.
After you have downloaded the software, you come to the main interface bellow. Click on Device > Android and then connect your mobile to the computer.
Then you need to authorize and usb debugging your Android phone to be correctly connected.
After the software detects your Android device, click on Start to begin the process.
To scan the WhatsApp messages, you need to let the program reinstall WhatsApp on your Android phone.
Now it's time to preview what data has been listed. Just choose what you want to recover. Finally, save the files to your computer or device successfully and take a closer look at them.
Now you have learned about how to decrypt WhatsApp database on Android phone. Even though we are not touching the original databases, there is always a possibility that our actions ruin them. It’s always better to backup your data firstly. And if you are looking for an easy way to read deleted WhatsApp messages on Android without root, Tenorshare UltData WhatsApp Recovery is highly recommended.