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Extract messages from WhatsApp _chat.txt export file and convert them to JSON format

whats_json #

Dart package and cli tool for extracting messages from WhatsApp _chat.txt file and convert them to JSON format

Features #

  • Supports personal and group chats, iOS and Android export formats
  • Works with attachments and locations
  • Detect system messages regardless of language
  • Process dates in multiple calendars and locales
  • Crossplatform with power of Dart

Command line tool #

Simple command line application provide interface to convert exported _chat.txt to JSON file. More

dart cli.dart -i chat.txt -o chat.json

Package #

Dart package support all the platforms including Web. Simply include latest version from pub.dev to pubspec.yaml

// read file
final stream = File("_chat.txt")
    .transform(const Utf8Decoder())
    .transform(const LineSplitter());

// get messages
List<Map<String, dynamic>> messages = await whatsGetMessages(stream);

Fields #

When messages are processed the following fields can appear in results

Name Required Value Description
type required text, image, video, audio, gif, sticker, file, location, system Message type, based on that field optional fields are present or absence
text required for Text and System messages, optional for Location and Media messages any string Plain text
author optional for System messages only, required for others any string Sender name or phone number
date when date is empty, dateString and timeString fields will appear positive int Seconds since epoch in UTC
dateString exists only when date is empty any string Original date string, stored on date and time processing failure
timeString exists only when date is empty any string Original time string, stored on date and time processing failure
uri required for Media messages any string Media filename
link required for Location messages valid https link string Google Maps or Foursquare location link
longitude optional valid longitude string Longitude value parsed from Google Maps link
latitude optional valid latitude string Latitude value parsed from Google Maps link

Date Formats and Calendars #

Library supports simple date formats like 4/25/2022, 25-04-2022, 2022.04.25 as well as localized Tuesday, 25 April 2022.

Additionally to Gregorian the Buddhist 3/18/2565 BE and Japanese Imperial 3/18/R4 calendars are supported.

Arabic right-to-left dates are also works by default ٢٧‏/٣‏/٢٠٢٢، ٩:٥٣:٥٦ م.

Message Types #

Messages are divided to Text, Image, Video, Audio, GIF, Sticker, File, Location and System

Text #

Multiline plain text messages

[3/27/22, 21:41:35] Elon Musk: Hello, Space!

processed into

    "type": "text",
    "author": "Elon Musk",
    "date": 1648417295,
    "text": "Hello, Space!"

Attachment: Image, Video, Audio, GIF, Sticker, File #

Attachments type detected based on file name first IMG-20220327-WA0001, then on file extension using mime package


[3/27/22, 21:41:55] Elon Musk: <attached: 00000001-PHOTO-2022-03-27-21-41-55.jpg>


27/03/2022, 21:41:55 - Elon Musk: IMG-20220327-WA0001.jpg (file attached)

Where attached and file attached can appear in any language. For example in Czech file attached is soubor byl přiložen.


    "type": "image",
    "author": "Elon Musk",
    "date": 1648417315, 
    "uri": "00000001-PHOTO-2022-03-27-21-41-55.jpg"

Type is lowercased - image, video, audio, gif, sticker, file.

Location #

Location message has two formats depending on which service is used, Google Maps or Foursquare.


[3/27/22, 21:56:45] Elon Musk: Location: https://maps.google.com/?q=51.5021456,-0.127397
[3/27/22, 21:46:03] Elon Musk: Pimlico Gardens (London, United Kingdom): https://foursquare.com/v/4e89af95e5fa82ad4c0aa03b


27/03/2022, 21:56:45 - Elon Musk: location: https://maps.google.com/?q=51.50214569326172,-0.12739796972656

JSON (Google Maps)

    "type": "location",
    "author": "Elon Musk",
    "date": 1648418205,
    "link": "https://maps.google.com/?q=51.5021456,-0.127397",
    "longitude": "51.5021456",
    "latitude": "-0.127397"

JSON (Foursquare)

    "type": "location",
    "author": "Elon Musk",
    "date": 1648417563,
    "link": "https://foursquare.com/v/4e89af95e5fa82ad4c0aa03b",
    "text": "Pimlico Gardens (London, United Kingdom)"

System #

All system messages translated and exported in user locale. Those translations collected from original WhatsApp localizable strings for iOS and Android, for more info check out the patterns generator.

[3/18/22, 14:56:01] Elon Musk: Messages and calls are end-to-end encrypted. No one outside of this chat, not even WhatsApp, can read or listen to them.
[1/7/23, 23:32:30] Elon Musk: Your security code with Elon changed. Tap to learn more.

processed into

    "type": "system",
    "text": "Messages and calls are end-to-end encrypted. No one outside of this chat, not even WhatsApp, can read or listen to them.",
    "author": "Elon Musk",
    "date": 1647615361
    "type": "system",
    "text": "Your security code with Elon changed. Tap to learn more.",
    "author": "Elon Musk",
    "date": 1673134350

System messages can have no author field (mostly in group chats).

Chat Export #

Follow official chat export intructions for iOS and Android.

Current implementation supports most of formats from official WhatsApp applications released before Jan 1 2023 and will be updated for future versions.


  • Improve perfomance. Unicode regex matching takes a lot of time. Usually 100 chats proceed in 2 minutes
  • Collect more data and create more tests (chat, chat with media and group chat for every language)
  • Config - allow to set less locales, date and time formats, optionally disable date processing

Why #

There is a lot of packages on Github which parse WhatsApp _chat.txt files but many of them are too simple and do not cover every edge case. The good one is whatsapp-chat-parser while it still do not divide messages by attachment types, do not detects text system messages and is written in Node.js, which doesn't suit my needs.

More info #

Size - Source code is about 100KB uncompressed, while the patterns.dart is ~75KB due to all unicode characters from every translations

Research - Collected _chat.txt files are splitted to five categories - ios, android, languages, calendars and all chats combined. chats_unique directory contained more that 400 unique chats, most of them were collected on Github using search api. The files from Github are markered by file name which combines github username, repository and full file path separated by space

License #

This project is free for personal use. This package was developed for commercial application and it's not allowed to use to compete with it, contact me at starkdev@icloud.com for business use cases.

pub points


verified publisherstarkdev.org

Extract messages from WhatsApp _chat.txt export file and convert them to JSON format

Repository (GitHub)
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API reference




intl, mime


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