Backup Your Text Messages
How many text messages are stored in your phone? Which ones are important enough to keep? What if some are deleted accidentally, or you lost your phone? You never know, so it's a good idea to backup your text messages. But how? Here are some text message backup solutions for Android and iPhone smartphones...
Text Message Backup For Android Smartphones
SMS Backup+ is a free Android app that replaces the orphaned SMS Backup app. SMS Backup+ sends your SMS and MMS messages to an IMAP-enabled email account; by default, it uses Google Mail, but it can be configured to use other IMAP email accounts. On a Gmail account, your backed up texts will be stored in a label (folder) called SMS. You can search, view, forward or delete individual messages.
SMS messages can be restored to the phone, but MMS messages cannot. (Only the text portion of MMS messages can be restored). Call logs can also be backed up to Google, and restored to the phone. The app uses the XOAuth authorization scheme, so you don't have to reveal your email password. Backups can be scheduled.
I found this app to be just the ticket when my wife had to swap her Samsung Charge for another Android phone. I installed SMS Backup+ on her phone, and it dutifully backed up all her messages and the call log to Gmail. Then after activating the new phone, I installed the app there, and it downloaded all the saved texts and call log to the new phone. I then turned on the automatic backup feature of SMS Backup+ so that all future texts would be safely backed up. A nice side benefit is the ability to search your text messages on Gmail, just like regular email.
SMS Backup & Restore creates a backup file containing SMS messages in XML format. It does not support MMS messages. The file is stored on your phone's SD card, but it can be emailed to another location. You can view the contents of a backup file on the phone, and restore messages. This app can also delete all SMS messages on a phone. The free version includes ads, or you can buy an ad-free paid version.
Text Message Backup For iPhone (and other Apple iOS Devices)
When you backup your iOS device (iPhone, iPad, iPod) using iTunes, it does include your text messages (iMessage, SMS, and MMS). However, that information is stored in a location that wasn't meant to be easy to find, and in a format that wasn't meant to be human readable.
Free iPhone SMS Backup is a web service that helps you extract your text messages from the iTunes backup. It makes backup copies of SMS and MMS messages from any iPhone, and lets you download the backup file in PDF, Excel XLS, or HTML format to a Mac or PC. Note that the Excel format does not support MMS messages.
Imtoo iPhone SMS Backup can save SMS and iMessages to a text or HTML file. You can then download the backup file to your Mac or PC. The app also allows you to search messages using the Name, Number, or Message Body fields.
Note that while both of the iOS apps above do a fine job of backing up your text messages, they do not allow you to restore them. Some people have reported in forums that they've attempted to modify the text messages file extracted from iTunes, modify it, then replace it in the backup. But problems arose on the phone after restoring the modified backup. Not recommended.
The iTunes backup/restore process will restore your text messages to your iOS device, but it doesn't do any syncing or archive your old messages so they are protected from accidental deletion. For example, you do a backup of your iPhone. During the next few days, you send and receive dozens of texts. Then something happens to your iPhone and you decide to restore from the backup. All of the newer messages that were on your iPhone would be lost, because the restore over-writes everything. Conversely, let's say you've backed up your phone, then accidentally deleted some messages. Then you do another backup, and later discover that your treasured texts are gone. They won't be in the latest backup, because iTunes has dutifully saved the latest data from your phone.
Transfer Texts From iPhone to Android
Are you switching from an iPhone to an Android phone? If so, you may want to backup your iPhone text messages and restore them to the Android phone. It's not exactly easy, but it can be done.
The iPhone Backup SMS Extractor is an online service to which you can upload a copy of the SMS messages and contacts backup file created by iTunes each time you sync your iPhone to iTunes. The site will convert the iTunes file to XML format, which can be restored to an Android phone using SMS Backup & Restore app mentioned above.
Be aware of the notice at the bottom if the site's page: "Before uploading your iphone backup files to this service please consider that this service is not free of charge and that all content of those files could be (but won't) accessed by the creator of this page." I'm not sure what this German author means by "not free of charge" but there is no price mentioned on the site. I wasn't able to test it, because I don't have an iPhone. If anyone wants to try this, please let me know how it works for you.
Do you backup your mobile phone's text messages? What tools do you use? Post your comment or question below...
Posted by Bob Rankin on 13 Jul 2012
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Backup Your Text Messages (Posted: 13 Jul 2012)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved