How To Back-up and Restore Messages on Android


From your call history to text messages, Google’s backup feature can sync pretty much everything on your Android device. However, someday you may have to reset your phone or switch to a new one, and you don’t want to lose all your texts.
Fortunately, there are manual backup and restoration options available for texts, and this guide has everything you need to know about them.

How to auto-backup messages to Google Drive

Google lets Android users manually back up text messages and other stuff on Google Drive, then give them the option to restore the backups of personal data when switching to a new device.
However, the only con of having your backups on Google Drive is that the older backups will be deleted after a certain period. If that happens, you won’t be able to restore an older backup on your Android device when needed.

  1. First, go to Settings from the app drawer or the notification shade.
  2. Now scroll past the other options and tap Google in the settings.
  3. On the next page, select Backup under the Services row.
  4. Tap the ‘Back up now’ button in the following Backup menu.

The new backup should show up in the root folder of your Google Drive. You can also access the Backup options from the Drive’s settings menu.
It’s worth mentioning that MMS media files won’t be backed up unless you have a Google One subscription. Furthermore, Google One gives you extra Drive storage so you can store more backups.

An alternate way to auto-backup messages

It’s needless to say that Google’s backup service is amazing, but you should try out the SMS Backup & Restore app. It lets you back up texts in XML format and store them to a cloud service. It’s available for free on the Play Store.

  1. First, go to the Play Store on your Android device and tap the search bar.
  2. Search for the “SMS Backup & Restore” app, then select the top result. Note that there are clones of the same app, so make sure to choose the one with the following developer’s name: Synctech Pty Ltd.
  3. Tap the Install button and wait for the app to get installed. After that, tap Open to launch the app.
  4. In the following app window, tap the Get Started button and Allow all the required permissions.
  5. Now select Set up a backup and make sure that the slider next to Messages is toggled on. You can also enable backup for Phone calls or go to Advanced Options to select particular messages for the backup.
  6. Once you tap Next, choose your preferred cloud service* (Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive) and log in to your associated account.
  7. After you successfully link your selected cloud service account, tap Save.
  8. The next page will ask you whether you want to back up your texts Over Wi-Fi or While Charging. Tap Next after your select your preference.
  9. Finally, set the backup frequency or schedule backups to run at a particular time, then tap the Back up now option.

*Note that you can choose to save your text backups locally as well. However, it will be stored in your device’s internal storage, so you will have to transfer them manually to an external storage device for safekeeping.

Restoring messages with SMS Backup & Restore

Now that you have your text messages backed up, here’s how you can restore them on your existing device or a new one.

  1. Launch the SMS Backup & Restore app from your app drawer.
  2. Tap the three-lined burger icon on the top-left corner to bring up the sidebar, then select Restore from the options.
  3. Now check the box next to Messages and tap Restore. The most recent backup will start downloading from your cloud service and get restored in minutes or so.
  4. If you have multiple backups, tap the arrow next to the SMS messages backups option and choose the backup you wish to restore.

And that’s pretty much it! If you previously backed up your call log, you will be able to restore it from the app as well. Since the backup is basically an XML file, you can possibly restore it from other backup apps as well.
If you want to switch to a new Android device without losing data, make sure to check out this guide. It contains step-by-step instructions to back up your old Android device and restore the data to a new one.
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