HOW TO BACK UP YOUR SMS BACKUP & RESTORE

Much of the world has moved on from SMS, but it's still one of the most popular methods of sending messages in the US. It's an unfortunate requirement here for many, và it still is given that it's the fallback for any RCS chats you might already have. And if you're the data-hoarding type, then you might want lớn keep those SMS messages around for later reference — either in cold storage or an easily accessed format. But even bringing them with you from device to device isn't actually that hard, và we're glad to walk you through the different ways to bởi it.

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Of course, Google's Pixels (and most other phones these days) include built-in SMS backup, as well as a tool during the setup process for migrating messages over lớn a new phone, so let's cover that first.


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Android's built-in SMS Backup


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Pixels have automatic SMS backup.

Google pixel phones have supported restoring backups since apk 8.1, allowing you lớn automatically transfer key data from your old phone khổng lồ your new phone (including SMS messages) after the initial setup. Unfortunately, it's not a manual process lượt thích the other items on this list. It's only available during the inital thiết lập or if the "Finish setting up" screen is shown at the đứng top of your settings panel later. Tap that "Finish Setup" button, & it'll perform the same restoration maneuver it typically would on initial setup, which can include restoring previously backed-up SMS messages from your devices.

The data comes courtesy of Android's automatic backups, và they're stored on Google Drive. Even though there's a Google One branding attached in some places, you don't need lớn pay a dime (unless you run out of Drive storage for other reasons, that is). You can view the backups (but not their contents) via the Google Drive or Google One game android apps, và the backup process as a whole can be manually triggered in Settings (usually Settings -> System -> Backup, but you can also just search for "Backup."). SMS backups created in this way can't be easily copied off or moved elsewhere, as with dedicated apps, và they don't include MMS media.


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Viewing the danh sách of automatic backups in Google Drive.

The built-in system is useful and automatic, but without a way khổng lồ manually trigger the restoration process or view the backed-up contents, it's of limited utility. For instance, you can't read those messages off-device, & you can't save them long-term — the backups eventually expire in Google Drive. In such cases, this automatic system might not fit your needs, but there are alternatives.

There are a lot of individual apps for backing up & restoring your SMS messages, but for the purposes of this discussion, we'll refer to lớn two well-known and high-quality không tính tiền apps we've covered in the past: SMS Backup+ & SMS Backup và Restore. They both let you back up và pull down your messages with a bit more control than the stock system, but each is suited khổng lồ a slightly different use case.



SMS label in Gmail.

If you're mostly interested in keeping your messages around somewhere (without necessarily having local access to lớn them), then SMS Backup+ is probably your best choice. The app is open source & allows you to lớn automatically back up your SMS, MMS, & call history lớn your email account, presenting your messages there in a convenient "SMS" label, laid out in the same format as e-mail conversations, accessible anywhere via phone, computer, or tablet.


SMS messages in conversation view on Gmail.

The ứng dụng is free with in-app purchases, và although there was a couple year gap in updates, it still remained functional during that time (if somewhat dated looking). While the latest update happened back in 2018, the phầm mềm is again still functional to this day, for the most part. Google killed the easy gmail API access/login for the ứng dụng ahead of said 2018 update, so the thiết lập is a bit more tedious now.


A few people have been experiencing issues with IMAP syncing in the stable version of SMS Backup+, so if you should run into these problems, be sure to lớn grab the newest beta version of the ứng dụng instead — the UI surrounding the setup process is slightly different, but you'll need to enter the same data as described here.


Enabling IMAP in Gmail.

First, some prep: You'll need to flip tin nhắn over khổng lồ allow IMAP access. The option is accessible from the Settings cog icon on the gmail website in the corner -> See all settings -> Forwarding & POP/IMAP. There, select "Enable IMAP" & click "Save Changes" at the bottom of the screen.


App passwords setting in your Google account.

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Now we're going to make an phầm mềm password for SMS Backup+. Go to lớn security.google.com and select "App passwords." You'll be prompted to sign in again.


On the next screen, there's a pair of drop-down lists for categorizing the tiện ích password you're about to make. Select "Other" from the left-most drop-down list & give this password a descriptive name like "SMS Backup+" so you know what it's for if you see it later.


The generated app password.

Google will give you a randomly generated sixteen character password. Make a note of it, but please treat this as carefully as your normal password. Don't write it on a post-it và stick it on your monitor or copy it to Google Drive/Keep. It's a password that grants access to your Google tài khoản without the security of two-factor authentication, treat it as such.


Configuring SMS Backup+ for IMAP.

Once you have your password for SMS Backup+, install the app, fire it up, & jump past the changelog & permission screens (granting their requests) lớn get lớn the main app. There, you can ignore the "Connect" switch, as that uses the old tin nhắn APIs, which are broken for the app. Instead, you'll need lớn tap "Advanced settings," and then "Custom IMAP server."


IMAP settings in SMS Backup+.

This takes you to lớn the IMAP thiết đặt process. From here, tap "Authentication," & select "Plain text," which will allow you lớn enter your own information. Most of the default settings should be okay, so there are only a few changes to lớn make, but because the settings can sometimes be wrong, we'll make sure they're all configured before we're done.


Tap "Server address" and set it khổng lồ imap.gmail.com:993 & press "OK" so that the app knows where lớn log in — though the mặc định setting should work. Then tap "Username" & enter your gmail address (i.e., someguy
gmail.com). Now tap "Password" và enter that ứng dụng password we generated before, with no spaces. Tap "OK" when you are done. Now double-check that the setting in the Security is set to lớn "TLS." It should be by default, but it's best to be sure.


Backing up messages in SMS Backup+.

Once you're done with all that, back out to the app's main screen and backups should be working, though the "Connect" section for linking to a Gmail trương mục will now be grayed out, since we're using the IMAP workaround. Tapping the "Backup" button now should trigger a backup successfully.

Should you run into any issues, double-check that you followed the steps above precisely, that IMAP is enabled in Gmail, that security for login in SMS Backup+ is set to TLS, và that the vps address (imap.gmail.com:993) is configured.


You can set the tiện ích to automatically back up messages with a configurable schedule via the "Auto backup" checkbox and associated settings. I've always found the mặc định settings, which back up incoming messages every minute & outgoing messages every two hours, to be fine. Data used by the tiện ích is pretty minimal, but if you are concerned, you can set it to only make backups on Wi-Fi. It's also able to lớn broadcast an intent at the time of backup for third-party ứng dụng integration.

To make sure the backup process keeps running smoothly in the background, exempt the tiện ích from any battery-saving measures and, on app android 12 and higher, make sure the app doesn't thất bại its permissions when you don't actively xuất hiện it for months at a time. You'll get a system notification once or if that happens, so be on the lookout for that.

The backup process for SMS Backup+ is pretty slow, especially over IMAP, but since messages really only need lớn be backed up once — and since that can be done as they come in without you even noticing — it's not much of a problem. It is much more of a concern, however, if you plan on using the system lớn migrate between devices, as the restoration process is quite time-consuming.


In fact, if that's your intention, there's another tiện ích in this guide which might suit you a bit better.