If you erased all your messages either by accident or you cleared out your inbox for some space and want your texts back, you might not be able to do that on Android if you didn’t create a backup.
It’s possible to retrieve them from messaging and SMS apps and services like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, as these sync messages to the cloud. However, for some Android devices, this isn’t possible because it doesn’t include backing up text messages. The exception is Google Pixel and other Android Oreo-powered devices that have a built-in SMS backup feature.
Thankfully, though, you can back up your SMS in Android and keep them for use later, like when you want to switch to a new device and move with them. Similarly, if you factory reset your phone, all your text messages will be deleted, but with a backup, you can restore them once the device is ready to be used again.
Using Google Drive
You can store backups of your SMS using Google’s convenient backup service on Google Drive. This way you can restore all your personal data after a factory reset or when switching to a new Android device.
The drawback with this is it restricts the data to Google Drive, so over time your older data will be deleted so that you can’t restore older backups however you want.
1. Open Settings and tap Google.
2. Tap Backup.
3. Next, tap Backup now.
You will see your backups in Google Drive’s main menu and access the backup settings directly within Google Drive settings. The only thing that’s not included in this backup is MMS media. If you need this, you can get it with a Google One subscription.
Using a third-party app
If you want a different method of backing up your SMS in Android, you can use a third-party app like “SMS Backup & Restore,” which lets you save and restore your texts to your device when you want.
1. Download SMS Backup & Restore (free) from Google Play Store. Once installed, open it and tap Get Started. Give the required permissions by tapping Allow on each of them.
2. Tap Set Up a Backup. Choose what you want to back up, specifically SMS messages, and then tap Next.
3. Select a cloud storage service for storing your SMS and data, and then click Next.
4. Tap “Log In” to connect the cloud storage service you chose as your backup storage. Choose other settings like duration before automatic deletion of old messages and others, and tap Save when you’re done.
5. Select whether to back up Over Wi-Fi or While Charging and then tap Next.
6. Choose the backup interval options like daily, weekly or hourly. You can also set the exact backup time under advanced options, or set scheduled backups with notifications to alert you when the backup is complete.
7. Tap Back Up Now.
How to Restore Your SMS Messages on Another Phone
If you backed up your SMS messages using Google Drive, the updates are done every 12 to 24 hours. You can restore a message immediately after it’s deleted, but this restores an archive, so it’ll restore your entire text history.
With the SMS Backup & Restore app, follow the steps below to restore the SMS messages on another phone.
1. Open the SMS Backup & Restore app, and tap the burger menu on the top-left side of the screen (three horizontal lines).
2. Tap Restore.
3. Click on the backup location you’d like to restore from (Local backup location, Google Drive location, Dropbox location, or OneDrive location).
4. Find the backups you want to restore, and tap the sliders next to them. In this case, the Messages “back up” slider. Tap Next.
5. You’ll get a notification that you need to set the SMS Backup and Restore app as the default messaging app temporarily to restore your SMS messages. If you agree, tap OK and then tap Restore.
6. Tap Yes to begin the restoration process, and then tap close once it’s finished.
You can use the same steps to restore your old messages to another phone, as the data is stored in XML file format which can be used with any Android device.
We hope you now know how to back up SMS on Android using the two methods described here. They’re easy to use, and you can easily restore the messages on a different phone. The steps also work on most major Android device brands, so next time you accidentally delete your SMS or need to retrieve some in the future, don’t hesitate to explore and use them.