Smartphones are small, easy to misplace, easy to drop and shatter. All of those pictures, videos and messages from loved ones — what happens to them when your phone is lost, stolen or breaks?
You may have “locked” one or more messages to keep them from accidentally getting deleted, but that’s not the same as having a backup.
I’m pretty thorough when it comes to backups — even text messages. It’s free, it’s easy and I never worry about losing memories, pictures, recipes or any important messages. I don’t have to “star” or “lock” any text messages for saving because they’re all backed up to the cloud automatically.
I’m going to show you how to backup contacts and text messages on Android in this article. I’ve used both Android and iPhone devices and several different methods to backup my data. I use SMSBackup+ on Android to backup my messages to Gmail, and I’ll show you how to do the same here. I’ll also touch on some of the other apps available in the Play Store, in case you’d rather have your backups on an SD card or another cloud solution.
I’ll briefly cover exporting messages yourself, in case you want to learn how to backup text messages on Android without an app. It’s possible, but depends on the user’s phone and version of Android — some versions do not allow users to import/export messages to an SD card.
How to Backup Text Messages on Android Without an App
Since some users may not want to install an app, I’ll show you how to backup text messages on Android to an SD card. Ideally, you would do this twice, storing one SD card in a safe place in case you lose the other.
This process will be tedious if you’re backing up more than a few messages. You’ll have to open the message you want to backup and tap the “options” or “menu” button on your screen. Look for an option that says “save” or “export” and select your SD card.
Again, you’ll have to repeat this for each message you want to save. Save yourself the time by installing and using one of the apps mentioned here. I’ll show you how to backup text messages on Android to a computer or SD card as well as the cloud.
What You’ll Need
You’ll need access to one of the apps below:
All of these apps are available in the Google Play Store. If for some reason you can’t access the store, SMSBackup+ provides a QR code you can scan to install the app.
You’ll also need a location to store your new backups, such as an SD card, a computer/laptop or cloud storage, including Gmail.
I use SMSBackup+ and Gmail, but you can use whatever you prefer — in this article you’ll learn how to backup text messages on Android to a Mac, PC, or SD card. You can also use a different email provider, as long as they support IMAP.
The main benefit of the cloud is that I can access my messages from any device, and I don’t have to carry an SD card or flash drive around with me. It’s a good idea to keep a local, offline copy, but cloud backups have been a godsend in my experience.
How to Backup Text Messages on an Android Phone
Once you’ve settled on an app and a location to store your data, you’re ready to begin backing up your messages. I focus on SMSBackup+ here but afterwards I’ll touch on two of the other apps I mentioned earlier.
Step 1. Enable IMAP in your Gmail settings.
Step 2. Tap “connect” to login to Gmail. Newer versions of Android may present a list of your Google accounts, while older versions of Android may require you to login and grant SMSBackup+ access to your emails.
Step 3. SMSBackup+ will perform the first sync. Tap “backup” to begin the process of copying your messages to your Gmail account.
Step 4. Enable automatic backups by tapping “auto backup.” You can change the settings if you’d like, or stick to the defaults. The important thing about a good backup solution is that you never have to do anything — it should happen automatically so that you’re less likely to forget or put it off until it’s too late.
Log in to your Gmail account and look for messages with the label “SMS.” You’ll find all of your messages safely stored in your mail, and easily searchable. You change the default label from “SMS” to whatever you like from within SMSBackup+’s settings.
Restoring your messages is as easy as tapping “restore” in SMSBackup+. If you have a large amount of messages to restore, consider doing this right before bed so you don’t have to wait. Your data will restore silently as you sleep worry-free.
How to Backup Deleted Text Messages on Android
Automatic backups will allow you to import your messages to any new phone. SMSBackup+ will export a copy of every message to your Gmail account under a specific label, “SMS.”
This means if you accidentally delete a text message, you can simply open SMSBackup+ and tap “restore.” It won’t overwrite any existing messages, and you can select only certain messages to restore under “advanced settings.”
If you’re trying to recover a deleted text message without having a backup, you’re essentially out of luck. There are a few programs designed to recover deleted data, but the free versions only let a user “scan” for deleted files. It costs money to actually recover the files — this is why automatic backups are worth the five minutes it takes to set up.
Alternatives to SMSBackup+
SMS Backup & Restore is a great alternative to SMSBackup+, with nearly 90,000 reviews and 4.5/5 stars at the time of this writing. The app, created by Carbonite, creates local backups on your Android phone that can be exported to an SD card or stored safely in the cloud.
Carbonite is well-known for their cloud backup solutions. The company has a great track record when it comes to backup solutions and their Android app is as rock-solid as their desktop and server software.
If you’re already using the service (and if you read our Carbonite review, you can find out why you should), SMS Backup & Restore is a great alternative to SMSBackup+ if you want to keep local, offline copies, as well as sync to a cloud provider.
Super Backup and Restore will backup your text messages and call logs. Android enthusiasts with rooted phones are able to even backup applications, calendars and contacts to an SD card or cloud provider.
Carbonite?s SMS Backup & Restore allows you to set a schedule for running backups when it’s convenient, such as when you’re asleep, and it has an interesting feature that let’s you share an Android .apk file with a friend by simply tapping a button. This is a useful feature for some users with sideloaded apps, allowing you to share an Android app with someone instead of them having to search for it and sideload it themselves.
Even if you don’t need or want those advanced features, the app functions perfectly well as a simple solution to backing up text messages. You don’t have to be a power user and only the extra features require rooting your phone — you can install it and backup your messages to an SD card or to the cloud with a few taps.
Beyond SMS Backups
In case this article has sparked your curiosity in backing up the data on your Android phone, it’s worth mentioning there are several excellent solutions for full-device backup. You can essentially backup everything on your device, including your messages, photos and videos, and access all of it in the cloud from your other devices.
It’s beyond the scope of this article, but we’ve covered the best cloud backup solutions for Android already — and you can find more in-depth reviews of those providers on our website.
It’s easy to backup all of your SMS messages, call logs and other data. Install one of the apps I showed you today and ensure you never lose a message. Backing up SMS messages is easy on an Android device and you can even take it a step further by backing up all of your smartphone data to the cloud.
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Our phones have become an integral part of our lives. We’re constantly connected, sharing our thoughts or pictures with one another and few people seem to consider preserving those moments. Let us know in the comments below if you’re as big a fan of Android backups as we are. Thank you for reading.