How To: Backup your SMS messages

So you’re getting a new phone, or perhaps you need to do a factory reset on your old one. Or perhaps you’re concerned your phone is not going to last. Here’s a simple way to backup your SMS messages and call logs. At present, Android doesn’t have a good, built-in tool to do this.

Go to the play store and look for an app called SMS Backup and Restore. There is a free and a paid version of the program. Our disclaimer: use this program at your own risk. We’re not affiliated with the folks that make SMS Backup and Restore. Our experiences with this software may be different than your own.

Launch the program by tapping “Get Started”. You’ll need to grant the program some permissions on the phone so it can do it’s job.

You’ll get to a screen indicating you’ve not set up a backup yet. Press “Set up a backup”.

On the next screen it’ll ask you what you’d like to backup. Just choose everything and press next.

Next it’ll ask you where you wish to store the backup. You can pick many of the cloud providers, or you can create a local backup on the phone. If you choose to do this, don’t worry you can always transfer this backup to another storage location when done. The software will complain that a local backup isn’t ideal – and that’s correct. You always want to make a backup and store it on a separate device because backups have to be accessible to restore from.

However, we’ll choose local backup location in this example because we intend to place it on a separate storage device that is not in the list. I like to pick “Your own folder” on the next screen so I can keep track of where the files are. On the next screen choose the folder you want to place the backups in. Hint: its always a good idea to choose the SD card if you phone has one. SD cards often have more free space and also in a pinch they can be removed and read by any PC. When done it’ll take you back to the main program. Hit OK to move on to the next screen.

This part is all about scheduling your backup. How often do you want this backup to happen? This will be different for everyone and it’s based on how important your data is to you. I choose weekly. Once done hit the ‘backup now’ button and your SMS/MMS messages will start to backup!

Press “View Details” when the backup is completed to see the contents of the backup. If you press the 3 dots icon in the top right and choose “send file”, it’ll take you to another screen that will allow you to send the file using email, your file browser, Android Beam etc. This is a simple, quick way to take a copy of each file and place it on a different storage device.

You now have a fresh backup of your SMS messages and call logs and your phone is set up to update this backup weekly. Just remember to periodically transfer those messages to another storage device or email them to yourself. (HINT: You can also set this up to automatically email you the backups in the settings menu).

Check out more of our How-To’s for additional great tips like this one.

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