FAQs – SMS Backup & Restore
Advanced messages (or Enhanced messaging) use a new messaging technology called RCS. RCS messages are currently not supported by our app, and the reason is that these messages are not stored in the SMS/MMS database we have access to. Instead, these messages are stored in a database that’s not accessible to us, at least not yet (or any third party apps). We don’t know yet when our app will support this because RCS is still under development and the companies behind RCS have not yet released an API for developers to access these messages. This is one of our top priorities and we are following the development of RCS closely. Please visit https://jibe.google.com for more information about RCS.
You can check if you are using RCS in your messaging app by long pressing on a message (that was not backed up) and select Show Details, if it says “Advanced Message” or “Chat” then this is an advanced message (called RCS), it’s not an SMS or MMS message. At this stage, SMS Backup & Restore does not have access to RCS messages. If that is the case and you are not using any features offered by Advanced/Enhanced messaging, then you can disable it from your messaging app settings.
This only affects outgoing/sent messages and incoming/received messages still get backed up correctly. Any messages sent after changing the setting will then get backed up by the app.
We’ve created an in-depth list of how to transfer messages from different phones and devices.
On some phones, a factory reset can delete everything on the phone’s memory and storage area, including SD Cards. To make sure that you don’t lose the messages / calls on the phone, do the following:
Before Factory Reset:
Make sure that a copy of the backup is stored outside the phone. There are a few different ways to do that:
- Configure the app to upload the backup to Dropbox, Google Drive or Email and then create a new backup. Confirm that the backup XML file gets uploaded to the cloud account or arrives in the email.
- Copy the backup file to a computer manually and confirm that the size of the file on the computer is the same as what the app shows
- Manually email the backup to yourself. To do so, from the main screen of the app, tap on Menu > View backups, select the Local tab and then tap on the 3-dots menu on top right and then select Send File.
After Factory Reset:
- Install the app again
- If you uploaded the backup to a cloud account,
- Tap the Restore button
- Select the cloud account type on the screen and log in to the correct account
- The app will select the latest backup file on the cloud account, follow the on-screen instructions from there.
- If you copied the files to a computer,
- Copy/download the backup file created before the reset back to the phone
- Change the Backup Folder setting to the folder in which the backup file exists
- If you sent the file to email,
- Open your email client on the phone,
- Download the backup file from the email client
- Tap on the downloaded file and the phone should ask you to select an app to open the file with, select SMS Backup and Restore and then follow the on-screen instructions to restore.
This app can only restore deleted messages that were previously backed up by it. You also need to have the backup file with you as these do not get sent to the developer. When the app creates backup files they get stored locally or in your own chosen cloud account.
We have decided to make the app ad-supported so that we can continue to develop and support the app and its users. The app displays a non-intrusive banner ad at the the bottom of the main screen. If you do not wish to see the ads in the app, you can remove them by opening the settings and then turning on the option to “Remove ads”. After that, restart the app and it will not display ads any more.
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- If you get an Error during SMS Restore, please try restarting the phone and restore again. Sometimes the internal database for the messages gets corrupted and is fixed upon restarting the phone.
- Some logs suggest an antivirus app interfering with the restore. Uninstalling/Disabling the antivirus app fixes the restore issue.
- Please send us the logs as soon as you get the error, otherwise the logs will not contain the information needed.
If you’re getting an error, then we will need to have a look at the logs to figure out the issue and either make a fix in the app, or determine if there’s something wrong with the phone. This app has a built-in option to Send Logs in case of errors. This option normally appears when the app encounters an error, and allows you to send us an email containing details of the app’s activity and the error it encountered. You can also find the option by going to Main menu > Send Log.
Currently, the only way to reset the password is to uninstall and re-install the app.
This will not remove your backups, however you will need to set up the app preferences again.
- All messaging apps that use telephone carrier based SMS & MMS Messages.
- Our app does NOT support anything that has its own messaging platform (WhatsApp, Skype, WeChat, Lyne, etc.) as they do not use SMS/MMS.
- SMS Backup & Restore backs up SMS/MMS messages and call logs on Android phones so that they can be restored or transferred later.
Note: MMS messages include messages with pictures/music/videos AND usually group messages.
Draft messages get backed up and restored.
- The app always creates a local backup on your phone, and has options for you to upload backups to the cloud, which is essential if you ever lose your phone.
- You can create backups on-demand, or schedule automatically recurring backups.
- You can view and search your backups directly from the app.
- You can delete all messages and/or calls from your phone to free up space. Of course, we highly recommend you have backups of them before you delete them.
There are multiple reasons why all your messages may not be getting backed up:
- If the messages are very long or if they contain multimedia images or photos or if they are Group messages then you need to enable backup of MMS messages. To do this go to the app Menu > Settings > Backup Settings > Turn on MMS.
- If the backups are missing only sent messages then check if you are using Advanced Messaging /Enhanced Messaging for sending messages. You can check this in your messaging app by long holding on a message (that was not backed up) and select Show Details, if it says “Advanced Message” or “Chat” then this is an advanced message (called RCS), it’s not an SMS or MMS message. At this stage, SMS Backup & Restore does not have access to RCS messages. If that is the case and you are not using any features offered by Advanced/Enhanced messaging, then you can disable it from your messaging app settings. Any messages sent after changing the setting will then get backed up by the app.
You can use the View backups feature of the app to see messages in the backup files. You can also check How to view or edit SMS and Call Logs backup file on a computer.
Note: Backing up emoji & special characters as part of MMS backup may result in the backup file becoming unreadable outside of our app. If you have trouble with a file with emoji, try doing another backup without them.
“Archive Mode” is this app’s way of incrementally adding new messages to an existing backup file and can be enabled from the preferences. Here’s how it works:
- Whenever the app successfully backs up one or more messages, it stores the latest message’s Numeric ID and Timestamp to be used later.
- The next time the app runs, it only requests messages that have a larger ID or a later Timestamp than the stored values.
- When the app finds any messages that satisfy the above criteria, it starts copying the existing backup file’s records into a new temporary file (displays “Processing existing backup file…” in the progress dialog).
- Once it has copied all the contents of the existing backup, it then adds the new records to this new file.
- If backup verification is enabled, it then verifies this new file to make sure that the backup file is readable.
- It renames the existing (older) backup file to another temporary name.
- It renames the newly created backup file to the name specified in the “Archive Filename” preference.
- It deletes the older backup file.
This works fine in most cases, but there are a few cases in which it may not work properly:
- Android reassigns the Numeric ID if the message with the largest ID is deleted and a new message is received after that.
- A message is received with an older Timestamp than the Timestamp stored by the app.
Since the app uses both these things to check for new messages, it will work fine if only one of the above conditions are true. However, if for some reason both these conditions are true (e.g. you deleted the latest message and then received a new message with an older timestamp), then the app will not be able to figure out if there is a new message that it should back up.
If you delete messages often, and do not care about whether those deleted messages are backed up or are missing when using the “Archive Mode,” then we suggest you do not use it. You can use the normal backup, and if you use Scheduled Backups then it can (optionally) automatically delete older backup files so you don’t end up with lots of backup files with similar content in them.
- The date is backed up in the same format as it’s stored on the phone; it’s the Java date representation (including millisecond) of the time when the message was sent/received in UTC.
- Check out www.epochconverter.com for information on how to do the conversion from other languages to Java.
- Please note that the site does not include milliseconds in the date it generates when converting human readable date to java/epoch date. To add milliseconds, add 000 at the end of the number generated by the site.
Backups are stored in XML format.
- You can View and Search the backup files directly from the app from the main screen.
- When Restoring or Viewing your backup(s), you have the option to Use System Browser to look for backups on phones with Android v4.4 or later.
- To access the backup files on a computer, you can either send them using the Send backup file menu option, or by mounting the SD Card to a computer and then browsing to the SMSBackupRestore folder. Backup files uploaded to the cloud are browsable via the app, and accessible via the cloud provider directly.
By default, the backup is stored in the “SMSBackupRestore” folder of the first/default SD Card of the phone (/sdcard/SMSBackupRestore). The app confirms the default backup location when the first backup is created. There is an option in the preferences to change this folder.
Yes, you can enable scheduled backups which automatically back up your messages and/or calls at specified intervals. This setting can be found in Preferences, and also when you create a backup.
When you already have existing messages or calls on your phone and perform a restore, the app does not replace these records and the records from the backup file will be merged. Any duplicates will be ignored.
Errors with Backup
When Scheduled Backups are enabled, the app displays a notification after each successful backup with information about how many messages / calls were backed up and failed.
If you are not getting this notification, then the scheduled backups are not working. Here are some potential reasons:
- If you are using a Samsung phone check if you have any power saving restrictions on the app being applied by the phone. To check, open the Battery screen from Phone Settings and see if it shows anything like the screenshot attached. If so, tap on the Details button at the bottom and then look for SMS Backup & Restore in the list and disable power saving for it.
- If you are using a HUAWEI Phone: If scheduled backups are not working on Huawei phones change settings as follows: Settings> Apps> SMS BACKUP & RESTORE> Battery> Keep running after screen off.
- This app can be installed on the SD Card on phones which support it. If the app is installed on the SD Card, then it is not able to start the scheduler when the phone reboots. If you want to use Scheduled backups, please do not install the app on the SD card.
- Whenever an app is updated, Android removes all its scheduled events and the schedules can only be set again by the app when it is opened. Each time you update the app, make sure you open it at least once after the update to enable the schedule.
- Some other “Task Manager” or “Task Killer” app is killing this app, thus making the backup impossible. This is especially a problem if the other app is set to “Auto Cancel” or “Auto Kill” every hour or so. If this is the case, make sure “SMS Backup & Restore” is excluded from the apps which are auto killed.
I am getting an error like “No write access to file://sdcard/smsbackuprestore/(nameoffile).xml” during backup. What’s going on?
The app is not able to create the backup file. Possible reasons are:
- SD card is not available
- SD card is corrupted, or is out of space
Errors with Restore
There could be a couple of reasons for this:
I’ve moved my SD card from an older phone to a new phone.
More phones now come with built-in (internal) storage, and shows the internal storage as the SD card to the app. Therefore, when the app looks for the backup files, it is directed to look at the internal SD card and not the external SD card. You can try one of the following:
- Change the Backup folder in the app to point to the external storage card:
- The app has built-in options to browse and select external storage cards. Open the Preferences screen (Menu > Preference)
- Click on the “Backup Folder” preference
- The app will list the storage cards that it has detected on the phone.
- Select “External Storage,” if it’s listed. The path in the text box will change to the detected storage card path
- Tap the “Browse…” button
- Locate the existing “SMSBackupRestore” folder on the SD Card. For example:
- Samsung Vibrant/Galaxy S phones: “/sdcard/sd/SMSBackupRestore/”
- Samsung Galaxy S II phones: “/sdcard/external_sd/SMSBackupRestore/”
- Some other phones (Motorola Droid/X/3/Bionic): “/sdcard-ext/SMSBackupRestore/”
- Select the folder
- Close the preferences
- Perform the Restore
- Copy the “SMSBackupRestore” folder from the external SD card to the internal storage, and then restore from there:
- Create a new backup on the new phone, this will make sure that the required folder is created. You can name the file so that it’s easily identifiable later
- Connect the phone to a computer and mount the storage so that it’s accessible on the computer
- Locate the “SMSBackupRestore” folder on the phone’s storage and copy the old backup file to that folder
- Unmount the storage from the computer
- Perform the Restore and select the file copied in the earlier step
A factory reset was performed on my phone.
Depending on the make/model of the phone, a factory reset can delete everything on the phone’s memory and storage area, including SD Cards.In cases like these the backup file may actually be deleted from the phone and hence the app is not able to find it.
Before attempting a factory reset, always make sure that a copy of the backup is stored outside the phone. If the app cannot find the backup files, then you can try searching for them by connecting your phone to a computer and searching for *.xml files on the storage card of the phone.
There are a few things that can cause this:
- Not all messages were backed up.
- Some messages, including group messages, are MMS, and they did not get backed up, and hence cannot be restored with this app. There is a setting to enable / disable this to your liking.
- You can view the backup file and see if it has all the messages in it. Check “How to view or edit SMS and Call Logs backup file on a computer”
- The restore process did not finish completely. When the restore completes, it shows the number of messages it restored.
- Newer versions of Android have a setting for specifying how many messages they will store (defaults to 200) per conversation and any message older than that gets deleted automatically. If you have lots of messages, then make sure the setting is either disabled or has a higher number set.
After restoring, my SMS messages are now in the wrong order, have incorrect times, or are duplicated. Why?
There could be a couple of reasons for this:
- Using Handcent Messaging AppHandcent appears to display messages in the order they are added instead of the date of the message, so if you restore messages after you have existing messages in Handcent, they may appear in the wrong order.
A workaround is to create a new backup, and then delete all the messages from Handcent. A restore after this action should result in the correct ordering of messages as well as clearing up duplicates.
- Motorola Phone Use There are two variants of this problem:
- All the restored messages get the time of restore. These phones basically do not accept the time stamp supplied when restoring; they store the supplied time stamp internally but use the time of restore to display to the user. This problem was fixed in v4.4 of the app. If you are still having this problem, please make sure you are running the latest version of the app then delete your messages and restore again. If you are still experiencing this problem then please let us know by clicking the “Send Feedback” button in the footer below.
- The sent messages get the correct time, but the received messages are off by a few hours. This is also the result of messages getting grouped incorrectly in conversations, with a lot of sent messages appearing together and then a lot of received ones appearing later.This problem is caused by the phone either not storing the correct time zone information, or by adjusting the time zone when displaying to the user. The app has an option to adjust the time zone in the time stamps when viewing or restoring messages.
Open the preferences screen and then check the appropriate boxes under the “ADJUST TIME ZONE” section. You’ll need to delete your existing messages from the phone and perform a Restore again.
Sometimes this problem also occurs if you have an app like “SMS Time Fix” that adjusts the time stamp on messages after they arrive. If this is the case, please disable the other app to confirm whether or not the issue is still occurring.
After restoring, your phone may require a restart for your Messaging app to show them properly.
I just restored a few thousand text messages and now every time I open the messaging app it freezes and nothing appears. What do I do now?
- There is a default setting in the Messaging app that deletes older messages from conversations that have more than 200 messages.
- When thousands of messages are restored, this setting can cause a lot of problems because it keeps trying to delete messages when you try to open the conversation. If you are restoring lots of messages, please disable this setting by opening the Preferences of the Messaging app.
- Some phones can take a lot of time to index and process newly created messages, especially if there are thousands of them. If you get a blank screen, or if the phone asks you to “Force Close” or “Wait,” just press “Wait” and leave the Messaging app running. Eventually it will finish processing and start working normally.
Read how to fix this here
The app has the option to automatically create backups on a schedule. To create the schedule, it needs to check and apply the settings each time the phone restarts.
This is standard for Android phones; the app will not slow your phone down by constantly running in the background.
Although the app has an option to delete all the messages or call logs on the phone, the only time it does so is when someone presses that button and then also confirms in the dialog to delete.
If you have not done this, then the deletion of messages or call logs is not because of this app. This is also a known problem with some Android phones.