Back Up and Restore Text Messages on an Android Device

Edited by Jay

Sending and receiving text messages is something pretty much every Android device owner does fairly frequently. In fact, a lot of people rarely talk on their phone because texting is quicker and sometimes more convenient. Because texting is so popular, we sometimes forget that there is valuable information contained within our conversations. This is why it's a good idea to back up your messages from time-to-time. Messaging on Android has been spotty at times over the years, and you never know when your device could be damaged, stolen, or lost. If you've ever lost your text messages, you know very well just how unpleasant it is not to have backed them up.

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In the following VisiHow tutorial, we're going to walk through the steps for backing up and restoring text messages. For this guide, we used a Google Pixel running Android Oreo, and a free app called SMS Backup & Restore.

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**Please Note**

Android Oreo allows users to back up their SMS messages via system settings. At this point, it only offers the ability to back up basic SMS, not MMS or special characters (Emoji).


Install SMS Backup & Restore

  1. 1
    On the home screen, swipe up to access your app drawer.
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  2. 2
    From your app drawer, tap the "Play Store" shortcut.
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  3. 3
    Once inside the Play Store, type "SMS backup & restore" (without the quotes) into the search box
    .
    You should land directly on the app's info page but if you don't, tap the first link when the search results populate.
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  4. 4
    Once on the app's info screen, tap the green "INSTALL" button.
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  5. 5
    When SMS Backup & Restore has finished installing, tap the green "OPEN" button, then head the next section of this tutorial.
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Back Up Text Messages on Android

  1. 1
    On the Welcome screen, tap "GET STARTED".
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  2. 2
    Next, you will be prompted to grant the app access to your contacts
    .
    Tap "ALLOW" to continue. Do the same for the remaining three permission requests.
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  3. 3
    Once you allowed all the permissions, tap the "SET UP A BACKUP" button.
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  4. 4
    On the Set Up Backup screen, select either Messages, Phones calls, or both by toggling the switch next to each
    .
    For additional backup settings, tap "ADVANCED OPTIONS".
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  5. 5
    With ADVANCED OPTIONS expanded, you can choose to backup MMS (images, videos), as well as special characters and Emoji
    .
    You can also choose to back up select conversations, or all your messages. Once you know what you want to back up, tap "NEXT".
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  6. 6
    The next screen is where you select the location you want to back up your messages to
    .
    The options are; Google Drive, Dropbox, or Your Phone. It is recommended that you use one of the cloud services. This will ensure your messages will be accessible in the event your device is lost or damaged. For our example, we opted to backup our messages on the device.
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  7. 7
    Once you've where you want your messages backed up, you can choose to enable scheduled backups
    .
    For additional scheduling settings, tap "ADVANCED OPTIONS". When you're happy with your scheduling options, tap "BACK UP NOW".
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  8. 8
    When the backup process is finished, you'll see a message that says; "Backup complete". To restore your messages, head to the next section of this guide.
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Restore Text Messages on Android

  1. 1
    Open SMS Backup & Restore from either your home screen or app tray.
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  • 2
    From the main screen, tap the hamburger menu in the upper left corner, then tap "Restore".
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  • 3
    On the Restore Backup screen, select the location you wish to restore your messages from
    .
    For our example, we selected "LOCAL BACKUP LOCATION".
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  • 4
    On the following screen, choose the backup you want to restore by toggling the switch next to it
    .
    For more restore settings, tap "ADVANCED OPTIONS". Once you have the correct backup and options selected, tap "RESTORE".
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  • 5
    Next, you'll be prompted with a message stating that you have to temporarily set SMS Backup & Restore as your default messaging app, to be able to restore your messages correctly
    .
    Tap "OK" to continue. Don't worry, we'll show you how to switch back to your original messaging app further down in this tutorial.
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  • 6
    When the alert box appears asking to set the app as your default messaging app, tap "YES"
    .
    Then, when the process is complete, another alert box will appear with the message; "Restore Completed". Tap "CLOSE" to continue.
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  • 7
    Once you've restored your messages, another alert box will appear reminding you that SMS Backup & Restore is currently your default messaging app, as well as a message suggesting that you restart your device. Tap "OK" twice to continue.
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  • 8
    To switch back to your original messaging app, access system settings from either your home screen or app drawer.
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  • 9
    From the main Settings screen, tap "Apps & notifications".
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  • 10
    On the Apps & notifications screen, tap either your original messaging app or SMS Backup & Restore.
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  • 11
    From the App info screen, tap "SMS app".
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  • 12
    On the Configure apps screen, tap "SMS Backup & Restore".
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  • 13
    Next, tap your original messaging app to make it the default again.
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  • If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.

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    Categories : Software | Use Google Pixel and Pixel XL

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