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How to Back Up Text Messages & iMessages on iPhone and Transfer to a New iPhone

Lucas Seltzer Updated on Apr 15, 2022 3:51 PM

Backup iPhone SMS texts to transfer them to a new phone? You may be interested in iTransfer and Phone Transfer.

Nobody likes to hear the words "I told you so," especially when they're busy trying to recover deleted texts on iPhone. If you are unfortunate enough not to have a backup routine to back up the iPhone text messages then we suggest beginning one immediately. You could save SMS and iMessages from iOS to a PC or Mac, keep all your messages in iCloud, or transfer text messages to a new iPhone. It's wise to use as least two techniques to keep your messages history safe.

One Tip: Syncing text messages on iPhone to Gmail is also a great option of backing up the messages, photos, or conversations over the server.

Back Up Text Messages on iPhone to iCloud

If you're looking for a free solution preferably, then this option should do you a favor. The official way to back up text messages on iPhone is with Apple's Messages in iCloud service, which is introduced in iOS 11.4. Once it's turned on, the phone itself will perform automatic backups over Wi-Fi, and keep SMS texts and iMessages (photos and attachments) in sync across all your Apple devices. There's no way to see whether or not the messages have actually been backed up on iCloud.com, but you can access and view the entire messages history on the device anywhere using the same Apple ID.

To implement Messages in iCloud feature to sync iPhone messages (even the years-worth of SMS & iMessages), follow these steps. Before you begin, update your iPhone to latest iOS and make sure it's connected to Wi-Fi.

  • Go to Settings.
  • Tap [your name]
  • Tap on iCloud and turn on Messages.

View Text Messages on iCloud

Whenever you turn off Messages in iCloud on the iPhone, your messages will be included in a separate iCloud backup, which is made through Settings > [your name] > iCloud > iCloud Backup. See more information in Keep all your messages in iCloud - Apple Support.

Saving Texts to Computer from iPhone

Apple iCloud service is great but 5GB of free storage just covers the basics. If your storage isn't enough, you may also want to back up text messages from iphone to computer locally. We're going to cover a few software programs to suit your messages backup needs. The easier and safer it is to back up the messages and attachments, the better.

Option 1: Using iTunes or Finder

Apple's own iTunes backup option can come in handy for backing up text messages from iphone to computer for free. Although this is not a lightweight or flexible solution—there's no setting you could select to back up the messages you've sent or received, but the entire device data—it works for you. Similar to iCloud backup, Apple won't let you read the iTunes backup for the text messages, unless you erase the device and do a complete restore.

  • Open iTunes and connect iPhone to your Mac or PC.
  • Click the iPhone icon on the top left corner of the iTunes window.
  • Choose Summary on the sidebar.
  • Select "This computer" and click Back Up Now.

To find the iTunes backup that contains iMessages and SMS text messages, go to \Users\(username)\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup\. You can extract the text messages in a readable format by investing a third-party tool.

Why Won't My Text Messages Back Up

Important! If you need to save SMS, MMS, and iMessages from the iPhone to the Mac with macOS Catalina 10.15 or later, use Finder instead. The backup process should be almost identical for that's via iTunes.

Option 2: Back Up to PC or Mac without iTunes

So you want to back up just the text messages on iPhone? iOS Data Backup & Restore brings in exciting features, one of the most noteworthy of which is the selective backup function. It gives users the ability to choose anything related to what gets backed up onto the computer and what does not get backed up, as soon as the quick scan is done.

We conduct the iPhone messages backup process on a Windows PC in four simple steps. Before you can start using iOS Data Backup & Restore software, you should first click "for Windows" under the green Download Now button to get it on the desktop. The process of backing up iPhone messages to a Mac without iTunes works the same way.

Download Now!

for Windows | for MacOS

Step 1: Fire up the SMS backup tool

Launch the software, and click on "More tools" option on the left menu of the interface.

Tip: The "Recover from iTunes Backup File" function will restore only text messages back onto your iPhone.

Then choose "iOS Data Backup & Restore" tab.

You will get into a window like screenshot below. Click "iOS Data Backup" to move on.

Saving and Exporting iPhone Text Messages to Computer

Step 2: Connect your iPhone to computer

Next, connect iPhone device to the computer with a USB cable. Followed by Start button.

Step 3: Select "Text Messages" to include in the backup

In the next window that opens, pick "Messages & Attachment" option to save an unlimited number of SMS and iMessages. If you need to back up WhatsApp on iPhone, check the option for "WhatsApp & Attachments" as well.

Step 4: Back Up text messages from iPhone to PC (or Mac)

Hit the Next button. The application will start backing up SMS texts, iMessages and attachments from iPhone to the computer in a few minutes. Wait patiently!

View Messages Contained in the Backup File and Restore

Now that you've got an iPhone backup with text messages, you can find the backup file and view all the messages history. Using the iOS Data Restore function should you export and back up the messages to the computer in HTML and CSV readable formats. Best of all, you can determine which piece of message is restored.

Also Reading: How to Back Up iPhone 11 Pro without iTunes or Finder

Transfer Text Messages to a New iPhone

If you get you paws on the latest release of iPhone or you're ready to set up your new iPhone, you will want all SMS/MMS texts and iMessages on your old iPhone transferred so you have a same view on the new device. Fortunately, if you already have an iCloud backup or iTunes backup, you're probably in the clear. Unless, of course, you can put back the texts onto the device.

When setting up the new iPhone, choose Restore from iCloud Backup or Restore from Mac or PC, and the new phone should start downloading the data, including the messages to the Messages app. This article covers the detailed setup instructions.

In case you've already set up the new device, you'll need to erase it before you can restore text messages from the previous backup. You don't have to do that if you're concerned more about the data, and thankfully, with Phone Transfer utility, you're able to transfer older texts to the new iPhone. It's a one-click solution making data transfer process between two devices a breeze. It can also act as an iTunes alternative to back up iPhone SMS to Mac or PC.

Download Now!

for Windows | for MacOS

  • Open Phone Transfer.
  • Click Phone to Phone Transfer.
  • Connect two iPhones to the computer.
  • Check "Text Messages".
  • Click Start Copy.

When it's finished, your new iPhone will show the same text messages as they're on the old iPhone. You can view your text and iMessages in the Messages app.

Also reading: How to copy music from iPhone to Mac

The Bottom Line

These are the practical solutions to back up SMS texts and iMessages on iPhone in order to keep all conversations. It's crucial to do the backup on a regular basis to keep your important files safe. That effort will be well worth it the moment that the iOS upgrade fails, or you suffer a data loss.

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