In this article we will look at how you can easily backup your SMS/MMS text messages on your Android device to your Gmail account using SMS Backup+. Users will find this app invaluable if they have to perform a Factory Reset on their device, as Google do not currently include your SMS/MMS text messages when backing up your personal data. It is also a very good idea to do this for security purposes, as if you have your mobile phone stolen, or lose it, then at least you have an up to date record of your old messages. The app will also save any call logs that you have.
For the interest of this article I am using my Nexus 4 running Android Jelly Bean 4.3 and SMS Backup+ version 1.5.5.
Note: Users who are running KitKat 4.2.2 (Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Galaxy S4 and 5 etc) will have noticed that the restore feature wasn’t working. This is due to changes that Google made in KitKat over Jelly Bean. The developer has now created a workaround for this, and I have confirmed this as working on my non-rooted Nexus 5 running KitKat 4.2.2 It takes a few attempts, but does work. It also succesfully backup and restores SMS messages using the latest Android OS, Lollipop 5.0.
Note 2: It seems that WhatsApp changed their method of encryption a while ago and SMSBackup+ has yet to include the newer encryption methods required to backup the WhatsApp messages. Looking on the play Store, I can see that there is an app that may help you converts the Whatsapp crypt 8, crypt7 and crypt5 databases to the old crypt database. You can find the link for Whatsapp Crypt-DB Converter here.
- Join Beta testing Google plus group here https://plus.google.com/communities/113290889178902750997
- Click on “Become a beta tester” link on the same page.
- Update sms-backup-plus from playstore
- Do a restore.
Before you download the app though, you will have to enable IMAP in your Gmail settings. To do this, login to your Gmail account and then head to your Settings. Once there select the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab. Next to IMAP Access check the Enable IMAP radio button and then hit Save Changes at the bottom of the page. That is all you have to do in Gmail.
Now let’s move on to the main part…….
Download the latest version of SMS Backup+ and install it. The app is free.
Once it is installed, open the app and check the box next to Connect at the top part of the screen. This will then connect to your Gmail account that you have associated with your device. You won’t be asked for your Gmail password, but will simply have to select you account which will grant access to the app using XOAuth. On older Android devices, you may be presented with a browser window that will ask you whether or not you wish to grant access to the app. When asked, select Grant Access.
Step 3 (backup options)
Now you have paired the app with your Gmail account, you can begin the process of backing up your messages. If you wish to also backup your WhatsApp messages as well you can do so. To do this select Advanced Settings>Backup Settings and check the Backup WhatsApp. By default, the app will create a label in Gmail called WhatsApp, although you can change this if you wish by selecting the WhatsApp Label option. The WhatsApp label will be grayed out until you check the box next to Backup WhatsApp.
If you choose to also include these in the backup, then a label called WhatsApp will be created in your Gmail account.
You also have the option of what type of call logs (not audio, just the time/date/ duration of the call as well as who with and their numbers) you wish to keep. To change what types of Call logs to keep, select Call Types and decide. By default this will be set to Everything. Your call logs will be stored under the label of Call Log in Gmail
You can also choose to add your Call logs to your Calendar if you wish. When you select this option, you will be given an option of which calendar (if you have more than one) you wish to keep a record of the call logs to.
When you are happy with what you wish to include in the backup (remember that Google backups up most of your personal data anyway for you automatically, if you have it set) then go ahead and hit Backup.
The amount of time that it takes the app to back up all of your SMS messages will vary depending on how many messages you have, but for me it was approximately 2 per second and also backed up the images that were attached to my messages. Whilst you are waiting for the backup process to finish, you can hop over to your Gmail account to see the messages being backed up. To find them, look for a Label called SMS. (default name given by the app) This is where all of your backed up SMS/MMS messages will be stored. Simply click on this label to see your message in the main window. For Call Logs, just look for the separate label called Call Log.
Once this has completed you will see that the app will display a Done message as well as how many messages were backup up.
How to restore your text messages after a Factory Reset?
This is where the app is great as it makes restoring your SMS messages and call logs a breeze. Note that the app doesn’t currently restore any images that were attached to the messages (the backup does though and you can find them in the SMS label in Gmail) to your device although this is something that will be made available in future versions. For this reason it is advisable to back up any images manually somewhere first. To do this, select the message and then long-hold it to see the download option.
Simply open the app up and hit Restore and it will restore the backed up date back. If SMS Backup+ finds any duplicate messages on your phone when restoring, it will skip them to prevent duplication.
All-in-all this is a great app to have installed as it works great and is very simple to configure. Whilst the app is free for everyone, you can donate directly from the main page of the app to the developer if you are able. Well worth it if you ask me.