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How to Backup and Restore SMS and iMessages on a Clean iOS Install

How to Backup and Restore SMS and iMessages on a Clean iOS Install

It has always been something interesting to backup the iPhone. iTunes enables backing up of your iOS device easily, plus iCloud, if you have big space for all your file storage, is even simpler Nevertheless, people do have lots of queries on how to back up their devices.

The reason why backing up is a questionable process, is how the backing up is handled. For starters, to back up your iPad, iPod or iPhone is generally an all or nothing process. It’s the appliances, the kitchen sink, and the clothes, or it’s nothing.

The largest query which seems to be asked every now and then is to backup and restore just the iMessage and SMS messages found in the app of messages. You could do a normal backup of iTunes and get all your messages though it is not a great solution for everyone.

With this is mind, when you need to backup and restore just your text messages (SMS messages and iMessages), what is to be done? Unfortunately, Apple does not give a way of how to do this with iTunes backup or iCloud backups, though it can be done.

You will see how to back up your iMessages and SMS messages without the need for a jailbreak in this tutorial. You will also get to know how to import the messages back to your iPhone or to a different one. Know more about iMessage click here.


The main application which we will use in this tutorial apart from iTunes is iBackupBot. It is a utility which you pay for although it has a free trial which allows you to see the iTunes backup contents, remove data from backups and insert the data into backup plus much more. The trial version for iBackupBot can complete the following tutorial.

You will have to get the latest iTunes version installed to your device to work on this tutorial. iTunes is the program which we will use to do the required backups and restoration of your iOS device. You might run into problems if you do not have the latest iTunes version.


Step 1: A Full Backup Performance

First and foremost you need to perform a full iTunes backup. If you are using iCloud as your current backup, you have to connect the device to your Mac by the use of a USB cable and launch iTunes. Go to a.k.a. this computer in iTunes backups. The best way to do it is to use a USB cable for connection and not WiFi, as the whole backups can be large.

Tap on” Backup now” after ensuring the backup setting is on “this computer”. The contents size on your iPhone will determine the fastness of the backup. If from the time of your last backup you have lots of new content, the backup will take a lot of time; be patient.

All iTunes backups get stored in the same location on the Mac. iTunes backups are found in Library, Application, Support, Mobile Sync then Backup folder.

You will see an oddly named folder in the iTunes backup folder that resembles your device backup. The folder time stamps should be the same as the last time you had your device backup.

Step 2: Removing Messages Data and SMS Text Messages from Backup

The backup done is for safety, as well as, to allow the extraction of Message app contents to be moved to a fresh device. iBackupBot will need to be used for this. All message data, SMS and text messages will be extracted. iBackupBot will know the backup location and automatically search and find your backup folder after starting the app.

In your first iBackupBot launch, a pop-up window which says loading backup info will come up. Depending on the quantity and size of your backups, it could take a lot of time. Wait as the Bot does its thing.

The main screen of the interface will come up after iBackupBot finishes loading all backup folders information. You will see a section for backup and a Devices section on the left area of the interface. In the device section, you will theoretically see the tool on which you performed the full backup for. Information details of the device will come up in the major interface window.

Exporting the Drafts Folder and SMS Database to Computer

In the Backups section, find and click on your device the disclosure triangle next to system files. Then go to Home Domain and Library. In the library, you will see SMS folder. Tap on the SMS folder and its contents will be displayed by iBackupBot, on the right side of your main window interface. Select the Drafts folders and SMS database the click on Export. Choose an export location.

You will then need to transfer the SMS attachment folder which contains items like videos and photos found on the messages. The same procedure will take place but to a different location. The desktop is the recommended location of exportation for easy file retrieval later.

Step 3: Restoration of SMS and Messages

You need to restore your gadget to factory firmware. You can use iCloud for the restoration of your device important information. Note that to resort firmware entails you to upgrade to a new public available firmware. Latest firmware is normally jailbreak-able. Do not restore unless you verify with Apple’s latest firmware to be jailbreak-able.

Ensure that the device is plugged into your computer then launch iTunes. Click on the device summary area to show the newest information of your device. Tap on Restore button to start the process. After the device has finished restoration, you have to go through the normal iOS setup. Do not select to restore from the backup but setup your device to be clean as possible.

Step 4: Create a Clean Backup, Merge SMS Data and Restore

Connect your restored iOS device to a computer and start iTunes. Set up the device as a new gadget. You then need to go to the local computer from iCloud before starting the backup.

Merge the message data to the clean backup. iBackupBot does this part. The size of the clean backup will be small. Import the SMS database file to the clean backup. Then import the draft and attachment folders to the clean backup. From this connect the iOS device to a computer, and then open iTunes. Click on restore backup in iTunes.

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