How to Backup and Restore Text Messages on Android [Google Drive & Third-Party]

A guide on how to back and restore text (SMS) messages automatically or manually on Android, using Google’s or third-party backup, restore, and recovery apps and tools.

How to Backup & Restore text messages on Android

There are many ways for Android device users to back up and restore SMS Messages on Android devices. This post will some of the best among them, from the built-in features Google Play Services offers to third-party apps like SMS Backup & Restore (Android app) or dr.fone (Desktop app). The latter can even help you recover deleted text messages that are not backed up.

Google's backup services are usually enough for most users, but a third-party app might be better for you if you need a more custom solution. Kee in mind that this is a case where there is no ideal solution because, at the end of the day, there isn't infinite space.

So, let's see what you can do to recover deleted messages or move SMS data to a new Android phone.

How to Automatically Backup and Restore Text Messages on Google Drive

phone settings google account
google account settings
google drive settings backup

First, this is the most straightforward backup and restore case for Android smartphones, as users must sign up with a Google account to take full advantage of Google Play Services. This solution is not restricted to SMSs, as you can store all your personal data in your Google account and recover them at will.

One disadvantage of this method is that your backup platform will be Google Drive, so the backup data size is limited to the available space on Google Drive (15GB for free with any Google account). Older backup data will be deleted so that you won't have full access to the complete history of your device's conversations after some point.

Once again, this shouldn't be an issue for most users unless you send countless text messages daily.

Backing up your data on Google Drive is a straightforward process. All you have to do is the following:

  1. Go to your phone's Settings.
  2. Go to Google. This will open your Google account settings.
  3. From there, go to Backup. This will get you to the Backup Settings.
  4. In the Backup Settings, enable “Backup to Google Drive.”
  5. You can also use the “Back up now” button to start a backup instantly.

You can also reach the same menu from your Google Drive app:

  1. Open Google Drive.
  2. Go to the Settings menu.
  3. Go to the second section, “Auto backup for apps,” and select “Backup and reset.”

As you can see, the overall options for Google Drive-driven backup are limited to turning it on and off and controlling the Backup & Sync of Photos and Videos settings, which we will not focus on here.

To get more control over your Backup data, you will need to use a Google One Subscription.

How to Backup Text Messages on Google One

Google One is a paid subscription by Google that allows you to extend your initial 15GB of storage available for Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos to 100GB or more. Once again, this is not a service that most users need, as 15GB is plenty already. The benefit of Google One is that it offers a unified experience for your Google services, storage, and backup.

You can manage your backup settings from Google One's settings, where you can choose to turn backup on or off for:

Google One plans and pricing
Google One subscription plans Source: Google One
  • Device data
  • Multimedia messages (MMS)
  • Photos & videos

The extra benefit you get with Google one is control over MMS backups.

Overall, both Google services offer a universal automatic text data backup solution without much control over what is backed up and what isn't. To overcome these limitations, users will have to rely on third-party apps. Now let's examine some of these options.

How to Automatically Backup SMS messages with a Third-Party App

SMS Backup & Restore back up settings messages, call logs, media, mms
SMS Backup & Restore back up settings  cloud storage google drive onedrive dropbox
SMS Backup & Restore back up settings   backup frequency

One of the most popular third-party apps for automatic text message backup is SMS Backup & Restore by SyncTech Pty Ltd. This app allows you to control whether you want to back up the following data:

  • Messages (SMS)
  • Call logs
  • Media, pictures, video, group messages (MMS)

You can also select to backup all messages or which conversation you want to backup. This option already gives your more flexibility than Google Drive and Google One. Note that this guide focuses on automatic backup and restore features, not cloud storage services. With SMS Backup & Restore, you can elect to store your data on any of the following services:

  • Google Drive
  • Onedrive
  • Dropbox

Depending on the size of your data, you will still have to resort to a paid subscription to a cloud storage provider. The app also allows you to backup your data on your phone. Finally, you can decide the backup frequency (daily, weekly, or hourly), designate a specific backup time, and disable backup completion notifications.

How to Backup your Text Messages with a Desktop App

This method is neither automatic nor free, but it will give you maximum control and flexibility. Dr.Fone is a third-party Phone “backup &restore” desktop app by Wondershare. This is not an automated tool, but it allows cherry-picking what you back up.

Back up your Android phone

Step 1. Connect your Android phone to the computer

Launch Dr.Fone on your computer and select “Phone Backup” on the app's home screen.

dr.fone home screen select phone backup
Select Phone Backup on the app's home screen Source: Wondershare

Next, connect your Android smartphone to the computer using a USB cable.

Note: Ensure that USB debugging is enabled and allow USB debugging when the notification pops up on your phone.

connect your phone dr.fone
Connect your phone to your PC with a USB cable Source: Wondershare

Click Backup to start the backup of Android phone data. You will also be able to view your backup history if you have used Dr.Fone in the past.

Step 2. Select file types to back up

After your phone is connected, you can select the data you want to backup; contacts, messages, call history, calendar, photos, music, videos, applications, and even application data if you have rooted your phone.

dr.fone select data type to back up
Connect your phone to your PC with a USB cable Source: Wondershare

The backup process will take a few minutes, so ensure your phone is connected during that time.

After the backup completes, you can click the “View the backup” button to see what's in the backup file.

Restore the backup to your Android phone

Step 1. Connect your Android phone to the computer

  • Launch Dr.Fone and select Phone Backup.
  • Next, connect your phone with a USB cable.
select backup file to restore dr.fone
Connect your phone to your PC with a USB cable Source: Wondershare

Step 2. Select the backup file you would like to restore

After you click the Restore button, the program will display all the Android backup files on your computer. From there, you can view a backup file and decide on the data and media you want to restore.

select data to restore
Manually select all the items you wish to restore Source: Wondershare

Step 3. Preview and restore the backup file to the Android phone

Here you can preview each file in the backup. Check the files you need and click on Restore to your Android phone.

The process only takes a few minutes, so ensure that your phone remains connected.

How to Recover Deleted Text Messages with a Desktop App

For this process, you will need a data recovery tool that will attempt to collect and recover deleted data that are still available in the phone's memory or storage. We will use Dr.Fone once again here:

  • First, launch Dr.Fone.
  • Next, connect your smartphone to your computer with a USB cable.
  • Select Data Recovery. The app will ask you to select the data types you want to recover. For deleted SMS message recovery, select Messages.
select data recovery types
Select the data types to scan for recovery Source: Wondershare
  • After scanning, you can select the messages you want to restore.

Conclusion

To conclude, the above tools essentially complement each other. For instance, I use the 200GB Google One yearly subscription plan, but I prefer to backup my data with SMS Backup & Restore. I don't use Dr.Fone, but it is an excellent option for people who want to manually backup their data and have complete control over it. It is also a great tool for anyone attempting to recover deleted data, including SMS messages.

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