You never know when you’re going to need to reference an old text message with an important bit of info, and the easiest way to make sure you never lose anything is by backing up. Fortunately, pushing all of your Android phone’s text messages to the cloud is super easy.
This all hinges on an Android app called SMS Backup & Restore, which you can get for free from Google Play. With it, you can back up your text messages to a Dropbox, Google Drive, or email account, or even all three of those services. The results and set up process should be the same regardless, however, so you should be able to easily follow along regardless of which service you’re using.
Note, however, that if you have a lot of messages to back up, email backup won’t work, because the file will be too large. If you want to back up your text messages to an email account, we recommend using this guide instead. SMS Backup & Restore is ideal for Dropbox and Google Drive. I’ll be using Drive for this tutorial.
Okay, with that out of the way, we’re good to go.
Setting Up SMS Backup & Restore
Once you’ve got SMS Backup & Restore installed on your phone, the first thing you’ll need to do is get it set up. Go ahead and launch the app, which should start with a simple menu:
Here, you’re going to choose “Backup.” This is where you’ll set all of your particular preferences.
There are several option here, so make sure to go through and select exactly what you want to back up. For example, you can include things like Call Logs and MMS Messages if you’d like, as well as selecting only specific conversations (instead of just backing up everything).
Once you’ve locked in your specifics, you’re going to want to tick the “Local Backup and Upload” option at the bottom. This will display three new options: Upload to Google Drive, Upload to Dropbox, and Upload to Email. Pick your poison.
If you choose Drive or Dropbox here, a login screen will appear with another set of options. The first thing you’ll need to do, of course, is log in. If you’re using Drive, the Account Picker will show up when you tap the “Log in” button at the top. Select your account, then choose “OK.”
You’ll need to grant SMS Backup & Restore permission to access your account. Once that’s done, you’re ready to set a few more specifics.
Once you’re logged in, you can choose to only upload backups over Wi-Fi, choose which folder to save things to, and whether or not to delete older files. The only thing worth mentioning here is that the Folder option doesn’t actually have a file picker—you have to manually type out where you want the backup to go. There’s a lot of room for error there, so make sure you type everything correctly. Alternatively, you could just leave it blank and use the default location, which should be the root folder. It’s also worth noting that it can create folders, too, so you can just make a new one called “SMS Backups” or something similar.
After you’ve keyed in everything, go ahead and give the “Test” button a tap, just to make sure you set everything up correctly. This will save you a lot of issues later. After the test comes back as successful, you can save.
Back on the Create New Backup screen, you can select “OK” if you’re finished setting everything up, or add a second cloud service should you choose.
Once you tap “OK,” the backup will automatically start, then upload to your chosen cloud service once it’s finished. It’s so easy.
Setting Up a Backup Schedule
At this point, you can call it a day if you want. But, if you want to make sure you always have the latest messages backed up, you’ll need to set up a sync schedule.
To do that, first tap the three-button overflow menu in the top right, then choose “Preferences.”
A little ways down this menu, there’s an option for “Scheduled Backups.” Tap that little guy.
Flip the toggle on the right to turn Scheduled Backups on, then specify your schedule. You can have it scan as often as every minute (which is overkill in my opinion), or as infrequent as every 30 days—take your pick! I think once a day is a good schedule, personally.
You can also specify when you’d like the backup to run. Choose whatever time works best for you—the middle of the night makes the most sense to me. Like, 3:00 AM. Hopefully I’m sleeping at that point and not texting anyone.
The backup will generate a notification to let you know all went well, but if you’d rather not see that, you can disable that option.
Once you’ve got your schedule set, you’re pretty much done. Tap “Save,” and that’s that.
From now on, all of your texts will be backed up to your specifics.
By default, SMS Backup & Restore saves file in XML format, so they should be viewable in any browser that support XML (which, at this point, should be all of them). There’s also an option to use “Archive Mode,” which will append all new messages to the same file instead of creating a new one each time. You can find this setting in Preferences > Backup Settings > Archive Mode.