Text-message-Google-Messenger-1

We can back up nearly anything to the cloud, but text messages usually go bye bye when you switch handsets or factory reset a phone. We want to make sure that everyone is looking after their data. Specifically, we want to make sure you are backing up your SMS messages. I know at least our Canadian readers prefer the term ‘text messages’ here, which is possibly more accurate, but I’m going to stick with SMS for the sake of continuity.

Join us as we explore an app called SMS Backup+, and another app you’ve already heard of, Tasker.

See also:

How to recover deleted text messages on your Android phone

May 25, 2016

Before we begin

best free android apps

Get SMS Backup+Many SMS and messaging apps and services have the ability built right in to backup or otherwise prevent loss of your messages should you lose your phone, but that is not always the case. When in doubt, or if you are using a messaging tool that does not have backup capabilities, we will point you towards SMS Backup+, a free app in the Google Play Store, that syncs your messages to your Gmail account for safe storage.

Get TaskerAs a completely optional addition to the project today, we will use Tasker to fine tune the controls a little. If you do not yet have Tasker installed, prepare to drop $2.99 in the Google Play Store to follow along.

Use SMS Backup+ to keep your messages safe

SMS Backup plus Play Store

There is a good chance you’ve got an SMS message or two on your Android device, and there is a good chance you’d rather not lose them if you happen to misplace your phone. If for no other reason, perhaps you should look at backing up your SMS messages on a regular basis.

Straight out of the box, SMS Backup+ is super easy to use. It looks to backup not just your SMS messages, but also your MMS ones, as well as the call log. The idea is to dump these items into your Gmail account with a custom Gmail Label to keep them around forever.

Gmail logo AA

Now, if you are a Google Hangouts user, have a look for the ‘SMS’ Label in your Gmail. If you see the Label, and it is packed full of your messages, today’s tasks are not really for you, your messages are secure and you may go on with getting ready for your weekend.

The general setup of SMS Backup+ is pretty near all of the input this app requires to keep your messages rolling to Gmail. Install the app, fire it up and let’s walk through it from there.

  1. Connect to your preferred Gmail account. Not to worry, this app uses OAuth, like all good apps should, so you can block access at any time from within your Google account settings on the web.
  2. Tap the “Connect” check box.
  3. Choose your Google account.
  4. Decide whether or not to begin a full backup of all current messages on your device, or skip to only back up messages received from that point forward.

SMS Backup plus setup1

If all you desire to do is back up everything to a Label called SMS in your Gmail, turn auto backup check box on and enjoy your day. However, if you’d like to tune things a little, please continue along.

Picking which messages to back up

  1. Head to the “Advanced Settings”.
  2. Select “Backup settings”.
  3. Choose which types of messages you would like to back up to Gmail. I usually do not back up MMS messages, but that’s just a personal preference.
  4. You can also tap on the SMS section to change the name of the label created in your Gmail account. You don’t have to do this, but keep in mind Google Hangouts also labels its messages as SMS. Try to avoid confusion; I use “SMS+” for mine.
  5. Tap the back button to save and head out.

SMS Backup plus setup advanced

Auto backup settings

  1. Tap on “Auto backup settings”.
  2. Select the “Regular schedule” option to set an upload frequency. The default is 2 hours, but I like to save juice and risk the loss – 24 hours will be enough.
  3. Select “Incoming schedule” to set a time in which SMS Backup+ will be triggered, after a new message arrives. It defaults to 3 minutes, which is where I leave it.
  4. Hit the back button to exit to the main screen.
  5. Tap on the “Auto backup” check box to make sure this feature is turned on.

SMS Backup plus setup frequency

If the scheduled backup frequency is not to your liking, or you do not want auto backups at all, there is a big Backup button at the top of the screen just waiting to be pushed. If you do like the the automatic backups, but the Regular schedule times do not work for you, it is time to use our favorite customization app, Tasker.

See also:

10 best SMS apps for Android

March 23, 2016

Backup SMS using Tasker

To use Tasker to trigger SMS backup, we will use SMS Backup+ as a Third Party extension to Tasker.

Tasker Task SMS Backup plus

  1. Head into SMS Backup+ to enable the integration.
  2. Tap into “Auto backup settings”.
  3. Exit SMS Backup+ and head into Tasker.
  4. Create a new Tasker Task and name it appropriately.
  5. Tap the “+” button to add an action.
  6. Choose “3rd party”.
  7. Choose “SMS backup+”.
  8. That is really all there is to the task, hit the back button to save and exit the task creation.
  9. Now, you need to decide how and when Tasker should run the backup. For our purposes, let’s setup a profile that runs the backup every Sunday.
  10. Head to the “Profiles” tab of Tasker, create a new profile and name it appropriately.
  11. Choose “Day”.
  12. Tap on the “Month Day” drop-down menu and change it to “Week Day”.
  13. Choose “Sunday”.
  14. Hit the back button to save.
  15. Choose your backup task.
  16. That’s it, you are done.

Tasker Profile SMS Backup plus

What’s next

While I am sure you have far different ideas than mine when it comes to backup frequency, I hope that you see all of the available ways and times that you can use SMS Backup+ to fire your data over to Gmail.

We used a day value in our Tasker project, be sure to think outside the box for your needs. Perhaps backup your SMS messages when you connect to your home WiFi network. Maybe put a 10 minute delay after receiving a message – that’s too easy, I know, create a few Tasker profiles and tasks that add 1 to a variable every time you receive a message, then fire the backup when you get to 10 messages. Don’t forget to then reset the variable back to 0.

Zooper Widget Gmail SMS Count

Finally, SMS Backup+ sends your messages to Gmail, what are you to do if you do not want to use Gmail? You know it, there are well over a million apps in the Google Play Store, I am sure a few of them can help. Might I suggest SMS Backup & Restore, also free in the Google Play Store, which saves your messages as a text file (XML, to be more accurate,) on your device. Just make sure to pull the files from the device for secure backup.

Wrapping up

This is our favorite way to back up your messaging history and call logs. It is simple, thanks to the SMS backup+ application, but also very customizable and versatile thanks to Tasker.

Do you care to keep record of your SMS, MMS and call log history? What other tools do you use to manage things?

Jonathan Feist
Android purist and enthusiast, rarely more than arms reach from a stock Nexus 7. Often accused of being a Google fanboy, proud of it. Proponent for Android customization and personalization, if you can change it, make it your own!
  • Davinder Singh

    Nope dont care

  • ezzkmo

    This was an informative article, thanks for the write up!

  • Paul N.

    Wish I knew about this last week before I reset my old phone before getting a replacement!

    • I think we all experience something like this at some point. Sorry for your grief, but welcome to the club!

  • NameDoesntMatter
  • Android Developer

    Another possible app for backuping your SMS (and other stuff) is EasaBackup.
    Not sure if it has scheduled backup feature though.

  • Pez Nospam

    I never backup my SMS because they are incriminating. :P

    • Those are the most entertaining when you come back and read them later.

      • Captain Obvious

        Hi Jonathan,
        In you article you mention that if you have hangouts already there should be a sms folder in gmail that is already backing up texts…..how do I turn that on? I am using hangouts and don’t see anywhere in my gmail where they are being backed up?
        Thanks much

        • Hey Captain Obvious, sorry, I confused things a little there. Your messages in Google Hangouts should show in a Gmail label called Chats, and messages in Google Messenger will get the SMS label. I would be very curious to hear about this not being the case for anyone, as these folders were created automatically for me. Nothing to turn on or configure, it just worked.

          • Captain Obvious

            Hi Jonathan,
            thanks for the reply! I have used both for at least 2 days, both on cellular and on wifi. I have Chats label from hangouts, but it only has hangout messages not texts…and no sms label from messenger. I am on a Galaxy S5 with Tmobile.

  • Ajay Singh

    SMS Backup+ not available in Play Store anymore

    • jelima123

      Yes it is…maybe you typed it wrong? Try searching under the app’s author-Jan Berkel. This app is one of the first sms/mms/call log backup apps on the market.

      • Ajay Singh

        Yeah ! Its available now.

  • Xkoiul

    If ytou want to backup your Android SMS to computer, then MobiKin Assistant for Android will be your good assistant.

  • jelima123

    I have been using “SMS Backup +” since I had my first Android G1 phone (the first Android phone). I like how it saves to my GMail. The only problem is it only restores your call logs and sms-not your mms. Since I don’t have a computer I depend on my phone for everything and backup everything either to my Google account (GMail, GDrive) or other cloud accounts and always in duplicate, just in case. What other apps are available that will backup and restore mms and include both the pictures and picture texts in the mms backup file?

  • Kent Jude Beldeniza

    This is helpful! Thank you! :D :D

  • lucas

    I also use backup tool to transfer the important data to my pc, cuz I did lost them once, so I downloaded a backup software recommended by my friend. I think it is quite good, and I can free more space for my phone.

  • lucas

    I think a backup tool is really helpful! you can transfer almost allthe data on your phone.

  • lucas

    My friend have used “mobikin”, it can allow preview of text messages, contacts, music, notes and more.
    Like this screenshot.

  • To backup android phone sms, you can also try Coolmuster Android Backup Assistant, it could backup almost everything from android phone to computer.

  • Don

    Hey Jonathan, thanks for a great article. Do you know if it’s possible to print all SMS from a particular number without the arduous task of printing each text individually?

  • Ofmgoodd

    It’s really easy to backup messgaes with Samsung Backup. It works with all Samsung android devices .You can view and read messages on a PC running Windows 8, 7, Vista and XP.

  • joe01880

    backing up sms/mms = evidence.. nope!!

  • Xkoiul

    We can also try Android sms backup program to backup sms to computer.

  • Rohit Raja

    Never needed backing these up.. but cool tips

  • Tripol

    What’s the security implication of using any of these third party backup platforms? I presently use SMS Backup+ but still ponder what who else reads my SMS before it rests in my Gmail

    • duke69111

      Nobody to my knowlege as the app uses IMAP to connect to google.

      • Nope. The dev can read all your messages, in case he wants that.
        You just gotta trust the dev that he aint interested in reading it.

  • BeerFuelledDude

    Tried it on my Wife’s Nexus 5 (Backup). Then Restore to her Moto X. It didn’t give any error message, but only restores back to January 2016. Will have to try again with something else, I guess.

    • duke69111

      The dialer app only holds 500 calls, thats probably why it only goes back that far.

  • duke69111

    This app is great. However, since updating to the LG G5 on marshmallow, call logs back up only when they want and whichever calls they want. I hope Jan can fix this soon.

  • Tony Zorzo

    I have a Samsung G5 mobile phone
    Down loaded the SMS Backup+ app and backed up however it only backed up last unread message to my Gmail account.
    I need to back up past historic messages for a particular client so I can print a hard copy.
    How do I do this?
    Tonyz

  • Yair Koenig

    No way to backup SMSs on Facebook messenger if I use it as my SMS client. Crap.

  • Sonia

    I’ve backed up my SMS messages, however when I view them in my gmail any SMS sent from myself are tagged with my gmail account how do I change this to display my phone’s number?

  • acca

    I can’t understand why Google does not implement backup and sync text messages from Google app…

  • User_1

    Hello Jonathan,

    Have you looked at the file that is backed up? OK I believe that if you are changing phones the backup would work just great (not tested yet). What I am trying to do is get a legible file printed. Looks like I’m going to have to take someone to court and part of my evidence is the texting that went back and forth. A file with this

    EXAMPLE

    (this has to be added here as my text gets all torn up if it is added after the example)
    is not going to fly in court. I need something that is going to be a bit more legible. And actually this is a very small part of the text I need to get a copy of. Regardless, I’ll be laughed at if I’m thinking people are suppose to follow this.

  • Dana Juliet Elyse

    I followed all instructions and set up settings to only backup text/SMS with “starred” contacts. I thought it worked, I was super excited.
    I went into my email to look through, and it turns out that the earliest messages, everything transferred/backed up. However, my (only) starred contact is an iPhone user (I know, I know…). The early messages back and forth, everything backed up to my new SMS folder perfectly. At March 19, it only backs up messages I sent, not those received.
    Have I done something incorrectly? Was there perhaps an update I forget that I ran? (or maybe a ios update?)
    I don’t want to lose these messages. before using the samsung galaxy s6 (when I removed my SD card), I feel I never had issues with texts overloading my phone and running slow and my Messages app shutting down/failing. (I have a galaxy s7 now– would using an SD card again help with this issue?)
    Any advice would be useful, as I’m not very tech savvy.
    Thanks!

    • Dana Juliet Elyse

      as I’m not sure I’ll receive any sort of notification to this post, any advice can be sent to danajeb@gmail.com