SMS Backup & Restore FAQ: Transferring messages from your old phone

Can I use this app to transfer messages / calls from my old phone? If so, how?

Yes. The backup format is a simple XML format and is independent of the Android version on the phone, so it can be easily used to transfer messages and calls from one Android phone to another.

There are multiple ways to transfer from one phone/device to another:

    1. If you have pre-existing backups from either SMS Backup & Restore or Call Logs Backup & Restore apps (free or paid), you can restore any of those backups with the new app using the Restore button and workflow from the main page.
    2. If both phones are working, you can use the new Transfer feature to transfer over Wi-Fi Direct. Simply install SMS Backup & Restore on both phones, click Transfer on both phones, and continue. View more information on Transfer.
    3. If you don’t have any backups yet, start by creating a backup from the phone you’d like to transfer FROM. Then use this app on your new phone to restore your backup(s).
    4. You can also create a backup to your selected cloud (or email), and open it directly from there with our app to restore:
      These days a lot of newer phones come with inbuilt storage card and may or may not have an SD Card slot. The main issue that the app has with these type of phones is that the phone reports the internal storage card as the default storage card and the backup gets created on that instead of the external storage card. When moving to a newer phone, this becomes a bit of a problem since the old phone may not have created the backup on the removable storage card or the new phone may not look on that card when trying to restore. In such cases, make sure the backup is created on the external storage card by opening the app Preferences and then selecting “Backup Folder”. On that screen, select “External Storage” and then create a new backup.

Using a computer

    Following are the steps suggested to make sure the backup can be transferred and restored on to a new phone if the previous method doesn’t work:
    1. On the old phone, create a new backup and name it something like “my backup.xml”. Name the file so that it is easily to find later.
    2. Connect the old Phone to a computer and in the drive of the Phone search for the backup file by name.
    3. Once you’ve found the file, copy it to another folder on the computer.
    4. On the new Phone, Create a new backup and name it something like “my new backup.xml”. Name the file so that it is easily to find later. This will also make sure that the required backup folder gets created.
    5. Connect the new Phone to a computer and then search for the backup file by name.
    6. Once you have found the folder containing the backup file, copy the file from the folder created in Step 3 into this folder.
    7. Disconnect the new Phone from the computer.
    8. Start the app again and Restore. It should find the backup file from the old phone.

Import SMS Messages from Windows Mobile

Many people have reported errors encountered with SMS Exporter however it is very difficult to fix because the application is using a 3rd party library to export the messages. If you are getting errors, please try the other ways below.

SMS Exporter:

Here is a simple tool to export messages from WinMo phones. Click here to download SMS Exporter. This is an experimental application and so any feedback about this app is highly appreciated.

Download the .CAB file from the link above and install it on your phone. Running it will present you with a simple form with an “Export” menu. It will export messages into a SMS.xml file which can be directly imported into any Android phone using the SMS Backup & Restore app.

If the SMS Exported does not work for you then you can always try the following third party options:

Here is an excellent article explaining how to Import/Export/Move/Transfer SMS Messages from Windows Mobile to your Android Phone using PIM Backup and our App SMS Backup & Restore.

Here is another article for a tool which Exports from Windows Mobile. This process works without needing root access on the Android phone. Check it out!

Import SMS Messages from Nokia

Here are some other third part articles and tools:

All these processes work without needing root access on the Android phone.

Import SMS Messages from Sony Ericsson

Here is a third party converter application so that the messages exported or transferred from FJ Software’s MyPhoneExplorer can be restored on an Android Phone using our SMS Backup & Restore. app. This process works without needing root access on the Android phone.

Import/Export/Move/Transfer SMS Messages from iPhone to Android

Jan Grewe has created a web based application to convert SMS Messages from iPhone so that they can be transferred into any Android phone using the SMS Backup & Restore app. The page has instructions to find the SMS database created by iTunes and then upload it for conversion. The web application generates an XML file which can then be copied to the SD Card of the Android phone and restored using SMS Backup & Restore.

If you don't want to upload your messages to a remote site then Dr. Bil Kirmani, one of the users of SMS Backup & Restore, came up with a manual process of doing the conversion on a Mac. In his words:

  1. Create a backup of your iPhone SMSes.

    Sync your phone.

  2. Download the necessary software.

  3. Find and extract your old SMS files

    1. Go to the folder User > Library > Application Support > Mobile Sync > Backup > [Some ID] (there may be more than one folder in the Backup Folder, but probably just one with the following file in)
    2. Find the file 3d0d7e5fb2ce288813306e4d4636395e047a3d28 with the extension .mdbackup or .mddata and copy it to the desktop
    3. Load the file in the SQLite browser
    4. Select File > Export > Table as CSV file and choose the “message” table
  4. Amend the file into SMS Backup format

    1. Load the file into Excel or another spreadsheet program
    2. You should have the following headings:

      ROWID; address; date; text; flags; replace; svc_center; group_id; association_id; height; UIFlags; version; subject; country; headers; recipients; read

    3. Create an extra column to the right of “date”. Make sure the original date column is in “Text” format (not “number” format) by right clicking the column and choosing > Format cells > Number > Text. Now copy the formula =C2&”000″ in the column to the right. This changes the date to the correct format for android (Epoch including milliseconds).
    4. Create six columns to the right of the “text” column. iPhone stores certain characters that confuse the XML parser (ampersands, quotes, apostrophes, greater than signs and line breaks etc). Make sure the format of the column with the body of the SMS in is “text” format (otherwise it misses characters). In each of the successive columns, use the formulae:

      =SUBSTITUTE(E2,CHAR(38),CHAR(38)&"amp;")

      =SUBSTITUTE(F2,CHAR(60),CHAR(38)&"lt;")

      =SUBSTITUTE(G2,CHAR(62),CHAR(38)&"gt;")

      =SUBSTITUTE(H2,CHAR(34),CHAR(38)&"quot;")

      =SUBSTITUTE(I2,CHAR(39),CHAR(38)&"apos;")

      =SUBSTITUTE(J2,CHAR(13),CHAR(38)&"#13;")

    5. Create an extra column to the right of “flags”. This column will tell your device if the text is received or sent. The iPhone uses received as “2” and sent as “3”, but these need to be “1” and “2” respectively for Android. Use =L2-1 to change this down the column.
    6. In a new column, use the following formula:

      =" <sms protocol="&CHAR(34)&”0”&CHAR(34)&" address="&CHAR(34)&B2&CHAR(34)&" date="&CHAR(34)&D2&CHAR(34)&" subject="&CHAR(34)&”null”&CHAR(34)&" body="&CHAR(34)&K2&CHAR(34)&" toa="&CHAR(34)&”null”&CHAR(34)&" sc_toa="&CHAR(34)&”null”&CHAR(34)&" service_center="&CHAR(34)&”null”&CHAR(34)&" read="&CHAR(34)&”1”&CHAR(34)&" status="&CHAR(34)&”-1”&CHAR(34)&" />"

  5. Create the SMS Backup and Restore File

    1. Ensure you have at least one text in your Android Phone (either sent or received)
    2. Do a Backup
    3. Connect your phone to the computer and download the file saved by SMS Backup
    4. Using the XML editor, add the text created in the last column of your excel document to the XML file source. It should look something like:

      <?xml version='1.0' encoding='UTF-8' standalone='yes' ?>
      <smses>
      <sms protocol="0" address="NHS" date="1272018455000" subject="null" body="Medical Student Teaching Reminder" toa="208" sc_toa="0" service_center="+447782000800" read="1" status="-1" /> </smses>

    5. Rename the file (just in case!) with an extra digit at the end and load this file back onto your SD card in the SMSBackupRestore Folder.
    6. Do a restore.