With an iPhone, you can restore SMS messages & iMessages. However, you cannot perform that unless you reset your device to the factory state.

Fret not, if you are willing to reset your device or looking for a way to simply restore your messages on a clean iOS install, we have your back. You can easily backup and restore SMS on iPhone using two methods which are mentioned below.

1. Backup and Restore SMS on iPhone Using iTunes

It is the easiest thing one can do to restore SMS messages on iPhone i.e completely backup the iPhone and then fully restore it.

It is the case when you want to restore your iPhone to a previous state (not factory state). First, you need to backup your iPhone using iTunes, and then when you need it all, you can perform a restore via iTunes which would bring back all of your data along with the SMS messages.

2. Backup and Restore SMS on iPhone Using iTunes & iBackupBot

You will need to follow this method if you want to perform a factory reset but just want your SMSs restored (nothing else restored!).

Steps To Restore SMS on iPhone Using iBackupBot & iTunes – Phase I

ibackupbot - restore sms on iPhone
  1. Download and install iBackupBot from their official download page. It is available for both Windows and Mac. However, here, we used a Windows-powered system to show you how it is done.
  2. Before launching iBackupBot, you need to ensure that you already have a backup of your iPhone (before resetting it). If you do not have one, then follow our recent guide to backup your iPhone using iTunes.
  3. After successfully backing up your iPhone using iTunes, you are ready to launch iBackupBot and meanwhile perform a factory reset of your iPhone.
  4. While you launch iBackupBot, it automatically detects the iPhone backup file on your computer. However, do ensure that you do not change iPhone backup file’s location from the default location to your customized one. If you have not modified the location where iPhone’s backup file should be by default, it will detect the file on both Windows and Mac.
  5. Just as an additional check, look at the description of the iPhone backup which iBackupBot detects (check the timestamp and the size). If it’s the recent one, you should proceed following the next steps.
  6. Now, you have to navigate your way to SMSs database file and its attachment file as well (both are recommended) and export them to your desktop.
    ibackupbot - restore sms on iPhone
  7. For SMS database file, navigate through System Files -> HomeDomain -> Library -> SMS. Now, you will observe a file as sms.db and a folder named “Drafts“.
    ibackupbot - restore sms on iPhone
    Export them both to a storage location where you can access it faster (the desktop seems to be the perfect place).
    ibackupbot - restore sms on iPhone
  8. Similarly, for the attachment file, navigate through System Files -> MediaDomain -> Library -> SMS. Now, you will observe an “Attachments” folder. Export it to the desktop. You are now done with the phase I of restoring your SMS on your iPhone.
    ibackupbot - restore sms on iPhone

Steps To Restore SMS on iPhone Using iBackupBot & iTunes – Phase II

  1. After you have successfully exported the necessary files, you can perform a factory reset of your iPhone (or let’s assume that you have already reset the device after backing up your device on Phase I).
  2. Now, perform a backup of your iPhone again (after resetting it). So, in essence, it will be a fresh backup.
  3. Restart iBackupBot and see if it detects the latest backup file or not. Look for the most recent timestamp and a backup size of less than 500 MB will point at the fresh backup file. If it does not appear, you can open the file by navigating to the default location. The default file locations for Windows and Mac are as follows:
    Mac: ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup/
    Windows: \Users\(username)\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup\
  4. Now, after you have successfully loaded the fresh iOS backup file on iBackupBot, you need to import the files that you exported into their respective places, i.e., you are replacing the required files for SMS on your fresh iPhone backup from your old iPhone backup file.
  5. Following the step 7 and 8 of Phase I, you can import the folders and files that you exported previously to their respective locations where they came from initially. If asked to replace, you should proceed.
  6. After you are done replacing the files, you have actually merged with SMS file from the old backup with the new iPhone backup. So, in a nutshell, now your fresh iPhone backup file has the required SMS data that your old iPhone backup file had prior to factory reset.
  7. Finally, now you can head to iTunes and restore the latest iPhone backup (which already has the SMS data you wanted and had on your iPhone prior to factory reset). So, after restoring the latest backup, you will have a fresh iOS build on your iPhone along with the SMSs restored.

So, whatever seems convenient to you could be done in order to restore the SMS on your iPhone. If you want everything back along with the SMSs, a simple backup and restore option (i.e., Step 1) would do the trick if you have a backup before data loss or factory reset. In either case, if you just want to lose everything else but not the SMS conversations, you could try following the 2nd method mentioned.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Filed in Apple >Cellphones. Read more about Backups, iOS, iPad, iPhone, sms.

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