You might never lose data because of a device crash or theft (and fingers cross you don’t), but you should always take care of your important files and data. Your small mobile device contains lots of important data you need to backup.

Depending on the type of the data, you use different backup approaches. With photos, videos and text documents the approach is simple – just copy them from your phone storage or memory card to your laptop hard drive or an online storage service and they are protected.

However, with phone contacts and text messages neither microSD, nor online backups are possible as easily. Contacts and SMS messages are also assets and you need to protect them. One of the cases when a full backup of your contacts and messages is much appreciated is when you change your device and want to copy the contacts and messages to the new one. For such cases, apps such as SIM Manager and SMS Backup & Restore are all you need.

I’ve chosen the latter app as it’s the one that I used when changing from my HTC Desire S to Sony Xperia TX.

After you download and install SMS Backup & Restore, here is what you need to do in order to backup and restore your texts.

1. Open SMS Backup & Restore.

Here is the initial screen:

01 SMS-Backup and Restore Initial Screen

There are several options here but let’s start by backing up so press the Backup button at the top.

2. Choose the Location of the Backup

When you press the Backup button, this will open a dialog where you can choose the location.

02 SMS Backup and Restore - Choose Location

If you don’t have external storage, this option won’t be present. Also, on some phone models, the backup is automatically created in the phone memory, even if you do have external storage attached, and you are not given any choice where to save it but if your device isn’t like that, you can choose the location. It is best to choose external storage because this way you will have your backup ready to move to another device. However, if you can’t choose the external storage, and you want to transfer the backup to another device, after you create it with SMS Backup & Restore, you need to move it with some other application (or store it online).

3. Choose the Name of the Backup.

Next, you are presented with a screen where you must choose the name of the backup.

03 SMS-Backup and Restore---Choose Backup Name

You can leave the default name with the year, month, and date of the backup (plus some number the application generated), or you can enter a more descriptive name. When you click OK, the backup procedure will start.

4. Wait for the Backup to Finish

Usually it takes just a couple of minutes for the application to create the backup but if you have lots of texts, it could take a bit longer. Just wait and watch the progress, as shown in the next screenshot:

04a---SMS-Backup-and-Restore---Backup-in-Process

When the backup is finally ready, you will see a report like this:

04b---SMS-Backup-and-Restore---Backup-Ready

If there are any failed messages, this usually means these were messages with attachments. Since SMS Backup & Restore doesn’t backup audio, video, or image files, you need to open the message with the attachment and save the attachment separately somewhere else.

5. Transfer the Backup to External Card

The last backup screen (shown in the next screenshot) is a nice reminder to transfer your backup to an external storage, if you haven’t already chosen so.

05---SMS-Backup-and-Restore---Transfer-to-External-Card

In any case, even if you have chosen an external location for the backup, it won’t hurt to check again if the backup is there because if by accident it is in the phone, and you make a factory reset, all your dear messages are gone for good.

6. Select File to Restore Messages

The Restore procedure starts pretty much from the same place – i.e. the initial screen but this time you click Restore instead of Backup. After the application launches, you will see a screen similar to the one in the screenshot below:

06---SMS-Backup-and-Restore---Select-File-to-Restore-Messages

The screen shows a list of all your backups. Choose the backup you want to restore from and click OK.

Basically, this is all you need to do in order to restore your messages. On some phones you will have additional options, such as the ability to restore all messages or only messages from a given period and the option to check duplicates.

Even if you are given these options, you might want to skip them. If you choose to restore messages from a given period only, this could result in loss of messages, if you don’t have the nonrestored messages in a separate archive and later you backup only the messages you restore now. On the other hand, if you have tons of old messages, it hardly makes sense to restore messages from 5 years ago, so you might want to restore only messages from the last year, for example.

Similarly, with duplicated check, you might want to skip it because if you have a negligible amount of duplicates in your vast texts archive, this check could take pretty long to perform and the messages it will identify as duplicates are so few it makes no sense to do the check at all.

7. Preferences

If you think there is more to SMS Backup & Restore than what I’ve described so far, you are right – there are Preferences you can play with to use the app to the fullest. Some of the preferences are shown in the next screenshot:

07---SMS-Backup-and-Restore---Preferences

The settings give you more flexibility because they allow you to set the backup folder, various backup options, or to schedule backups. The advantage of scheduling automated backups is that you will always have a fresh backup without bothering to do it manually but if you set it for a time when your phone is in use, this could interfere with its normal operation.

The Password setting is also interesting. If you decide to use it, it will allow to password-protect your backups. This is a great security feature because when a backup is password-protected,  if it gets in the wrong hands, the hacker won’t be able to use the contents of the archive unless he or she manages to crack the password. However, if you forget the password, you won’t be able to use the archive either, so use password-protection with caution.

As you see, it is pretty straightforward to create a backup of your texts and to restore them. If you are switching to a new device, this feature is especially great but even if you aren’t, it doesn’t hurt to create backups of your messages every now and then. If your phone gets damaged or stolen, you won’t lose all this data.