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How to Back Up iPhone Text Messages



Whether your want to back up your text messages for record-keeping purposes or of you’re just getting a new iPhone and want your text messages to be restored on your new device, here’s how to back up iPhone text messages.

Your iPhone consists of two types of text messages. There’s iMessage, which is what’s used when you and the recipient both have iPhones and the messages are sent over WiFi or through a data connection. There’s also SMS text messaging, which is the traditional method that all phones use and it’s used on the iPhone when the recipient doesn’t have an iPhone.

You can learn more about the difference between the two in this guide, but if you want to back up all of these messages, there are some easy methods to do so. The easiest way, perhaps is to simply do an iTunes backup of your iPhone, or you can backup to iCloud right on your device.

At that point, you’ll have your text messages backed up and stored on your Mac or PC. However, some users like to back up their text messages for record-keeping purposes, so there are ways that you can back up your iPhone and then view those text message files that were backed up, allowing you to view them in .PDF form.

In any case, here’s how to back up your iPhone text messages and view them at any time without having them on your iPhone.

Back Up Using iTunes or iCloud

When you back up your iPhone through iTunes or iCloud, your text messages are backed up as well. Here’s how to back up your iPhone using iTunes.

  • Open iTunes and plug in your iOS device to your computer
  • In the upper-right corner of the iTunes window, you’ll see a button that says iPhone or iPad, depending on what you have.

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  • Click on that button to open another window that provides information about your device.
  • Below the main information is the Backup section. To do an all-out full backup of your iOS device, select This computer on the left-hand side.
  • Optionally, you can choose Encrypt backup to secure it from others accessing the personal data that gets backed up.


  • Next, click Back Up Now to begin the backup process. You may get a pop-up that talks about apps on your iOS device that aren’t currently in your iTunes Library. Click Back Up Apps to sync these apps with your iTunes Library.
  • iTunes will begin transferring any apps over to your iTunes Library if there are any, and then it will back up your iOS device. When it’s done, just click the blue Done button in the upper-right corner and you’re good to go!

To back up your iPhone using iCloud right on your device, follow these simple steps:

  • Open up the Settings app.
  • Scroll down and tap on iCloud and then tap on Backup.
  • Toggle on iCloud Backup to enable the feature.


  • You’ll receive a prompt saying that “your iPhone will no longer back up to your computer automatically when you sync with iTunes.” If you’re okay with this, tap OK. You’ll still be able to back up your iPhone manually through iTunes.
  • Next, tap on Back Up Now below the toggle switch to begin backing up your iPhone using iCloud.

View Backed Up Text Messages

In order to view backed up text messages from your iPhone, you’ll need to have them backed up to your computer through iTunes, as backing up through iCloud won’t allow you to view them.

Once you have your iPhone backed up to your computer, you can view your backed up text messages using third-party software. iExplorer is the easiest piece of software that we’ve used that can be used to view your backed up text messages.

To view your backed up text messages in iExplorer, plug in your iPhone and open up iExplorer. From there, follow these steps:

  • Click on your iPhone in the left-hand sidebar. A summary of your device should appear in the main window.
  • Click on the Data tab and then click Messages. All of your text messages that you have backed up will appear just like they did on your iPhone when you originally backed it up.


This is especially great for record-keeping purposes, and iExplorer even lets you export a conversation thread using plain text, .CSV, or .PDF. To do this, simply click on Export Conversation toward the upper-right corner of the window and then pick your option.



  1. Johnny Tucats

    01/24/2015 at 9:45 am

    These days I think “Back Up” implies being able to restore. What you’re describing is more like saving or exporting.

  2. Jonathan

    10/26/2015 at 2:48 am

    iPhone messages could be backed up to iCloud and iTunes just like Apple says on its site, and of course there’re some transfer tools such as iExplorer and AnyTrans, which you can use to transfer messages to computer.

    The point I want to share is that, you cannot backup only messages to iCloud or iTunes on your iPhone, and cannot view messages on iCloud Backup and iTunes Backup except you restore with the backup.

    • Kelleefornia

      10/26/2015 at 10:38 am

      Jonathon can you put this in terms someone as ignorant about the cloud as myself is? :-)

  3. Sunny Brown

    11/30/2015 at 3:16 am

    Backup you iPhone sms to computer with the guide above.

  4. Megan Price

    12/01/2015 at 4:53 am

    Another good one to use is TouchCopy. It will backup text messages, multimedia messages, iMessages and Whatsapp messages, as detailed here

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