When you set up a new iPhone your Messages app will be empty. This tutorial shows you how to transfer text messages from one iPhone to another.
How to transfer text messages from one iPhone to another is a useful trick to know. This article looks at how to transfer SMS and iMessage texts from one iPhone to another using iCloud Backup, or backing up text messages to a Mac using an app called PhoneView.
When you buy a new iPhone, you’ll have a lot of new features to play with, but you’ll also lose a few old things along the way. Each new copy of the Messages app is empty of all your old conversations, these can be important work chats or sentimental conversations. Either way, they’re important, and you don’t want to lose them. Here we’re going to look at ways to transfer text messages from one iPhone to another.
Transfer text messages with iCloud backup
Text messages are contained within the iCloud backup. So you can use iCloud backup to transfer and restore all your text messages from one iPhone to another. The only caveat is that messages forms part of the wider backup and restore, so you’ll have to restore device settings and app data at the same time (which removes any new messages from your iPhone). So this technique is best to use when you are setting up a new iPhone.
This Apple Support document lists all the items that are backed up and restored by iCloud
Follow these steps to backup and restore Messages (and other app data) from one iPhone to another:
- Connect the old iPhone to a power source and turn on Wi-Fi.
- On the old iPhone tap Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup.
- Turn on iCloud Backup.
- Tap Back Up Now (and wait for the backup process to complete).
- Turn on your new iPhone. If you haven’t done so already, you’ll need to go through the setup process. When asked, tap Restore from iCloud Backup and Next. If you have already been through the setup process, you’ll need to reset your iPhone. Tap on Settings > General > Reset and > Erase All Content and Settings.
- Enter your Apple ID and Password
Your new iPhone now displays all your messages from the old iPhone, along with all your other apps, photos, emails and other app data.
Backup SMS and iMessages texts to your Mac
If you want to transfer text messages from one iPhone to another without using a backup and restore process, then you’ll need a third-party app. There are a few available that allow you to access and save the data from an iPhone. We’re going to use an app called PhoneView.
Here is how to use an app called PhoneView to access the messages on your iPhone:
- Install the Phone View app.
- Open and click OK to the “PhoneView” would like to access your contacts window.
- Connect your iPhone to your Mac using the USB cable.
- Click Archive in the PhoneView alert window that appears.
- Click Messages in the Sidebar and OK to the Now Loading Phone Data window. It takes a few minutes for the iPhone data to load into the PhoneView program (a blue progress bar at the bottom of the sidebar on the left shows how to data load is going).
- The names of people you have had conversations appears in the middle column. Select a person to view the text messages you have shared with them.
- You can drag the name of a person directly to the desktop to save that conversation as a PDF file.
- To extract all of your messages select All and click Copy From iPhone. Choose a location and click Save.
You can change the type of file PhoneView saves from PDF File to a text file, tab delimited file, CSV or XML (this makes it easy to import into a spreadsheet such as Numbers or Excel).
What you can’t do, unfortunately, is copy these messages back into the Messages app. You can, however, copy them to a compatible app on the iPhone (iBooks works, but we prefer an app like GoodReader for viewing PDF files). You can email them to yourself or use iTunes File Sharing to copy the files across.