One of the most frustrating things that I’ve encountered with the iPhone, is doing backups and restores. Now admittedly, most people are okay with this, they just backup their iPhone with iTunes and restore with whenever necessary.

I like to take the backup and restore process a bit more seriously. For instance, I’ve actually created a starting point “stock” iTunes backup with all of my favorite apps, settings, mail accounts, etc.

Secondly, I have a separate backup for all of my jailbreak apps, tweaks, and settings. For this, I use PKGBackup.

I’ve found that the combination of the iTunes backup coupled with PKGBackup makes for a quick, and painless restore back to my favorite settings.

There’s one problem with this methodology though; it doesn’t backup all of my SMS messages

The main reason why SMS messages have to remain separate in my backup process, is because SMS messages are dynamic, you’re always receiving more messages each day.

Unlike email, there’s no cloud syncing options with SMS messages, there’s only the static iTunes backup.

The problem with this is that all of my SMS messages are lost when I restore to my stock “starting point” backup.

In order to work around this issue, I simply create a standalone SMS backup that I can restore to at any time.

Four Basic Steps For Backing Up and Restoring SMS Messages

1: Restore to iTunes backup

2: Jailbreak your device

3: Restore PKGBackup Settings

4: Restore PKGBackup SMS info

How do you normally handle backing up your SMS messages? Do you generally just stick with iTunes, or do you use some other method to accomplish something similar to what I’ve done?

I’m interested to hear your thoughts and comments about the process, so let me know in the comments section below.

For more info, be sure to check out our in-depth PKGBackup guide. For an abundance of iPhone video tutorials, feel free to check out the YouTube channel as well.

  • Nice!

  • Ben

    I don’t bother backing up my SMS with any software as I back it up manually by doing the following:

    – SSH to your phone and go to /private/var/mobile/Library/SMS
    – Save sms.db on your computer

    You can also manually backup contacts, calendars, notes, etc:

    How to save Contacts Database:
    – SSH into the iPhone and go to /private/var/mobile/Library/AddressBook
    – You will find 2 files there. Save them on your computer.

    How to backup Calendar:
    – SSH into your device and go to /private/var/mobile/Library/Calendar
    – Copy Calendar.sqlitedb to your computer

    How to backup Notes:
    – SSH into your dedvice and go to /private/var/mobile/Library/Notes
    – Copy notes.db and notes.idx to your computer

    ( taken from )

    • That way can work as well, and I’ve done it before. But I’ve also corrupted my database using that method before. Thanks for the info, I’m sure someone will like this method.

    • Can I restore the SMS to my new iPhone 5, after I had backup them?

  • Burge

    Backup SMS’s ..what ? Don’t you reply to your SMS ‘s …if a SMS is that important just copy and paste in notes app then do backup with iTunes .. And do a restore from that backup…

    • Sometimes you want to keep your complete unabridged history, especially for business or sentimental reasons.

  • Burge

    No wait ..isn’t your notes app linked to your email ..? Mine is , it just restores when I put the email address in …

  • thanks, I’ll try it.

  • Oscar Casas

    I personally use iBye to backup/restore my notes, SMS, calendar, and contacts. There’s more things you can back up, but those are tbe only ones I use. It’s really fast, uses dropbox, and it’s only $1.99 on Cydia.

  • Jacksparrow

    I use Ben method when I moved from 4.1 to 4.3.3. I copy the db files and not bother pay for package backup. Also appbackup is free to save an restore app settings.