Question How do I save old text messages?

gf1701

Well-known member
May 8, 2015
63
11
8
Visit site
I have a very very long text message thread, having never deleted any texts with this person. It’s out of hand. I want to delete them and start afresh, but I want to keep the old threads (I can do without the photos in them). I can’t find information on how best to do this. When I switched phones, I used SMSBackupRestore to transfer my text messages to the new phone (a Samsung S23+ running Android 14). But that app doesn’t (as far as I can tell) allow you to selectively back up threads: it’s all or none. And the backup format is XML, and the files created are HUGE. My browsers run out of memory when I try to open these XML files. The only way to read them is with a viewer on the SMSBackupRestore website; without access to that, it seems that the files are unreadable. I also tried the Messages archive feature. But as soon as I received another text from that person, Messages restored the archive and added new text messages to that already lengthy thread. I want to save my texts in a readable format for back-reference, then start a completely new set of threads with this person. Is anyone out there doing this, and if so, how are you accomplishing it?
 

mustang7757

Super Moderator
Moderator
Feb 6, 2017
92,085
6,649
113
Visit site
Hi , I back up my messages old and new through Samsung PC Smart switch and u can make multiple and restore anytime but it does all not selected, not sure about sms back up but heard members use it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Laura Knotek

SeeBeeEss

Well-known member
Jan 5, 2019
133
280
63
Visit site
I use the paid (remove ads) version of SMS Backup and Restore. I am currently using version 10.20.002. Although I don't use it, you can back up specific text conversation threads by going to Settings, then tap Backup Settings, enable Selected Conversations Only, and then check any individual conversation threads you wish to backup.

You can view your selected conversation, or any other SMS backup, in the app by tapping the 3 lines upper left and tapping View Backups. Select the location you have backed up to (local, Google Drive, etc.) and tap the backup you wish to view. All of any conversation thread will be viewable.

If I haven't explained this well enough, let me know and I will try again.
1000000928.png
 

gf1701

Well-known member
May 8, 2015
63
11
8
Visit site
Thanks. It looks like it only costs $5.00 (one-time?) for the paid version, so that is an option. But ideally, I would like to copy the messages to an easily-readible format, not XML. And I don't know if the XML backup that SMSBackupRestore would create would be small enough in size for a browser to open it. So if I can't find anything that does what I want, the paid version of SMSBackupRestore would be worth a try. But I'd like to find a way to produce the readable files I'm looking for. (I wonder if there are other messaging apps that contain a feature like that.)
 
  • Like
Reactions: SeeBeeEss

SeeBeeEss

Well-known member
Jan 5, 2019
133
280
63
Visit site
Thanks. It looks like it only costs $5.00 (one-time?) for the paid version, so that is an option. But ideally, I would like to copy the messages to an easily-readible format, not XML. And I don't know if the XML backup that SMSBackupRestore would create would be small enough in size for a browser to open it. So if I can't find anything that does what I want, the paid version of SMSBackupRestore would be worth a try. But I'd like to find a way to produce the readable files I'm looking for. (I wonder if there are other messaging apps that contain a feature like that.)
The paid version is indeed a one time cost. For clarity, reading your backed up messages in the paid version of SMS Backup & Restore is quick (instantaneous) and easy (well organized and formulated) within the paid app - no browser required. You can also decide to only backup the conversations (just text) or back them up with any attachments and media (files, pics, videos, etc.), as well as print off any backed up conversation thread from the app. The XML file backups are indeed large and just to see an example of how large a single thread might be, I backed up a 1221 message thread with pics, video, etc. and it came to 25MB. While the app is not perfect and may not be the optimum solution for what you are looking for, it was the best option I could find after testing a great many similar apps. Personally, I have been very happy with the app - but it does everything I need a backup app to do.

Please let us know how your search goes and if you find something that actually does what you are wanting to do. Others here may be looking to find the same (or similar) solution to meet their needs.
 

Golfdriver97

Trusted Member Team Leader
Moderator
Dec 4, 2012
35,380
127
63
Visit site
I just tried one myself. I used this: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.idea.backup.smscontacts

One question that I have, is do you only have your phone to view these files? If you have a computer, you can view them with Microsft Visual Studio Code and even edit the file.

For me, the file looks like this:
<sms address="+[Removed by me]" time="May 5, 2024 3:19:42 PM" date="" type="2" body="I do too. I got a 3080 about a year after they launched " read="1" service_center="" name="" />

I was talking with a coworker about graphics cards for PC. I removed the phone number for obvious reasons, and the date, mainly because it didn't make sense (It wasn't in any kind of date format I am familiar with through coding).

You can highlight by phone number and delete the chucks that do not contain the phone number you want to keep. Tedious and time consuming? Yes. Will it work? Also Yes.

Link to Visual Studio Code: https://code.visualstudio.com/Download

Edit: My answer was originally shorter, but I figured I would at least give a solution preemptively in case someone else stumbled on this thread.
 
Last edited:

Forum statistics

Threads
944,416
Messages
6,922,710
Members
3,159,544
Latest member
golferchick