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Restore SMS history from one phone to another iOS devices
Imagine you've purchased a new and shiny iPhone 3GS. Imagine as well that you had an equally-shiny iPhone 3G since day one of its introduction (more or less one year). You set up your 3GS as a new phone in iTunes, in order not to mess with settings and whatnot, only to discover that one year's worth of SMS are lost in your new unit!

Well...fear no more, as you can easily restore the SMS database into your new unit, starting from the backup of the old unit. Read on for the how-to...

First, disable the option Automatically sync when this iPhone is connected in iTunes before starting this procedure (assuming it's enabled in the Summary tab of your iPhone). Then follow these steps:
  1. Navigate to the folder ~/Libary » Applications Support » MobileSync » Backup.
  2. In the folder found above, there will be n subfolders containing your n iPhone backup sets (those iTunes makes when you connect your iPhone to your computer). In my case, I had two subfolders, one for the 3G and the other for the 3GS. The name of each folder will be a string of 40 randomish hex characters.
  3. Sort the view by date--this will let you easily tell which subfolder belongs to which phone; enter the one that belongs to the phone that contains your SMS history (or the source iPhone, if you like). The other will be named destination iPhone.
  4. Option-drag this latter folder to the desktop for safety, in case something goes south along the journey.
  5. Copy these two files...
    3d0d7e5fb2ce288813306e4d4636395e047a3d28.mddata
    3d0d7e5fb2ce288813306e4d4636395e047a3d28.mdinfo

    ...from the source iPhone backup folder to the destination iPhone backup folder. The Finder will warn you about overwriting the existing files; just do it.
  6. Connect your destination iPhone to the computer and fire up iTunes (since it shouldn't have started by itself if you followed the initial note).
  7. When your iPhone appears under Devices in your iTunes sidebar, Control-click it and select the 'Restore from Backup...' option.
  8. Select the backup related to your device (i.e. the backup of the destination iPhone that you just 'patched' with the two files coming from the source iPhone).
  9. Have a cup of coffee and let the magic happen!
Once the restore process completes (mine took about five minutes in total), your new iPhone will be untouched in every way, except it will contain all of your beloved short messages. Of course, this procedure might be extended to other kind of information to be patched from one phone to another ... more to come (when I'll discover something new).
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Restore SMS history from one phone to another | 20 comments | Create New Account
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Use it to intentionally erase all SMSs?
Authored by: rusharound on Jun 25, '09 08:39:05AM

I have the opposite problem. I want to delete a year's worth of SMS texts on my <i>un</i>jailbroken phone. Can I use this trick to delete all of them?



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Use it to intentionally erase all SMSs?
Authored by: joshforman on Jun 25, '09 09:32:32AM

Can't you just remove each thread right in the Messaging app by swiping then choosing delete?

---
Josh Forman

http://www.jofo.com/



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Use it to intentionally erase all SMSs?
Authored by: Ementa on Feb 05, '12 07:02:31PM
Great! I have a program can backup SMS from iPhone to computer. Works great so I share it here. Good luck!

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Restore SMS history from one phone to another
Authored by: joshforman on Jun 25, '09 08:40:18AM

Generally speaking, how do you know which backup file (mdinfo/mddata pair) is the one you need? I'd like to know so I can do the same type of restore for some 3rd-party apps.

Thanks!


---
Josh Forman

http://www.jofo.com/



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Restore SMS history from one phone to another
Authored by: nicksageek on Jun 25, '09 12:58:03PM

I'm not sure if this is truly a problem. I just received my 3GS in the mail today, did a FULL backup of the 3G, then connected the new 3GS and restored from backup. All of my years worth of SMS were still there.

Good hint though, if this can be applied to other restores, it would be very useful.



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Restore SMS history from one phone to another
Authored by: joshforman on Jun 25, '09 01:46:24PM

In this scenario, you've started fresh with the 3Gs rather than restored the old data.

---
Josh Forman

http://www.jofo.com/



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Restore SMS history from one phone to another
Authored by: sipatel on Jun 28, '09 07:26:21AM

Except... look at the Usage figures for your brand-spanking-new 3GS and it will now show the same usage as the 3G. One hour after I bought my 3GS, I restored my original iPhone to the 3GS as opposed to setting it up as a New iPhone. The Usage shows as 9 Days and some hours!



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Restore SMS history from one phone to another
Authored by: zpjet on Jun 29, '09 10:05:41AM

So what is actually in these files? Is it SMS only? or another data as well?

I'm looking for another solution: would it be possible to MERGE two files with SMS? I had the first phone, then got 3g, did it as new one for a reason i don't remember, and still have the old files which i wouldn't mind to add - so just i could show off, look, these are texts i keep since i bought the first iphone.

Thanks in advance if someone figures this out!



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Some more info...
Authored by: cycomachead on Jul 06, '09 06:47:27PM

No, there are 2 files for each app. 1 is the info file which identifies with the app. That's the .mdinfo file and the .mddata file contains setting and, well, data for the app.

I think these identifiers are universal accross all apps. I can tell the one for the FaceBook app is: 384eb9e62ba50d7f3a21d9224123db62879ef423
-that's based on randomly browsing it's data file.

The mdinfo file contains some identifier that's broken up into 8 character sections and I don't know if it's possible to convert them into real names.



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Ummmm
Authored by: cycomachead on Jul 06, '09 06:57:43PM

Well, all the above is said is still ture, but I've got 1,923 files in the backup folder!!!!!!! That's including 3 non related files and 2 for each so that means there's still 960 pairs of files! I've got no more than 80 apps on my phone!



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Restore SMS history from one phone to another
Authored by: jlftrsh on Jun 29, '09 04:00:17PM

I've tried this twice and haven't been able to make it work. The second time I pulled the two specified files off a Time Capsule backup taken right before I got my iPhone 3GS. Even though I've pulled the old files and overwritten the ones in my iPhone 3GS backup, then restored from it, I still only see those few text messages I've accumulated since the switch. Wish I knew what the problem was.



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Restore SMS history from one phone to another
Authored by: soundsgoodtome on Jun 29, '09 08:59:34PM
wish i'd had these instructions on friday, the 19th! i hated losing my texts (why doesn't apple include them when restoring??) now, the problem is that i've got 10 days' worth of new texts i don't want to lose by restoring the old ones. so what i really need is a way to merge the old and the new. :-) anyone??

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Restore SMS history from one phone to another
Authored by: zpjet on Jul 01, '09 12:10:56AM

Apple does include them when restoring, that's the purpose of restore. Yours didn't? But yeah, I'm also looking for a way to merge.



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Restore SMS history from one phone to another
Authored by: Mokejh on Dec 23, '12 11:00:21PM

To restore SMS from iTunes back to your iPhone, a program called Backuptrans iPhone SMS Backup & Restore can help. Google and try it.



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Restore SMS history from one phone to another
Authored by: ngau on Jul 22, '09 10:25:40PM
This didn't work at all for me... One forum stated that these files are encrypted for each individual backup so you cannot just replace them.

- see: http://www.hackint0sh.org/forum/f203/75602.htm

After a day of trying different things I finally figured out how to get a fresh iPhone with ONLY sms restored. To do this:
1. Copy the two files as described (3d0d7e5f...) from the 'source' backup to a temporary directory. In addition also copy the three files:
a) Info.plist
b) Manifest.plist
c) Status.plist

2. Do a 'restore' and opt to setup a new phone rather than backup.
3. Navigate to the source directory (~/Library/Application.../MobileSync/Backup/) and delete everything in this directory (Maybe make a backup if you want to be safe).
4. Copy the 5 files in the temporary directory into the 'empty' source directory.
5. Return to iTunes, right click on the iPhone and perform a 'restore from backup'.

Voila. Fresh phone with only the SMS backed up.


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Restore SMS history from one phone to another
Authored by: rhazz on Oct 01, '10 11:33:21AM

Edit: thought solution had worked but didn't. :(

Edited on Oct 01, '10 12:14:36PM by rhazz



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Restore SMS history from one phone to another
Authored by: nicochi on Dec 08, '10 07:58:09PM

I successfully restored my SMS on my iPhone using this method on my old 3GS and have continued to use the continued back ups now to my iPhone 4, my only issue is that I now cannot receive/send MMS or at least see the ones I've some how received and the ones I try to send never finish sending. I'm hoping my database isn't corrupted.

Any suggestions?



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Restore SMS history from one phone to another
Authored by: Wastes on Jul 16, '12 02:24:14AM
I just found a program called Backuptrans iPhone SMS Transfer on download.com can easily transfer iPhone SMS to other iPhone. No jailbreak required. Free download from: http://download.cnet.com/Backuptrans-iPhone-SMS-Transfer/3000-18545_4-75747215.html Best luck!
Edited on Jul 16, '12 02:25:14AM by Wastes


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Restore SMS history from one phone to another
Authored by: qinqing on Jan 14, '12 06:52:03AM

I have ever use Tansee iPhone Transfer SMS.

Tansee iPhone Transfer SMS (iphone SMS messages backup software) is designed for iphone users to backup/transfer SMS messages to computer,and view/manage SMS in computer.With Tansee iPhone Transfer SMS,you can keep your SMS messages safe.What’s more,you can protect the SMS messages with a password to keep your privacy.

http://www.recovery-iphone.com/tansee-iphone-transfer-sms.html



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Restore SMS history from one phone to another
Authored by: slb0033 on Oct 10, '13 08:43:01PM

hi,

I tried this and itunes told me it couldnt restore my backup because the file was corrupt and it couldnt be decoded properly. is there any hope of getting my files back?



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