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Kim's column

How to save text messages on iOS and Android

Not too long ago, an Instagram follower reached out to me because she lost all of her text messages. That included a three-year thread with her husband, who just passed away. You can imagine the heartbreak.

With all we do and store on our devices, we have so much to lose. If you don’t save things the right way, you’re one crash away from your files disappearing forever. Tap or click for ways to check if your computer’s hard disk is failing.

Looking at your phone, there are messages you don’t want to lose. You can back them up using your phone’s native apps or go with a third-party option.

One great option for iPhone owners

Your iCloud account is powerful. It holds your messages, photos, mail, contacts, notes, passwords and much more.

Messages in iCloud are updated automatically so that you can see them across all your devices. That means if your iPhone bites the dust, you’ll be able to access your messages on a Mac, iPad, or other Apple device with your Apple ID.

Just note, when you delete a message or conversation from one device, it disappears from your account altogether.

To ensure your messages are being saved, open Settings on your iPhone and tap your name. Then tap iCloud and toggle Messages On.

Tip in a Tip: Want to organize your iPhone apps? You don’t have to move them one at a time. Move multiple apps by long-pressing on one app with one finger, then use another finger to tap and drag another icon. Stack it on the first app you selected.

Continue stacking apps. When you’re done, drag and drop the entire stack to wherever you want. Tap or click here for more smart iPhone tricks and tips. 

Or try this option

If you don’t want to rely on iCloud, iExplorer lets you access, view, and transfer music, messages, photos, and files from any iOS device to any Mac or PC.

The iExplorer SMS client works with all sorts of text messages, including groups and messages containing media like videos and images. iExplorer lets you access and save your iPhone’s messages to your Mac or PC as a .PDF, .TXT, or .CSV document.

Here’s how to transfer text messages from your iOS device to your computer:

  • Connect your iPhone to your computer and open iExplorer.
  • Click on the Data tab and then the Messages button.
  • If you haven’t created an iTunes backup on this computer, you’ll be asked if you’d like to. Choose Yes. If you already have an iTunes backup and it’s more than 24 hours old, iExplorer will ask whether you’d like to Use Last Backup or Refresh.
  • When iExplorer is finished loading your messages, choose a conversation in the left panel. Use the icons to filter by date range, show attachments, or simply export the entire conversation. 

For Android, try this app

If you have an Android phone, there are helpful apps that make the backup process easy. SMS Backup & Restore is a solid option with good reviews.

The app creates a local backup, in XML format, of the messages and call logs on your phone when you run it. You can do this manually or schedule recurring backups automatically. You can then save that backup to your cloud storage of choice.

The app can restore messages from existing backups, too. This includes group messages and messages containing pictures, music, and videos.

Here’s how to use SMS Backup & Restore:

  • Download and launch the app and grant the necessary permissions.
  • Tap Set Up a Backup. Turn off Call logs if you just want to back up your messages, then tap Next.
  • Select your cloud storage and log in. When you’re ready, tap Save.
  • Select your upload options: Over Wi-Fi and/or While Charging and tap Next.
  • Choose a backup frequency, then tap Back Up Now.

Speaking of Android, you can make your Android device work with your Windows PC. It’s easy! Tap or click here for the steps to connect an Android phone to a Windows 10 PC.

Bonus Tip: Cybersecurity 101: Inside the mind of a hacker

Check out my podcast “Kim Komando Explains” on Apple, Google Podcasts, or your favorite podcast player.

Online scams reach new heights just about every month. How can you protect yourself? You need to get in the head of a criminal. That’s why Kim sat down with IBM social engineer Stephanie Carruthers, aka _sn0ww, about the surge in spam that preys on fears and confusion. Listen now to stay safe out there.

Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for my last name, “Komando.”

Follow me on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television, or computer.

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