I recently had a situation where I did an iTunes restore to an iPhone 5 (and iOS 7.1), and for some reason it did not restore all the personal data such as message history, call logs, photos, etc.
This was obviously highly frustrating! I have no idea why the iTunes Restore missed these things, and Apple support was no help. So, this article will probably help you if you are in a situation similar to what I was in: messages and other data were missing from iPhone after iTunes restore.
I found a lot of programs out there that would allow me to extract the messages and download them to my computer, but this wasn’t all that helpful. I really wanted to get them back on to the iPhone.
Well, I am pleased to report there is a program that does this, and it actually works! The program is called Backuptrans iPhone SMS Backup & Restore, you can find a link here: http://www.backuptrans.com/iphone-sms-backup-restore.html
I was able to restore over 75,000 SMS messages to the phone. No jailbreak required. I was able to merge those messages with a few message that were already on the phone since after the restore. I highly recommend this program! At the time of this writing, it costs $20USD, but in my mind it is well worth that cost as there is no other way (that I know of) to recover these to your phone (unless you are jailbroken, but this article is not about that).
One caveat: It will not recover MMS messages/pictures, only text. Also, it appears that it perhaps converts iMessages to Texts, but still, to get all these back on your phone is great! Also, you do need to have a valid iTunes Backup that includes your messages.
There are instructions on their website but here are a few instructions to do the recovery:
- Purchase, download and install Backuptrans SMS Backup & Restore: http://www.backuptrans.com/iphone-sms-backup-restore.html
- You will have to turn off Find my iPhone and iCloud backup temporarily for this. So, go ahead and do that now.
- When you open the program, you will first want to load the iTunes backup that contains your messages. To do this, choose the option “Import SMS from iTunes Backup to Local Database.”
- You will be presented with a list of backups to choose from. Choose the backup that contains your messages, click “Confirm.” It will then ask you to give a name for the local database. Do this, and you will see it listed under Local Databases, like so:
- So, you will notice that it has all your contacts on the left, and all the messages on the right. NOTE: If you have downloaded the trial, it will only show you 20 SMS messages, so if you are not seeing all your messages, you probably don’t have the purchased version.
- Now, go ahead and plug in your iPhone. If you have a passcode you will want to unlock it. Also, make sure and turn off Find my iPhone and iCloud backup if you haven’t done so already (you can turn these back on once the process is complete).
- When you connect your phone it will “back up” your data. Give it some time to do this. You will now see your phone listed under “Devices”, and on the right side you should see all your messages on your phone (if you have any).
- This step is only if you want to merge the messages on your phone since recovery with your old messages. If you have no new messages, you can skip this step. Right-click on your phone under “Devices” and choose “Backup SMS from this iPhone to local database”.
It will ask you which database to merge into. Choose the database that you created in step 4, the local database. It will now merge all your messages from your phone into the same database as your old messages.
- Now, once that’s done, it’s time to put your messages back on your phone! Right-click the database name under local databases (the one you created in step 4). Make sure to right-click at the databse level, not the individual messages level. Choose the option “Transfer SMS from Database to iPhone”.
- That’s it! It will now go through the process of uploading all those messages back to your phone.
One issue I did face was a message about insufficient disk space on the phone. I don’t know how much free space is required, they do not make that clear, however to be safe, you may want to do this process before adding music and other large media to your phone.
I hope this article helps! Let me know in the comments if this works for you.