How can I restore my text messages after restoring my iPhone to factory settings?
Question by Alex /
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I was told by an Apple employee that my iPhone software was corrupted and that I should restore my iPhone to its factory settings. He said that when prompted to restore from a backup to choose to set it up as a new phone, so as to prevent myself from restoring corrupted settings/files.

My issue here is that I want to keep my text messages. Once I’ve essentially wiped my iPhone and made it new – can I restore only my saved text messages?

I have located the file on my PC where my texts are saved from backups. Can I essentially copy that over to the new backup? Any other options?


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Answers (15)
  • ksha

    Howa can I recover my text messages from my iphone

  • Blackford Oakes

    There is a program called Touch Copy that will do this for you. Only downside (I'm still trying to get an answer back from them on this) is that pictures embedded in the conversations don't seem to transfer. Other than that, everything is readable just like the original texts.

  • Sean

    Mike, did you ever find out how to factory reset AND keep your text messages? I'm having the same issue with my 4s - however, I'm unwilling to sacrifice my texts to get rid of bad software causing battery issues...


    • Susendeep Dutta

      It can be done.But you'll have to see that you make backup of your iPhone to iTunes before performing anything.Or you can remove those bad apps and backup your phone to iTunes and follow the steps below -

    • Mike

      As the name suggests a factory reset is used to set the device back to the state it came out of the factory. Naturally there is no data on it in this state.

      So what you are suggestion a "factory reset AND keep your text messages" doesn't work without additional actions required (and a backup of your old data).

      As I pointed out in a previous post you can either reset to factory defaults and then restore from a backup [which will put all old data, Apps, etc. back in place] or try to restore only the messages using some third party app.

      If your question is related to the latter - no, I never tried it. I either restore from a backup or start over.

      If you do have some "ûber-important" text messages you don't want to lose yet don't want to restore your entire phone I suggest to make a screenshot of them (Sleep/Wake + Home button) and sync them to the device after you start over. At least it's easier and _works_ out of the box without fiddling with third party apps.

  • Mike

    Right now I can only think of restoring from a backup containing the text messages, then backing up the SMS database as described here, followed by a restore as a "new phone" and putting the database back in place on the phone.

    However (a) I don't know if this actually works and (b) since you already setup as a new phone you most likely don't have any old backup containing the old data.

    • Anonymous

      I have a backup, but when you try using the old file into the new 'iphone' itunes gives you an error message.

    • Mike

      In general there should be no problem restoring an old backup to a newer iOS version.

      Do have some error description or number on that? 

      Right now I can only think of the backup files being corrupted too - as suspected by the Apple support.

    • Alexandra

      If you have an iTunes backup you can take a look at the iPhone Backup Extractor tool.


    • Onisy

      This iPhone SMS Backup & Restore program can help you extract messages from iTunes back to your iPhone.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah I checked that out. Turns out that doesn't work for iPhone 4. 

      Sorry, forgot to mention I got the 4.

    • WadeAn

      A program called Backuptrans iPhone SMS Backup & Restore also can help.

      I found it from Good luck!

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