Thursday, May 30, 2013
Back Up Your iPhone's SMS Messages and Voice Mails
It sounds like a two-for-one deal, but it's actually two tips in one. Hongkiat.com has a great article on how to back up SMS messages from an iPhone. I see three methods for this, and two of them require your computer. The iOS being a closed system makes it more difficult to do this than on, say, an Android phone. It requires locating your SMS Backup file. On my Android phone, I just downloaded an amazing app called SMS Backup which gets an average rating of 4.6 stars from all of its reviewers in the Google Play Store. That is high praise, and since I have used it successfully, I also checked in with a 5-star rating. It couldn't be simpler. You just install the app and tap the Backup button and it backs up all of your SMS messages to your Gmail account and creates an SMS section at the left, which syncs all of your current and future texts into that Gmail folder. Every time I get a text on my phone, it goes directly into the SMS label in my Gmail. But this is only on an Android phone. So, I did a Google search for "SMS Backup for iPhone" and the top result was the article on Hongkiat.com above. As you read that article and its included tutorial, you will see that it requires the use of this site once you locate your SMS Backup file. This is a process, and not necessarily a fun one either, unless you consider yourself a techie.
This brings me to another method. Let me introduce you to CopyTrans and how to use it to back up iPhone SMS Text Messages. If you haven't discovered CopyTrans yet, then you haven't had an iPhone or iPod backup dilemma yet, or you haven't lost all of your music due to a bad computer hard drive...or maybe you have and just don't want to think about it. I first found out about CopyTrans when one of my customers' hard drive died and she had all of her music safely on her iPod Touch. Then, she tried to sync it back to a new hard drive, and lost everything. Over 5,000 songs. CopyTrans will prevent that from happening on all iOS devices, and it also manages your iPhone Contacts, Calendars, SMS, Notes, etc. from one place. It is a desktop app called CopyTrans Control Center and the article above shows where to get it. I found that CopyTrans cost $19.95 which was money well spent, but there are different components in the Control Center, including CopyTrans Photo, CopyTrans Contacts, CopyTrans Doctor (which repairs an iPod or recovers missing or deleted songs). Either way, it is well worth your time to discover and explore this set of tools.
Now, what about backing up your voice mails on the iPhone? Pinglio.com has a wonderful article on their site on "How to save your iPhone's voicemails for safe-keeping." This is also a process, and it requires the use of a desktop utility for Windows or Mac called iBackupBot and, of course, iTunes installed on your computer. The article includes screenshots of what you will see and what you can extract from the backup. Interestingly, I found out that voice mails on an iPhone are in the file format .amr which can be opened in QuickTime. However, Audacity (open-source freeware for Windows and Mac) will open and convert these files to WAV or MP3 if you'd like a more conventional file format from which to play them. Check out the Pinglio article above for the step-by-step tutorial, which is really helpful.
The last method, and probably the easiest, is to just set up Google Voice. I use Google Voice every day. For those unaware of its features, it will store all of your text and voice messages online (in two separate Google Voice folders or sections). Voice mails are also converted to text, so you have a transcript of them. Everything is time and date-stamped. Texts are threaded by person, while voice mails are organized in descending order by call. Messages can be downloaded as MP3s, forwarded by e-mail and replied to by text. Notes can also be added to each message. Google will even let you call the phone number of your voice mail message from your computer or phone. The point being, don't make this harder than it needs to be. Google can simplify this text and voice mail backup process for you.
So there you have it: a two-for-one tip. How to back up your voice mail and your text messages on an iPhone. The tools discussed above may be overwhelming at first, but it shows that these processes are possible in a variety of ways. While it may be a bit easier on an Android phone with a simple app, it is possible in a variety of different ways on all platforms.