How to Save Text Messages to Your Gmail Account?

It’s so simple to back up your text messages from your Android phone to your Gmail account that there’s no excuse not to do it and make them searchable in the process. Continue reading to learn how to convert your Gmail account into an SMS vault.

What You’ll Need

It’s really simple to misplace your SMS messages. Everything from moving phones to shaky fingers may put your communications in the path of the digital reaper—just last night, I mistakenly deleted a big SMS thread when I actually just meant to delete a single message that refused to transmit.

The process of backing up your SMS texts to your Gmail account is so straightforward that there’s no excuse not to do it. You’ll need three things for this tutorial.

  • Your Android phone
  • A Gmail account
  • A free copy of SMS Backup+ from the Google Play Store

Step 1: Set up your Gmail account for IMAP access

Click "Enable IMAP."

To work, SMS Backup+ requires IMAP access to your Gmail account. Let’s take a minute to verify the status of the Gmail account we intend to use with the program.

Navigate to Settings > Forwarding and POP/IMAP in your Gmail account. Check the box next to “Enable IMAP,” then scroll down and click “Save Changes.”

If you haven’t done, go to the Google Security page and enable two-factor authentication.

Click “App Passwords,” then enter your login credentials.

Click "App Passwords."

Set the drop-down box labeled “Select Apps” to “Other (Custom Name).”

Click Select App, then select "Other" from the drop down menu.

Set a descriptive name, such as SMS Backup+, and then click “Generate.”

You will be given a password. Keep the window open, or store this password somewhere secure for the time being. You’ll need it in a minute.

Step 2: Install and set up SMS Backup+

Now that we’ve enabled the IMAP functionality in our Gmail account, it’s time to install SMS Backup+. Download the app from the Google Play Store. It’s time to start setting the program after it’s been installed. Start the application.

The initial step is to login into your Gmail account. Select “Advanced Settings.”

Tap "Advanced Settings."

Then, select “Custom IMAP Server.”

Tap "Custom IMAP Server."

Change the “Authentication” setting from “XOAuth2 (Gmail)” to “Plain Text.”

Select "Plain Text."

Tap “Server Address,” enter “” as the IMAP server address, and then click “OK.”

Type the server address into the text field, then click "OK."

Then proceed through the remaining choices, entering your email address, the password you just created and ensuring that “Security” is set to TLS. You are not required to select “Trust All Certificates,” so leave it unchecked.

Return to the main menu and select “Backup”.

Tap "Backup."

The backup process will begin and will take anything from a minute to a half-hour (or longer) to finish, depending on the number of messages you have. It moves at a few messages each second.

SMS Syncing to Gmail.

You don’t even have to wait until the procedure is complete to verify the status of your Gmail account. Use a web browser to access your Gmail account. In the sidebar, you’ll see a new label: “SMS.” Simply click on it.

SMS/MMS shown in the gmail inbox.

SMS Backup+ automatically backs up both SMS and MMS communications. Not only are all of our text conversations there, but the photographs we’ve exchanged back and forth are also backed up to Gmail. Now that everything is running smoothly, let’s have a look at some advanced choices.

Step 3 (Optional): Enable Automatic Backups

If you just do one thing before leaving this guide, it is to enable the automatic backup feature. Leaving items to manual backup is a certain way to forget about them. Touch “Auto backup” from the main screen to enable it, and then tap “Auto backup settings” to specify the frequency. The default setting is a little too harsh. You may want to reduce the frequency of backups.

Options to decrease sync frequency.

You can also configure it to exclusively backup through Wi-Fi. As a result, if you’re backing up a lot of MMS, you won’t deplete your mobile data.

Tick "Require Wifi."

Return to the main screen and navigate to Advanced Settings after you’ve configured the automatic backup. There, you may customize the backup, restore, and notification settings. Under “Backup,” you can change several important settings, such as turning off MMS backup (again, to conserve data usage) and creating a whitelist of contacts you want to be stored up (instead of the default where every single message is backed up).

Advanced backup settings,

There isn’t much to look at under the Restore options, but you may use a Gmail-specific method. SMS Backup+ establishes a thread for each contact when it keeps your texts in Gmail. You may instruct SMS Backup+ to only recover contacts with starred threads, allowing you to quickly choose which conversations are significant enough to restore using Gmail’s star system.

Restore options menu,

So there you have it. All of your text messages (including multimedia files) are stored in Gmail, where you can simply look for them and restore them to your handset if necessary.

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