You've purchased and set up your first Android device and are about to make the final move from the iOS platform. However, you don't have your old SMS messages. For some users, that isn't a problem (it was time for a good house cleaning anyway). Other users might have messages that contain important information that they have to refer back to. If you're of the latter type, you've probably searched high and low for an easy route to success. There really isn't one. Migrating iPhone SMS to Android isn't nearly as easy as it should be.
Fortunately, I have a step-by-step process that should help you get those messages over to your Android device. You'll need your iPhone, iTunes, and two apps. Let's begin this beguine.
Step 1: Extracting your iPhone SMS messages
This is the most time-consuming step, because you have to perform a full backup of your iPhone using iTunes. Here's how:
- Open iTunes on your PC
- Connect your iPhone to the computer
- From the main iTunes page (your phone Summary — Figure A), check This computer for the backup location and click Back Up Now
- Allow the backup to complete
The latest version of iTunes doesn't use the standard left navigation tree.
Once the backup is complete, it's time to locate the backup file. Depending upon your platform, the backup file will be located:
- Windows: C://Users/Username/AppData/Roaming/Apple Computer/Mobile Sync (where Username is the actual username)
- Mac: ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup/
Within either of these folders, you'll see a number of folders named with random strings of characters. Find the folder with the most recent timestamp (which will be the most recent backup), and then look for the file named 3d0d7e5fb2ce288813306e4d4636395e047a3d28. Copy that file to the Android device in question. Place the file in a memorable location (such as the Download folder on the internal storage or the external SD if available).
Step 2: Install iSMS2droid
Now it's time to install the application necessary to convert the iPhone SMS messages to an Android-readable format. Here's what you need to do.
- Open up the Google Play Store
- Search for isms2droid
- Tap on the entry for that application
- Tap Install
- Tap Accept
- Allow the installation to complete
Step 3: Migrate and import
Once the application is installed, launch it, and then follow these steps:
- From the main window (Figure B), tap Select iPhone SMS Database
- Navigate to the copied file (from earlier)
- Tap the 3d0d7e5fb2ce288813306e4d4636395e047a3d28 file
- Tap All when prompted (if you want to import only select messages, tap Select and then select which messages you want to import)
Select iPhone SMS Database.
At this point, you should have an Android-readable SMS database saved and ready to restore. To do this properly, you'll need an app that allows for importing SMS databases. I prefer SMS Backup & Restore. Install this app (using similar instructions as used to install iSMS2droid), and then open the app when complete.
From within the main SMS Backup & Restore window, follow these steps:
- Tap Restore
- When prompted, tap Custom Folder
- Tap Browse
- Tap the up arrow (upper right corner — Figure C)
- Navigate to the SMSBackupRestore folder
- Tap the iSMS2droid.xml file
- Tap Use this folder (this will only happen during the first use)
Navigate to the file to be restored.
At this point, you need to choose a location to be used for backups (again, this should only happen upon first usage). You can use the default location or a custom folder — wherever you prefer. Once you've located the backup folder, tap OK, and then tap OK one more time.
The next window (Figure D), allows you to select to restore all message or a date range. Select what you want, and tap OK.
Select what you want to restore.
Finally, you'll be asked if you want SMS Backup & Restore to check for duplicates. Tap either No or Yes (depending upon your needs). Once you've made that selection, the backup process will begin. When it's completed, you'll probably be prompted to restart your phone — do so to ensure the messaging app doesn't have problems with the imported messages.
You should now have all of your iPhone SMS messages on your Android device! Have you migrated from an iPhone (or iPad) and found you needed certain information migrated over but couldn't manage the process? Let us know how you handled this issue in the discussion thread below.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.