Ask LH: Will Google Hangouts Back Up My SMS Messages?

Dear Lifehacker, I have a Nexus 5 and I have started using the Google Hangouts app for SMS my friends. But I'm wondering: are the SMS messages also backed up into Google? Thanks, Nexus Newbie

Dear NN,

The use of Hangouts rather than the standard Android SMS app is one of the major changes in Android KitKat, and the Nexus 5 uses this option by default. You can also choose to use Hangouts on any Android device running 4.0 or a subsequent version.

Given that most Google services are accessed via Google's own servers, you might easily assume that SMS messages accessed through Hangouts also fall into this category and are backed up — but you'd be wrong.

Google's own support page explaining how Hangouts works as an SMS client make this quite clear:

Google does not upload your texts or back them up so they won't show up on other Hangouts apps if you log in with that same account on another device or computer.

In this respect, Hangouts behaves the same way as older versions of Android — SMS messages remain resident on the device and aren't synced, unlike email messages, bookmarks or app downloads. If you want SMS backup into the cloud, you'll need to use a separate app.

Cheers Lifehacker

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    I use G Cloud to back up my SMS's. It a pretty good app as it can also back up almost everything on your phone. It's pretty limited if you have a few gig worth of stuff to backup, but since I can just move all of it to a PC I only use it for the SMS's.

    If you're after a cloud syncing option, then mysms is a great choice. It also allows sending SMS from another ios/android device via its mirror app.

    I use SMS Backup+ (, which backs up straight to Gmail, which gives you the benefits of Gmail's search and large storage space.

    Connect your Android device to your computer (Windows or Mac should both work) via the USB cable.
    2. On your Android, pull down the main menu (swipe down from the top of the screen) and select "USB connection."
    3. On the next page, choose USB Mass Storage and hit OK.
    4. You'll see a new drive or "Removable Disk" appear on your computer for the SD card. Open it up, and copy all the files inside to a new location on your computer. I would put the date right into the name of the folder—something like "130815_ANDROID-SD-CARD-BACKUP"—so you can very easily identify it and when it was created.
    Or you can use MobiKin Assistant for Android:

    Last edited 16/06/15 11:35 am

    You can download sms backup apps from playstore. Personally, I prefer to use Coolmuster Android assistant. It would be the best solution to backup your sms to computer:

    Last edited 13/07/16 1:44 pm

    No, not unless you backed up your SMS's online or to your computer in some manner, or have an app like SMS Backup+ running doing automatic backups of all your text messages. Or Go SMS Pro makes backups to your SD card or online in some manner. No backups, no way to retrieve what you have deleted.

    I also would suggest you download Mobiledic Android manager, and use it, so this will not happen in the future.
    Many such apps backup SMS to PC and call logs to your Gmail account, under the default boxed SMS and Call Log, in the same order the messages came in with time stamps, contact info and phone numbers.

    Last edited 01/08/16 12:14 pm

    Does anyone know how to get hangouts SMS messages off the phone? I have been using hangouts to text from my carrier number for a few months now. I want to start using google messenger. I have changed my default sms app, but the old messages don't migrate. Messages I have received since I made the switch are fine.

    I really don't want to lose my messages. Any ideas?

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