How to import SMS and WhatsApp text messages to iPhone

the Reincubate Team

by the Reincubate Team

This article was updated in September 2017. Solution works with the latest iOS 10 & 11

The iPhone Backup Extractor helps users extract and download any kind of data from iTunes or iCloud backups. Photos, videos, messages, contacts, notes and more, can be extracted and viewed on a Windows or Mac OS X computer. But that's not all. Once that data is extracted, you may well want to import it back to your iPhone. Here's exactly how to do that for your SMS and WhatsApp messages.

Note: We recommend first you read this article through, and only get started if you are confident you can complete this process successfully.

Import WhatsApp and SMS messages

If you need to recover your WhatsApp messages from your iPhone, you should use this guide.

To easily extract messages to PC or Mac see our latest messages recovery guide here.

Import SMS messages to your iPhone in 5 steps

Before you begin, make sure to have two backups at hand:

  1. One with the messages you want to import OR directly the sms.db file you are interested in importing back, and
  2. A fresh new backup made with iTunes.

Please note that:

  • Any messages from the new backup will be replaced with the ones from the old backup and attachments will not be transferred, so make sure you saved all your necessary files from the new backup, in a safe place.
  • You can import messages from iOS 8 to iOS 11, but for an older iOS we recommend the same version.
  • You can also use password protected iTunes backups (as long as you know the backup’s password) and even import messages coming from an iCloud backup.

Import messages from iOS version to another
Import messages from iTunes, encrypted, and iCloud

If you have the iPhone Backup Extractor installed, you can proceed with step one, if you don’t, download it, run the installer, then open it.

  1. Open the iTunes or iCloud backup that has the messages you want. [If you already have the sms.db file you want to import to iPhone, you can skip directly to step 3]. To do this, select it from the list of backups in the left pane of the the main interface. If you have it in a different location than the default iTunes backup location, click the green plus button in the lower left corner to open the Preferences window > Add new iTunes backup by browsing to its location.
  2. Add iTunes backup from different location
  3. Click on Expert Mode tab and navigate through Home Domain > Library > SMS and extract the sms.db file to a folder of your choice.
  4. Navigate to the sms.db file
  5. Open the new backup from the same left pane of the iPhone Backup Extractor and go to Expert Mode to browse to the same location as in step 2.
  6. Look for the sms.db file, but instead of extracting it, right click on it and select Replace. Browse to the location you used for the old backup original sms.db file and select it. A new window will announce if the replace was successful.
  7. SMS file replaced successfully
  8. Open iTunes and Restore the latest backup. It should restore your iPhone to the info contained in the backup from step 4 and you should have your SMS messages imported back to your iPhone. Note that the SMS attachments will not be available.
  9. iTunes Restore from latest backup

How to import WhatsApp messages back to iPhone

The process is similar to the one for importing SMS message.

  • Open the backup that has the WhatsApp messages you want as explained above.
  • Go to "Expert Mode" and navigate through Application Groups > net.whatsapp.WhatsApp.shared and look for a file named ChatStorage.sqlite. Select it and extract it to a folder of your choice.
  • Browsing WhatsApp to chatstorage.sqlite file
  • Then go to the new backup, find the same file in the WhatsApp group and replace it with the one extracted earlier.
  • Replace WhatsApp chatstorage.sqlite file
  • To import back to your iPhone simply open iTunes and choose Restore from latest backup.
  • iTunes restore backup for WhatsApp

How to import SMS and WhatsApp messages to your iPhone - Video Edition

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If you have any questions or you encounter any problems while importing or recovering your data, we can gladly assist you.

the Reincubate Team

by the Reincubate Team on

We've helped over 3,000,000 people recover their lost iPhone data. Let us help you too.

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