How to transfer text messages from one iPhone to another: Copy SMS, MMS and iMessages to a new iPhone

When you set up a new iPhone your Messages app will be empty. This tutorial shows you how to transfer texts, SMS, MMS and iMessages from one iPhone to another: copy your messages from one iPhone to another, or save them for later use.

What's the best way to transfer the texts, SMS messages, iMessages and so on from my old iPhone to the new one I've just bought?

It's useful to know how to transfer text messages from one iPhone to another. The obvious application is when setting up a new iPhone: each new copy of the Messages app is empty of all your old conversations, which can be important for work or hold sentimental value. But it can be a valuable backup too: often the best method is to back up the texts to iCloud or a Mac first, which can be a useful safeguard if you need a record of the messages in the future.

Whatever your reasons for copying, backing up or otherwise transferring your text messages, they're important, and you don't want to lose them. This article looks at the best ways to transfer SMS and iMessage texts from one iPhone to another using iCloud Backup, or backing up text messages to a Mac using an app called PhoneView.

How to transfer text messages from one iPhone to another: Back up to iCloud
Text messages are contained within the iCloud backup, so you can use iCloud backup to transfer and restore all your text messages from one iPhone to another.

The only caveat is that messages form part of the wider backup and restore, so you'll have to restore device settings and app data at the same time (which removes any new messages from your iPhone). So this technique is best to use when you're setting up a new iPhone.

This Apple Support document lists all the items that are backed up and restored by iCloud.

Follow these steps to back up and restore Messages (and other app data) from one iPhone to another:

1. Connect the old iPhone to a power source and turn on Wi-Fi.

2. On the old iPhone - assuming you're running iOS 8 or later - tap Settings > iCloud > Backup. The Backup switch is near the bottom of the large group of controls. (On iOS 7 or earlier, you should tap Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup.)

3. Make sure iCloud Backup is turned on.

4. Tap Back Up Now, and wait for the backup process to complete. You'll need to remain connected to Wi-Fi for the entirety of this process.

5. Turn on your new iPhone. If you haven't done so already, you'll need to go through the setup process. When asked, tap Restore from iCloud Backup and Next. If you've already been through the setup process, you'll need to reset your iPhone. Tap on Settings > General > Reset and > Erase All Content and Settings.

6. Enter your Apple ID and Password.

Your new iPhone now displays all your messages from the old iPhone, along with all your other apps, photos, emails and other app data.

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