Similar question to this one:

  • I have an ANDROID BACKUP file containing SMS history, produced from phone A using adb. That phone is gone, and this file is the only record I have of that history.
  • I have another phone B, to which I would like to restore that SMS data, without rooting the phone.

I know that an adb restore of SMS data is not possible without root, and I'd be perfectly happy to have an app-based solution. Unfortunately, all of the SMS backup/restore apps I've found so far use their own file format. Is there one that will restore from adb-created ANDROID BACKUP / .ab files?

  • I know that an adb restore is not possible without root – who told you that? It was introduced exactly for that, being able to backup/restore without rooting. Apart from that: AFAIR Titanium Backup can restore from Nandroid and ADB backups (but it requires root). If root is an option, give it a try, and please let us know the outcome. Good luck!
    – Izzy
    Jan 6, 2016 at 15:05
  • SMS messages can be backed up via adb, but restores are a no-op: the text message app explicitly doesn't participate in restore operations. Believe me, I tried: the restore "completes", but the SMS history is not affected on the device. See the top answer in the question I linked to above for some further explanation.
    – cemerick
    Jan 6, 2016 at 15:13
  • 1
    OK, in that case the phrasing is misleading (should rather be "adb restore of SMS messages is not possible even with root", and contain your explanation). Could you please edit that? As for the issue: I'm afraid there won't be a non-root solution to this then. All you could do is extracting the messages from the backup – but IIRC, they are not even backed up with ADB. Oh yes, see the linked question for that, it was mine :) So what's not in the backup obviously cannot be restored from it, right?
    – Izzy
    Jan 6, 2016 at 15:20
  • Which Android version are you using? I've explained on the linked question why it is impossible to restore. Should I explain the reason in bit different terms? I would need the Android version here, both of the old phone and the new one?
    – Firelord
    Jan 6, 2016 at 19:05
  • No, I'm clear as to why adb restore won't work. However, it would be totally reasonable for an app like SMS Backup + Restore (or any other that is designated as the primary messaging app) to use the appropriate API to import SMS history from a provided .ab backup file…it's totally analogous of how it restores SMS history from its own XML format. Unfortunately, no such app seems to be able to consume .ab files.
    – cemerick
    Jan 7, 2016 at 18:45


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