This question is referring to Android Messages. For Signal and WhatsApp, there are either tools (or just copy paste) that allow you to export messages to a plain text file in this format:

[2022-01-29 13:43] Me: Hello
[2022-01-29 13:47] Other person: Hello to you too

Copy paste from the web interface doesn't work; that just gives output like this:

Hello to you too

I backup my phone to Google Drive, but that isn't browse-able. I can browse my phone's folders through Windows Explorer when I connect my phone to Windows with a USB cable, but that doesn't show the data folder. There are also solutions like the SMS Backup+ app that copies each text message to Gmail as a separate email, but that's not the right solution either, and is very unwieldy to convert into a text file.

adb solutions are fine as long as they work with an unrooted phone.

Is there a solution here? I have a unrooted Pixel 5a running Android 12.

  • Regarding the web counterpart, you might be interested in our sister site Web Applications. Feel free to also post on there specifically for the web version while linking to this question for the Android counterpart.
    – Andrew T.
    Jan 30, 2022 at 8:14

1 Answer 1


SMSBackupRestore can create local xml files in following format


<?xml version='1.0' encoding='UTF-8' standalone='yes' ?>
<!--File Created By SMS Backup & Restore v10.15.004 on 30/01/2022 23:17:48-->

To view this file in a more readable format, visit https://synctech.com.au/view-backup/

<smses count="1" backup_set="51f3aa8f-9305-4a33-8b64-9bd0aa216060" backup_date="1643581068669" type="full">
  <sms protocol="0" address="+491749960000" date="1643272261991" type="1" subject="null" body="Sehr geehrter winSIM Kunde, die Abbuchung von Ihrem Bankkonto ist fehlgeschlagen. Bitte überweisen Sie die offene Rechnung mit Angabe Ihrer Kundennummer. Vielen Dank. Ihr winSIM Team" toa="null" sc_toa="null" service_center="+491760000443" read="1" status="-1" locked="0" date_sent="1643272258000" sub_id="1" readable_date="27.01.2022 09:31:01" contact_name="(Unknown)" />

If you visit the mentioned website synctech.com.au/view-backup you can copy & paste messages very easy
(beware of your privacy)

you can select all messages or just all messages from selected contacts or only selected messages in one single xml file and there is no need to send email or upload to google drive

MyPhoneExplorer can manage SMS (like eMail in Thunderbird), copy & paste or export messages into text file

SMS Export 2022-01-31 00.26.txt

Sender: +491749960000
Time:   Thursday, 27.01.2022 09:31:01
Text:   Sehr geehrter winSIM Kunde, die Abbuchung von Ihrem Bankkonto ist fehlgeschlagen. Bitte überweisen Sie die offene Rechnung mit Angabe Ihrer Kundennummer. Vielen Dank. Ihr winSIM Team

the whole sms database is located

  • Is there an offline version of synctech? (Maybe that viewer is client-side only?) So I'm not uploading my text messages to a third party site.
    – Michael A
    Jan 30, 2022 at 22:49
  • afaik you can open xml files with libreoffice or excel
    – alecxs
    Jan 30, 2022 at 22:51
  • I can open it in a text editor too; that was the easiest solution. There is a lot of extraneous information there so it's not perfect (for my purposes) right out of the box, but nothing a little script won't fix. Libreoffice had trouble with it; opened it as a blank document. Probably some more fiddling I could do there too.
    – Michael A
    Jan 30, 2022 at 22:55
  • If you add MyPhoneExplorer to your answer (just so it's not only stored in a comment), I'll accept it. Just want that answer to be preserved as well because it's what I ended up using.
    – Michael A
    Jan 30, 2022 at 22:56
  • or just write a little parser with xmllint or xmlstarlet yourself
    – alecxs
    Jan 30, 2022 at 22:56

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .