Does iTunes Backup Text Messages? How to Restore?

The software which Apple publishes to enable you to manage your iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch is iTunes. It does a very good job. It is free!

Just one of the jobs which iTunes does is backing up your data. It does this to your local computer, which is usually referred to as an iTunes backup. Or, it backs up your device to the cloud, to be more precise, to iCloud, which is a part of your Apple iTunes account.

This data is backed up as one file. All the information on your iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch is stored in one file, which acts as a single container, for your addresses, photographs, music, messages... everything! Among that single file of data, iTunes backs up your photos, videos, music, your SMS messages and notes etc. You cannot access, you cannot ‘see’, you cannot download individual, specific items from within that container. You cannot extract individual items from the backup file.

We at Wondershare, the publishers of dr.fone and other high quality software, put your needs first. We think that your notes and text messages can contain very important, even sensitive data, and it might be helpful to access those notes from within a backup file. As we have said, iTunes will not allow you to do that. However, dr.fone is able to very reliably choose any specific file from your backup, and restore it for you.

Apple’s iTunes will back up all the data contained on your phone, by default. Let us look at some simple steps which you might take to do the same thing in a better, more intelligent and considered way.

restore sms itunes

There is the option to selectively backup then preview and restore your iPhone notes and text messages? This can be done with dr.fone - iOS Data Backup & Restore. It is the flexible approach, which gives you choices.

dr.fone - iOS Data Backup & Restore

Backup & Restore iOS Data Turns Flexible.

  • One click to backup the whole of your iOS device to your computer.
  • Allows you to preview and restore any item from a backup to a device.
  • Export just what you want from the backup to your computer.
  • Selectively backup and restore any data you want.
  • Supports iPhone 7 (Plus)/SE/6s (Plus)/6s/5s/5c/5/4s/4/3GS and the latest iOS 11 New icon
Available on: Windows Mac
3981454 people have downloaded it

Part 1. How to Backup and Restore iPhone Notes and Text Messages Selectively

How to backup text messages on your iPhone

Step 1. Once you have downloaded the program, and installed it on your computer, you should run the dr.fone progam and choose ‘iOS Data Backup & Restore’.

does itunes backup iphone text messages

The dr.fone opening screen – giving you clear choices.

Step 2. Connect your iPhone to the computer. When the program detects your iPhone, you can choose the file types which you want to backup. In the situation where it is just your notes and messages which you are interested in, you would just check those items (top left and top right below) with a tick in the box. Simply click ‘Backup’ to begin the process.

backup and restore iphone text messages

Which items do you want to backup?

Step 3. The process of backing up will take a few seconds. When it has completed, the program will continue to scan the backup file and display all the content which is available to be restored.

backup iphone text messages with itunes

It is always good to see smiling faces.

Step 4. In this case, we are only really interested in the notes and messages, but you can pick any item which you want to recover and tick it, that is put a check mark in the box next to the item. As you can see below, you can choose to restore to your computer, or direct to your iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch.

itunes backup iphone text messages

You can preview everything – in detail!

Part 2. How to Backup Notes and Text Messages with iTunes

When you back up your iPhone using iTunes your text messages and notes are automatically backed up as well. Unfortunately, you cannot choose exactly what it is which you want to backup, that is which individual items you want to backup. You only have the choice to back up your entire iOS device. Here's how to back up your iPhone using iTunes on Windows.

Step 1. First thing you need to do is to open iTunes and plug your iOS device into your PC. Depending on which device you own, you will see in the top menu bar of the iTunes window a small icon which identities your device.

backup text messages with itunes

Step 2. Clicking on that button will open another window that provides detailed information about your device. You can see the backup section below the main information. to do a full backup of your iOS device choose 'This computer.' By doing so, all of your data will be backed up to your computer.

In addition, you can choose 'Encrypt backup' to make sure others can't access the personal data that was backed up.

backup and restore messages with itunes

Step 3. To start the backup process, click ‘Back Up Now’. Sometimes, a pop-up may appear which will tell you about the apps on your iOS device that are not currently in your iTunes Library. If you wish to back up those apps as well click Back Up Apps to sync them with your iTunes Library. Of course, the more items you choose, the more storage space will be used.

Then, iTunes will start the backup process of your iOS device. You will be notified when the process is finished, and all you have to do is press the blue 'Done' button. This is how you backup your notes and text messages to your iTunes in Windows.

Backing up your text messages and notes on Mac is pretty much the same as on Windows. Just follow the steps below to backup text messages:

  1. You have to do a full backup of your iOS device and then your notes and messages will be saved as well. Before you begin backing up your data, make sure iCloud is turned off on your iOS device.
  2. Connect your iPhone or iPad to your computer and launch iTunes.
  3. Find the symbol for your device on the left side of the iTunes window.
  4. Right click on your device and select 'Back Up'. And, that is it! You just have to wait until the backup process is finished.

It is astonishing really! Whether you use iTunes on Windows or Mac, here is the list of all the data, in addition to the notes and text messages, that will be backed up:

  1. Contacts and Contact Favorites
  2. App Store Application data including in-app purchases Application settings, preferences, and data, including documents
  3. Autofill information in Safari
  4. Calendar accounts
  5. Calendar events
  6. Call history
  7. Camera Roll
  8. Game Center account
  9. Keychain (email passwords, Wi-Fi passwords, etc.)
  10. Mail accounts (messages are not backed up but will reload when you launch the mail app after recovery)
  11. All your settings, bookmarks, web application cache/database
  12. Messages (iMessage)
  13. Notes
  14. Messages (iMessage)
  15. Safari bookmarks, history, and other data
  16. YouTube bookmarks and history
  17. All other data except movies, apps, music and podcasts

It is when you read a list like that, it is made very clear just what a huge part of your life your iPhone has become.

Part 3. How to Restore Text Messages from iTunes Backup Directly

Fortunately, restoring text messages and notes from an iTunes backup is possible, and it is also very easy. There is just one small catch. You cannot choose what you will restore from your backup. If you wish to restore your notes and text messages from iTunes, you are required to restore everything else from that backup too. Here is how:

  1. In order to restore your iTunes backup, you have to connect your iOS device first.
  2. Then, run iTunes, if it does not do so automatically. When your iOS device appears in iTunes, click on the ‘Summary’ button.
  3. Under the ‘Backups’ menu click ‘Restore Backup...’.
  4. restore messages with itunes

  5. Choose the backup you want, and click ‘Restore’.
  6. restore iphone messages from itunes

  7. Wait for the restore process to finish. It may take a while.
  8. Once again, keep in mind that all your data will be overwritten with the data from your selected backup.

The free software which Apple publishes to help you manage your digital life, your phone in this particular instance, is iTunes. It does a good job. However, it is limited. In respect of backing up, keep your information safe, dr.fone - iPhone Data Recovery does a much better job.

But, what if we told you that there is software that allows you to preview and choose what you want to restore from a backup. It is called dr.fone toolkit - iPhone Data Recovery, letting you extract both iTunes and iCloud backup content.

dr.fone toolkit - iPhone Data Recovery

Selectively restore data from iTunes backup.

  • Recover data by scanning iPhone/iPad, extracting iTunes backup and iCloud backup.
  • Retrieve contacts, messages, photos, video, call log, etc.
  • Recover data lost due to deletion, device loss, jailbreak, iOS 11 upgrade, etc.
  • Selectively preview and recover any data you want.
  • Supports iPhone 7 (Plus)/SE/6s (Plus)/6s/5s/5c/5/4s/4/3GS and the latest iOS 11 New icon
Available on: Windows Mac
3981454 people have downloaded it

Let us walk you through the steps to doing just a couple of the things which dr.fone might do for you.

1. Selectively restore from iTunes backup

Step 1. Select "Recover from iTunes Backup File"

Download and install dr.fone - iPhone Data Recovery on your computer. Open it and click ‘Recover from iTunes Backup File’. The software will detect and display all the backups that are available on your computer automatically. You can choose the right backup based on its name or the date it was created on.

restore iphone from itunes backup

Choose by name – are you Lisa or Administrator?

Step 2. Scan iTunes backup

Once you have chosen the backup click ‘Start Scan’. It may take a few minutes before all the data is extracted.

backup and restore messages from itunes

The available data will be clearly shown.

Step 3. Restore text messages to your iPhone

After your data is extracted you will see all of your files categorized. You can preview every file and choose the ones you want to restore. If you cannot see a file which you are looking for, you can use the search bar in the top right corner.

restore messages from itunes

We try very hard to make things very clear and helpful.

2. Selectively restore from iCloud backup

Step 1. Sign in iCloud

After launching the program on your computer, select ‘Recover from iCloud Backup File’. And then, you need to enter your iCloud username and password.

sign in icloud to restore messages

Log in to your iTunes account.

Step 2. Download iCloud backup files

Once you are logged in, you will see a list of your iCloud backup files. Again, choose the right file, probably the most recent iCloud backup, then click 'Download' to save the file to your computer.

download icloud backup to restore messages

Step 3. Choose messages to restore iPhonef from iCloud backup

If we are concentrating on notes and messages, you can preview very clearly what is available. You are able to read the files contained within your iCloud backup. You can choose the specific messages you want and restore to your device.

restore text messages

It is always great to have choices, especially when they are so clear.

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dr.fone - Recover (iOS)

dr.fone - Recover (iOS)

Recover deleted data from iOS devices, iTunes and iCloud backup files.

dr.fone - Backup&Restore (iOS)

dr.fone - Backup&Restore (iOS)

Backup data on your iOS devices easily and restore backup files selectively to any device.

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