Technical question about call and SMS/MMS backups

Hi all,

I’ve been wondering about the SMS/MMS and call log backup. How is it implemented? Is there a common, standard way to store these backups which is used by all Android phone and SMS/MMS apps? Or does each one have its own way to do it?

Even if there’s not a standard is there a “most usual” way, so that data can be transferred between different apps? For example, how to get the call log and SMS/MMS backup from Google into /e/?

Cheers :slight_smile:

Default SMS app based on QKSMS, which provides local backup in .json file.

Speaking of cloud backup, it is usually done via IMAP . (Take a look at SMS Gate and SMS Backup+.)

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Hi @e.follower,

Thanks for that info. I presume the storage format used by QKSMS is not the same as that used by SMS Gate and SMS Backup+. I think it would be a big step forward if this could be standardised somehow.

MMS seem to be a problem for all these apps. I will try and see what I can do with QKSMS with MMS backups.

My main interest for this is to be able to transfer SMS/MMS between apps on different OSes, for example if I want to use Ubuntu Touch for a while on my Nexus 5 instead of /e/.

Cheers :slight_smile:


quite interested in this topic, as I am trying to move my SMS from an old device (Android 4.2) to my /e/ device.

  • adb fails to make a backup from the old device (which is not rooted)
  • Slight backup (F-droid) seems to work, but after importing, no SMS is visible in /e/
  • I do not use / want to use Gmail (other apps from the Play Store)

Any further solution?

Thank you in advance

I think that the best option could be to integrate SMS/MMS in XML files, because they can easily be read or worked with modern tools and/or style sheets.

As an example, I managed to export/import most of my WinPhone messages using the method described here : .
I confirm I can reread all my messages using all methods described here : .

I use their free app ( or to produce XML backups on weekly basis, to local files and then to NextCloud auto-upload.
App is not open-source but ads and analytics can be disabled, even in the free version.
As the app addresses directly the Android messages database using APIs, it should work with all usual messaging apps :slight_smile:

PS : I’m not promoting this app ! I started with the idea of XML backups of SMS/MMS, and only found this one to do it properly and freely, along with a comprehensive FAQ & tips list …

Thank you for your reply.

I came across that app, but I was reluctant since no open source, but as there will not be many options, I will check it

perhaps a silly question … does adb see the /e/ device?

I am just wondering that, since now I have a black output after “adb devices”, and that command clearly worked when I installed /e/… did I miss anything?

Thank you in advance

Did you enable USB debugging in Developer options ?

Well, it seems strange, but:

  • when I had android installed, yes, I had enabled it.
  • now that I have /e/, well … I cannot find such a menu :thinking: “Search in Settings” does not find it, and I cannot find such a menu manually …

(sony xperia XA2 0.7-o-2019101026628-dev-pioneer)

In the end I followed your suggestion smu44. Thanks a lot

You’re welcome :slight_smile:

Developer menu is activated by taping 7 times on “Build number” in “About phone” :wink:

Thanks, done.

“Developer menu is activated by taping 7 times on “Build number” in “About phone”

Now I would say “of course”, it is android… but I thought /e/ had it enabled it by default … how silly I was…

Thanks and happy N/e/w Y/e/ar