Back up iPhone SMS messages into an excel database without jailbreaking [solved]

So here’s a somewhat complicated but entirely graphical way of backing up your SMS messages from your iPhone into an excel spreadsheet. I couldn’t get Syphone to work so here is my solution.

The first thing you’ll need is iPhone Backup Extractor. It’s a mac program, but there are other cross platform backup decoders out there such as mobilesync-inspect. You’re looking for the SQLite SMS database (iPhone Backup Extractor calls it SMS.db). iPhone Backup Extractor is not compatible with iPhone OS 3.0 yet but it does work with 2.2.1. Hopefully 3.0 will work soon.

Run iPhone Backup Extractor and select your most recent backup. Scroll down to the bottom of the applications and choose iPhone OS. Choose a folder to save it in.

iPhone Extractor

Then, use an SQLite browser such as SQLite Manager (don’t know why this is a firefox addon, but it rocks) to view the database.


All of the SMSes are stored in the messages table – you can right click on it and export it as a CSV. Alternatively you could export the whole database as an SQL or XML file. But open up the CSV in excel and you’re done! Sweet!

SMSes in excel

6 Responses to “Back up iPhone SMS messages into an excel database without jailbreaking [solved]”

  1. […] Problems to Solve » Back up iPhone SMS messages into an excel … iPhone Addons browser could-not fix-this invalid-request jordan314-at-yahoo-com key-shown […]

  2. […] you activate it as a new phone instead of restoring from backup and it’s true. I came up with this technique on my problems to solve blog for backing up my SMS messages into an excel sheet. I ran iphoto and […]

  3. on 12 May 2009 at 1:13 am Tomsweet

    Very helpful. But I found this tool helps backup iPhone sms into an excel file on computer and it works for mac.
    Not long ago, I needed to backup my iPhone sms messages onto my computer, too. My friend recommended this iPhone SMS backup program to me. You can check it out at:

    Compared with the iPhone Backup Extractor mentioned above, firstly it works for windows computers.
    Secondly, it can backup iPhone sms messages to pc in the format of either .txt or .ants. The latter format would enables us to set a password to the file so as to keep our privacy.

    It also offers step-by-step guide. Very thoughtful.

  4. on 08 Dec 2009 at 9:43 pm VictoryX

    For PC user, try this one:
    Can export SMS messages, contacts, notes to text file or Excel file.
    The most powerful feature is: it allow you modify backup files then restore to iPhone!

  5. on 12 Jan 2011 at 2:16 am christmas2010

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  6. on 12 Jan 2011 at 2:17 am christmas2010

    Backup iphone sms, contacts, call list, ibooks, photos, songs, video, music…

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