Google Drive is a well-known cloud backup service that includes SMS (Short Message Service) among many types of data. The feature is ingrained in the Android operating system, but users decide whether and how often to use it. And not only on Android-based smart devices. Google Drive is, although unquestionably behind iCloud, a popular choice among Apple users. It’s not hard to guess why: a double backup, each stored with a separate service and on different servers, instills confidence in successful restoration. Well, let’s put that theory to the test. Here’s how to restore SMS backup from Google Drive.
1. Restore SMS backup directly from Google Drive
Although this may seem like a logical choice and the first and only method, there’s a reason we mentioned others. You see, while you can see the backup file using the Google Drive app, there’s no built-in way to simply download it. It doesn’t matter if it’s just SMS or the whole thing. The only methods of recovery are resetting your Android device to factory settings and signing in on a new Android smart device. Because it’s so radical, here are 3 use cases of this method, sorted from ideal to optional:
1. Massive data loss
This is the intended purpose – recovery after a disaster or accidental factory reset that made you lose all data. In both cases, you must sign in with the Google account your data is stored with afterward. Then, enable your Internet connection (Wi-Fi or mobile data), and wait for the data to sync – text messages included. We explained the procedure when we taught you to restore an Android phone from Google backup.
2. You have a secondary device
In this is your case, you can combine methods 1 and 2 like this:
- Log in to your Google account after you boot a brand new device.
- Wait for the sync process to finish.
- Install any messaging application that supports Google Drive or has dedicated cloud storage.
- Create a new cloud backup of your text messages.
- With that done, you can install the app and download the backup on the first phone.
And there you have it. You managed to avoid factory resetting your primary device. Plus, you can download only SMS data, not the contents of the entire Google Drive backup, which can overwrite the SMS you sent after the backup was created.
3. You don’t mind starting over
Don’t have any important files? Or, perhaps, they’re safely backed up? In both cases, you can begin anew. Ensure that you have enough battery juice, however; 50% to 70% is the sweet spot. The procedure on Android 10 and 11 looks like this:
- Open Settings.
- Scroll down and tap on System.
- Tap Advanced to expand the list.
- Select Reset options.
- Tap on Erase all data (factory reset).
- Confirm by selecting Erase all data.
- If your device is protected with a PIN, enter it when prompted.
- Hit Erase all data again and wait for the phone to restart.
2. Download texts from a Google Drive-compatible messaging app
Messaging Android applications that offer Google Drive compatibility benefit everyone except Google. App developers don’t have to pay for cloud storage, and users can extract only SMS instead of downloading the entire backup file. However, for this to work, you must have used the app in the past, and made manual or enabled automatic backups. We’ll demonstrate this with a popular app choice so you get the gist. Follow these steps to restore SMS from a Google Drive backup via texting app:
- Recommended. Go to Settings > Accounts, and double/check you’re logged in to the correct Google account.
- Download and install SMS Backup & Restore (new/factory reset smartphone only) and open the app.
- Tap the hamburger menu (three horizontal lines) in the top left corner.
- Select Restore from the left sidebar.
- Select the backup location from the list.
- Toggle Messages in front of the latest backup.
- Tip. If you want to restore SMS from one of the previous Google Drive backups, tap on Select Another Backup.
- Tap on Restore in the bottom right corner.
- Tap on OK then Yes to let “SMS Backup & Restore” become a default messaging app momentarily.
- Restoration of SMS now begins. When it finishes, tap on Close.
- Tap on OK, then open the “Messages” app. Confirm that you want it to become the default application for sending SMS again.
- Messages will start rolling in. We suggest you mute sound or hide notifications for the next 10 to 15 minutes, depending on how many there are.
Note. You can only restore Android RCS (Rich Communication Services) messages if the app supports it. This SMS alternative is carrier-dependent and still underused, so the chances are low.
3. Restore SMS from a Google Drive backup via third-party software
Third-party software that extracts desired types of data, in this case, SMS, solve the problems of previous methods. Even better, it lets you transfer messages to your device manually afterward. Ensure the software you use is reputable and has proven efficiency. After all, you must trust it with your Google Drive account. We’ll use one for demonstration but we aren’t affiliated nor can we vouch for them. Let’s dive in.
- Download, install and run Tenorshare UltData for Android on Windows or Mac.
- Connect your Android device via USB then turn USB debugging on like this:
- Go to Settings, then System.
- Tap on About phone then the Build number 7 to 10 times rapidly.
- After confirming you’re now a developer, return to System.
- Tap on Developer options to turn it on and enter.
- Toggle USB debugging to on.
- On the software’s home screen, under “Please Select a Feature”, click on Recover Google Drive Data.
- Sign in with your Google Drive account.
- Select Messages when prompted to choose a file type for extraction.
- Click on Start and let the extraction process finish.
- Browse the list of phone numbers and subjects in the middle.
- Once you put a checkmark in front of SMS you want to get back, click the Recover button.
- That’s all – you successfully restored SMS from Google Backup using third-party software.
4. Contact Google Drive Support
This is the last resort option that depends on the goodwill of Google Drive representatives. Here’s what to do:
- Log in to Google Drive in the browser.
- Start browsing your main folder.
- Click on Contact us in the upper right corner.
- Select a method of contact: e-mail, call, or chat.
- Explain your situation concisely and wait for a reply or dial the number immediately.