In order to submit a file for processing, you have two options:
- Upload an existing backup file
- Upload a current copy of your SMS database by creating a new backup of your device
If the messages you are hoping to recover were deleted months ago, you may wish to use an already existing backup file. If your messages were recently deleted, you will likely need to create a new backup file from your device using iTunes. Note: CREATING A NEW BACKUP WILL OVERWRITE ANY EXISTING BACKUPS. For this reason, it is best to first check the date of your existing backup (if it exists).
Upload an existing backup/check for existing backups
The text messages you are looking for may already exist in an iPhone backup stored on your computer. It is best to check this option prior to creating a new backup, as iTunes will overwrite any existing backups with the most recent.
- Browse to the default backup location on your computer: Users/USERNAME/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup
**Note: If you are running Mac OS X Lion, the “Library” folder may be hidden. To access the above path, you will need to select the Finder application, then select Go -> Go to Folder, then type ~/Library and select go. This will jump directly to your Library folder.
From there, navigate to Application Support -> MobileSync -> Backup
- If this location does not exist, or there are no folders in it, you do not have an existing backup
- A folder is created for each device that was backed up, so if you see multiple folders, you will need to determine which device is yours. To do this, go into the device folder and locate the “Info.plist” file, which contains the name and serial number (among other details) of each device. You can view this file by clicking once on the file, then hit the space bar.
You can also open it with a text editor by right-clicking on Info.plist > Open with > Other > then scroll down and select “TextEdit”. Once open, look for “Display Name” and “Serial Number.” This serial number can be matched up with the serial number shown on your device under Settings > General > About > Serial Number.
- Once you identify the correct folder, there will be a “Date modified” column which tells you when the backup occurred. Look for the Date Modified for the file: 3d0d7e5fb2ce288813306e4d4636395e047a3d28. If the messages you are looking for took place before this date, this is the file you will want to upload. Otherwise, see Create a new backup and upload for processing
- From the “SMS Recovery Upload” page, enter in the Job Name, Timezone, iOS Version, Recovery type, and then browse to your backup folder location.
- Open the folder for the device you identified in step 1b, and select the following file: 3d0d7e5fb2ce288813306e4d4636395e047a3d28
- Click “Submit” in order to receive preliminary results on your recovery
Create a new backup and upload for processing
If you do not have any previous backup files, or the text messages you are looking for were sent after the date of the existing backup, you will want to create a new backup of the data on your phone. To do this, follow these steps:
- Connect your phone to your computer and open iTunes if it doesn’t automatically start
- You should see your device show up on the left-hand side
- Click once on your device, and make sure the “Encrypt iPhone Backup” is not checked. If it is, uncheck this box (you will be required to enter the original password you created for previous encrypted backups).
- Right-click on your device, and select “Backup”
- Follow instructions to Upload an existing backup