There are many reasons you may want to keep a copy of your Android text messages, whether it be a digital copy on your computer or a hard copy in the form of a printout.
Backing up your messages to your PC means that if anything should happen to your device itself, you still have a safe copy to look back on. It is also possible to restore the messages to another device, depending on the method you choose!
Printing out your text message conversations can be invaluable whether you need a paper copy of correspondence for work, for use in legal proceedings, or if you simply want to keep some precious memories.
There are a few ways you can go about backing up and printing your Android messages. In this article we will cover 3 methods that you can use to manage your Android text messages.
Method 1: Backup and Print Android Messages with Droid Transfer
The first method covered in this article is an app for Windows PCs called Droid Transfer. This must-have tool allows full access to all your Android device’s files from your PC over your local Wi-Fi connection.
In this guide, we will only take a look into the Messages section of this app, however, Droid Transfer also promises to also copy call logs, contacts, photos, music, and other files, between your Android and your computer.
Droid Transfer allows you to copy your messages in readable formats to your PC, and even print them out directly. The message exports contain all the information you would need for your messages: text, images, emojis, times, and dates that the message was sent, and contact details.
How to use Droid Transfer:
First, connect your Android phone and your PC over Wi-Fi by following the steps below:
- Download and install Droid Transfer on your PC
- Get the Transfer Companion App on your Android device. Transfer Companion is required to make a connection between your PC and Android – you can download it free from the Google Play Store.
- Launch Droid Transfer on your PC and connect your Android over Wi-Fi by scanning a QR code in Droid Transfer.
Droid Transfer will have connected your phone and your PC over WiFi and allows you to browse and back up all your Android Device content via your PC,
To backup, your messages open the Messages section in Droid Transfer. Here you can see all the SMS, MMS, and RCS (Rich Communication Services) conversations that are stored on your Android.
Here you can select a conversation to view your messages to and from your chosen contact. Then, you have the choice of whether to save the conversation to your PC as HTML, PDF, or Plain Text. Alternatively, you can also choose to print out your conversation including any images, emojis, and dates messages that were sent and received.
Message export formats available in Droid Transfer:
If you are wondering which format is best for you to save your messages as, here is a rundown of the types available:
- HTML – Your messages will be saved in a HTML file, and your attachments (images, videos, etc) will be saved to a separate folder. You can view your exported HTML conversation using your internet browser.
- PDF – Your conversation will be saved as a Portable Document Format file. Attached images will be embedded in the same file, but videos will not be copied as part of this format. This is the most popular format for easy access and the potential to share the file with others.
- Plain Text – The simplest format available. Images and videos will not be saved as part of this format – nor will formatting like colored text bubbles.
As you can see, this app covers all the bases when considering backing up messages to a computer or printing them out. For this reason, it is the most versatile method covered in this guide. The only thing this method cannot do is restore exported messages back to an Android. If you need to backup messages with the aim to restore them in the future, you will need to use Google backup as detailed in method 3.
Method 2: Save and Print Messages by Taking Screenshots
Taking screenshots is the quickest and easiest way to save a few messages on your Android device. Usually, with a press of a button on your handset, you can capture what is currently displayed on your screen.
The biggest drawback here is that you can only display a handful of messages on your Android. As such, you would need to screenshot, scroll down, screenshot, repeat, to capture a complete conversation. As you can imagine, this is extremely time-consuming.
How to take a screenshot of messages on an Android device
First of all, open your Messages app on your device, open the conversation you want to screenshot, then scroll so that the messages you want to capture are displayed on your screen.
Now, to take a screenshot, the steps can vary slightly depending on the make and model of your device. We’ve listed the most common ways to take screenshots on Android below:
- Press and hold the power (on/off) button and the volume down button simultaneously for a few seconds. Your screen will animate as though it has taken a picture.
- Failing that, hold the power button on its own for a few seconds. This will bring up a menu where you can tap “Screenshot” or “Take Screenshot”.
Once you’ve taken a screenshot, the capture will be saved as a picture file on your device. You can find your screenshots in your Photos app (or Gallery app if you are using an older Android).
From the Photos app, you can select photos and share them to your computer via email to yourself. Once you have them as email attachments, you can save them to your computer, and even print them off from the computer!
Method 3: Full Backup and Restore with Google Account
The final method we will briefly mention is Google’s own backup and restore functionality. This method provides a secure way to back up a lot of your Android’s information using your Google Account.
This type of backup is only for the purposes of restoring your backed-up information to your device, or to a new device. As such, you will not be able to access each conversation for reading on your computer, or print off your messages, like you can with the other methods. It is also worth mentioning that Google will only back up SMS text messages, not MMS.
To back up your Android to Google Drive, open the Settings app, then tap through System, Backup > Back up now. Again, these steps may be slightly different depending on the specific model of your device.
So now you know how to effectively back up your text messages from your Android device to your computer and print them off.
Depending on your requirements, a certain method may be better for you. You can find our key recommendations below:
- If you only have a few messages to capture, for quick purposes like sharing with a friend, you can simply take a screenshot.
- If you want to back up all the information on your Android, in case your Android phone was to break or become lost, you can back it up with Google.
- To cover all bases, use the Droid Transfer. With this program, you can back up your messages as readable, good-looking files to your computer and print them off with a click of a button. This is a program no Android user should be without.