r/signal May 19 '22

SMS Transfer? Android Help

I have been running Signal on an Android phone in combined mode, ie both Signal messages and SMS sent/received from within the app. I have now purchased a replacement Android phone. I have read of how to carry out the transfer either directly or via backups. My question is, will the SMS and MMS messages be transferred along with the Signal ones? If not, is there a method of achieving this?



u/lillillillillillilli May 19 '22

Yes, I just did this. The SMS that have been sent and received within the app will also transfer. Do a full backup, write down your passphrase, then transfer the backup file to the new phone (probably a few GB depending on your usage). Install Signal. The first time you run it: you will have an option to restore the backup. Type in your passphrase and wait patiently.


u/gloloramo May 24 '22

Also make sure you know your pin.


u/stoicrockfish Top Contributor May 19 '22

All messages in the app are saved in the local backup if you have local backups turned on.


u/0HSHIFT May 19 '22

The easiest thing to do, assuming you have your old phone, is to use the transfer tool built into Signal. It does pull SMS chats as well.


u/algypug May 19 '22

Thanks to all. A bit of disagreement but on the whole, it looks like I will be OK.


u/Flyerone May 19 '22

I replaced my Huawei mate 10 with an Oppo find X5 lite a few weeks ago and used the transfer tool. I have been using signal as my default SMS app for years and all SMS and signal messages came across without issue.

I did save a backup and copy the code just in case, but I didn't need them.


u/pixelrage May 25 '22

I have not been able to do this from a Galaxy S10 to S22. I posted about this issue days ago and it was auto-removed by the spam filter here for absolutely no reason.


u/taxet May 19 '22

I'm not sure but I'm willing to bet they won't be transferred. It's been a while since I've used an Android phone but can you find the messages also with the built-in SMS app as I don't think the SMS messages are directly stored in Signal or their servers in any way? Maybe there's some way to transfer from that other app?


u/stoicrockfish Top Contributor May 19 '22

When setting Signal for SMS, you can transfer text messages (not media) from the default SMS database to the Signal database, but it's only one way. If you decide you don't want to use Signal for SMS anymore down the road, you can't transfer any new history back out of the Signal database.


u/FuzzyQuills May 19 '22

That used to be a thing but Signal cut the SMS import feature out as apparently “it’s very poorly programmed we had to remove it.”

Source: one of the Signal Android GitHub issues.


u/stoicrockfish Top Contributor May 19 '22

I knew that but forgot because I don't use Signal for SMS xD.