Saturday, September 23

Copying Text Messages

I'm one of those anal people who hoard their text messages. Well I say hoard, but in actual fact there are only sixteen or so that I have kept since 2000 when SMS really became popular over here. Some are funny, some are touching, some are blunt and to the point and all are sentimental. I like to have them all with me, and have managed to pass them down the various phones and SIM cards I've had over the years. Yes, that's right; I am in fact a big girl.

It proved to be a bit of a chore this time around. Not only did I have to copy the archived messages from my last Orange SIM to my new Three one, but also copy the couple I had stored on my N70 too. And I don't mean just by forwarding them; no, I needed the correct date and sender attached to these and not all from my number sent this year. What would be the point of that?

Messy, but I was determined, and since I like to think that I'm relatively geeky I knew there was a way to do what I wanted; I just had to bang away till I found it. Anyway, here's what I tried:

  • Use a phone to copy them. The easiest way to transfer messages is to use a phone as temporary storage. Quite annoyingly new phones seem to lack the "Copy to/from SIM" option, and since I moved to Three, my older phones that could do this weren't compatible with the new 3G SIMs and so I couldn't use them to do the job. In fact, the LG U880 seems to be the only phone that can copy messages from GSM SIMs and to UMTS SIMs, but my mum's is locked to Three so that was a non starter too. Plus, since the N70 couldn't save to SIM this didn't really help there either. Result: FAILED.
  • Use PC software to force saving to SIM. I've actually had to use my PC to transfer messages before, so I thought it wouldn't be too difficult to do that again. Oxygen (for Nokias) and FMA (for Sony Ericssons) both used to be flexible enough to a) read messages from phones and SIMs and b) write them back again to phones and SIMs. In theory that's all I would need to do everything I wanted to do. However it seems that, just like the phones, Oxygen had lost the ability to manipulate SIMs (although I was able to export the messages on the phone to text files on my PC). FMA on the other hand could only write back messages it had originally read, since it needed these PDU code things to do so. It was also having issues reading some of the older messages on my SIM too. In other words, I was still stuck. Result: FAILED.
  • Use a SIM reader to manipulate the messages directly. A bit experimental this one. I have a SIM card reader built into my PC, but you can get USB adaptors for cheap now too. Using the simple yet powerful SIMedit!, I was able to read all the messages from my old SIM (and fix the ones that were giving FMA trouble), and write them all back to a spare GSM SIM I had lying around (since I wasn't able to access the Three SIM directly). Not only that, but I was also able to "forge" the four messages from my N70 that I had exported to text files in the attempt above. I now had a GSM SIM with all the messages I wanted to carry over, all in one place. I then used FMA to read these (via my K750i) and then exported them all to a file (including the so important PDUs that were stopping me from re-importing above). Finally, I imported them back in to FMA while connected to my K800i, eventually copying them back to the SIM after I had done so. Result: SUCCESS.
Not very interesting, I know. But I just know it'll come in handy when I have to do it all over again in six months... And I know that those of you who know I have your messages from six years ago still stored appreciate it!


  1. you keep all your IM logs and now you text msgs ..

    Sad child!

  2. so wut do ya suggest for a dummy like me, who hit "delete all messages" accidentally?


    ~ m ~