No More Lost BlackBerry Text Messages!



Lost_text_messages_200w200h I have received many requests for help to recover BlackBerry text messages that were:

  • Accidentally deleted
  • Automatically deleted after the default “Keep Messages 30 Days” limit expired
  • Automatically deleted because phone memory was low (yes, BlackBerrys are programmed to do that!)
  • Lost when a phone crashed or was lost or stolen

Normally recovery is impossible unless you recently backed up your phone. But NOBODY backs up their phone frequently enough to be entirely risk-free of some loss.

So what if you could virtually guarantee never losing a text message without having to do backups? You can!

Sad_over_lost_text_messages_200w300h

Why Cry Over Lost Text Messages?

If you have a “packrat” personality, then you don’t need a justification for saving text messages. But here are a few reasons why it might be worth saving text messages:

  • Contact information (names, phone numbers, addresses)
  • Directions to some location
  • Sentimental messages
  • Information that might help resolve a dispute or have legal implications

So, How Can Text Messages Be Saved Automatically?

Yes, you can save text (and other types of) messages to the Saved Messages folder on your BlackBerry. But is that the overall best way, the easiest way? For many of us, it is not.

Happy_about_saved_text_messages_200w300hThere are at least a couple of third-party applications (“apps”) that can be used to forward copies of text messages to an email address where they can be saved. One of those apps will be reviewed in some detail in this article.

It’s worth noting another advantage to forwarding text messages to an email address: they can be accessed apart from your mobile phone, should it be:

  • Left behind
  • Misplaced
  • Lost
  • Defective
  • Have a dead battery

Yet another reason:

  • To save precious device memory space

One Solution: MessageForward

MessageForward™ for BlackBerry

Let’s look at one great solution for saving your text messages: MessageForward™ for BlackBerry by S4BB Limited. Here are some key features:

  • Forwards a copy of your SMS (text) messages to an email account (you still get the message normally, but a copy is also forwarded)
  • Compatible with all current BlackBerry models (I tested it on Pearl, Curve, Storm, and Tour)
  • Compatible with all email accounts (Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, Windows Live Hotmail, corporate email, etc.)
  • Can also forward to more than one email account, if desired
  • Can also forward to another mobile phone(s) (most carriers)
  • At the time of this writing, affordably priced at $US 8.99

How MessageForward Works

There are 3 easy steps to setting up MessageForward

  1. Purchase and download
  2. Unzip and install using Desktop Manager
  3. Enter the forwarding email address(es)

Purchase and Download MessageForward

Using a major credit card or PayPal, MessageForward can be purchased from MobileSoftMarket. You will be guided to download a ZIP file (440k bytes) onto your computer.

Unzip and Install

The ZIP file you downloaded must be unzipped (expanded), creating:

  • A folder named messageforward (remember the location of this folder, as you will need to browse to and open it inside Desktop Manager to install the app)
  • Several files, including messageforward.alx (this is the file you will select inside Desktop Manager to install the app)

Connect your BlackBerry to your computer using its USB cable. Wait a moment for your computer to recognize the connection. Open your BlackBerry Desktop Manager software and wait for it to recognize your phone (by its PIN).

DM_001

Select Add/Remove Applications (click Start).

DM_002

Wait several moments for Desktop Manager to determine which apps (standard or 3rd-party) are already installed on your phone. Then, click Browse.

DM_003

Browse to the messageforward folder (created by your earlier unzip), open it, and select the messageforward.alx file.

DM_004

Select the checkbox for the newly-added MessageForward. Click Next.

DM_005

Now, note on the current screen that MessageForward comes bundled with another app, named BerryQuery. This is a free app from S4BB Limited (the author of MessageForward) that does BlackBerry-related web searches. I believe this app is harmless and potentially useful. If you prefer not to have it on your phone, you can delete it later by doing Options > Advanced Options > (scroll to BerryQuery) > (press Menu key) > Delete.

Click Finish and wait (a minute or so) for the app to install.

DM_006

And MessageForward is ready to set up!

DM_007

Setting Up Forwarding

Depending on which model BlackBerry you have, the MessageForward icon will show up on the Home Screen or in the Applications or Downloads folder. Below is a screenshot from a BlackBerry Pearl with the MessageForward icon highlighted (envelope with arrow on green circle). BTW–just to the left is the BerryQuery icon.

To set up forwarding, click the icon to open the app.

MG_001[1]

First, select the checkbox that enables message forwarding. (At any time, you can uncheck that box to disable forwarding.)

MG_001[2]

Move to the Email: area and type in the email address you want your text messages to be forwarded to. Then click the Save button.

MG_001[3]

And, you’re done.

MG_001[4]

Using MessageForward

When you receive a text message, it will be forwarded to the email account that you chose in the previous setup. At any time, you can see a log of the messages that have been forwarded. To do that, open the MessageForward app. Select and click the SMS Forwarding Log button.

MG_001[11]

Sorry, but I failed to get any screenshots of the log. (I did a LOT of testing and taking screenshots really slows down the process.) But the log isn’t that interesting, really.

Tips & Tricks…and Minor Problems

There are some tricks to using MessageForward that might not be obvious. You can:

  • Forward text messages to multiple email addresses
  • Forward text messages to one or more other phones…as a text message, not as an email message

Forwarding to Multiple Email Addresses

It’s simple, just open the MessageForward app and type in multiple email addresses separated by a comma (then save), as shown in the screenshot below (taken from a BlackBerry Storm):

MF_001

But here is a minor problem: For me, I could not get this to work with my BlackBerry Pearl unless I used a semicolon (;) rather than a comma to separate the multiple email addresses. I corresponded with S4BB Limited and they could not duplicate the problem. Neither they nor I could explain the difference. Anyhow, I did get it to work with my Pearl if I used semicolons.

Forwarding to Another Cell Phone(s)…as Text (SMS)

This is a cool trick to know about, whether you use MessageForward or not: most wireless carriers have an email address you can send to that converts the email message to a text message and routes it to the appropriate mobile phone.

Below are a few examples of how you can send an email to telephone number 1112223333 (use the number of digits normally used in your country) and have it received by that mobile phone as a text message:

  • Verizon Wireless: email to 1112223333@vtext.com
  • Rogers Canada: email to 1112223333@pcs.rogers.com
  • Delhi Aritel: email to 1112223333@airtelmail.com
  • Movistar: email to 1112223333@correo.movistar.net
  • O2 UK: email to 1112223333@o2.co.uk (one case)
  • Orange: email to 1112223333@orange.net (one case)

For a frequently-updated list of global SMS Gateway Email Addresses, please see http://www.EmailTextMessages.com.

Note that you can string together multiple addresses to forward one text message to multiple phones.

A Strange Problem

I can’t remember what made me test this, but I sent a test text message using all the characters from my computer keyboard, as shown below:

MG_001[8]

What I observed was that the forwarded message had some of the punctuation characters corrupted, as shown below:

MG_001[10]

The characters that gave me trouble were: ~ ` @ $ ^ _ { } [ ] | \

I really wouldn’t expect to see most of these characters, except @ and $, and occasionally _.

Again, S4BB Limited could not duplicate this problem. So, you may not experience it, either. But I could never get these characters to forward without corruption (perhaps it has something to do with my Verizon Wireless network).

Please leave me a comment if you find a new problem, or if what failed for me works correctly for you.

Some Limitations

This is not a negative criticism of MessageForward but simply a note about what it was not intended to do:

  • It does not forward MMS messages (also known as pix messages, flix messages, etc.), or IM (instant messages), only SMS (text) messages. I don’t know of an app that forwards MMS or IM. If you know of one, please leave me a comment.
  • It only forwards received text messages, not sent ones. There is an app that forwards both: txtForward by Electric Pocket. It’s quite a bit more expensive than MessageFoward (at the time of this writing, $US 19.95). I have not tested it. If there is a lot of interest expressed in this app, I might purchase and test it. But, personally, the price is too high for my budget and I just don’t see the value in saving sent messages.

Conclusion

If you want or need to preserve your received text messages, MessageForward is an excellent choice, and I recommend it.

As noted, I experienced what I consider minor but acceptable glitches with MessageForward, and it does have some limitations that I, again, find acceptable for my purposes. And the price is reasonable.

I was very pleased with the prompt attention I received from S4BB Limited’s customer support during my testing of the product.

MessageForward™ for BlackBerry

MessageForward™ for BlackBerry

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About the author

This entry was contributed by Kelly Carter
84 entries have been written by this author.

6 comments on this post

laden says:
Aug 7, 2009 - 05:08:53

Nice Information awesome

Aug 7, 2009 - 01:08:38

laden,
Thanks for the feedback. Hope your unlocking business is going well.
Kelly

Mandie says:
Aug 8, 2009 - 09:08:24

This is GREAT info! I am a Realtor and correspond with clients via text a lot and from time to time they have a bit of selective memory as to what we have discussed. For this reason, I HAVE to save every communicaiton recived and sent to any client just in case they should forget that I had disclosed something to them, you never know when it will come down to a “he said she said” situation. With this I will be able to save them all and be ready! My old phone had over 5000 texts saved in the inbox alone, so it will be great to get them off my phone and into an email account that can better hold them!

Thank you for the info, and I will be looking into both this and the “txtForward by Electric Pocket” porgram as well.

Aug 8, 2009 - 10:08:44

Mandie,
Thanks for that feedback, and providing a good justification for archiving text messages.
Kelly

Justin says:
Aug 27, 2009 - 03:08:46

Hey just found your web site, and im not really sure how. Oh yea it was about “Opera Mini works on 8130 and can be downloaded OTA”. Just thought id let you know how i found your site.

I love to keep track of texts i have and now i have a way thanks to you. I like to keep them for just references to go back and see what i was doing on some days things like that. Just for an update the “txtForward – SMS to Email Forwarding” is down to 4.99 now so its cheaper then the other one. So i think im going to go ahead and buy it. I’m also going to set up a free email just for my txting. Just to let you know this is the first time im buy something for my phone lol.

On a side not ive been reading lots of other articles you have on here and im really enjoying the site. I know this is not the right place, but i read the thing about erasing your gift card i thought that was funny. I had a hotel card do that and had no idea how it could have happened and thought i was going crazy, but now i know the culprit!

Thanks for your great work and you now have a new reader! I also have a pearl 8130 and its my first BB.

-Justin

Aug 27, 2009 - 07:08:29

Justin,
I like the idea of setting up a free email account just to save your texts. I think that’s a great idea. I’ve been meaning to do that for myself, too.

Don’t worry about asking “the wrong question” on “the wrong place” on this site. Any question, anywhere, any time is always OK.

Thanks for being a loyal member of this site.
Kelly

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