Is it possible to back up short messages from an iPhone on Linux, without iTunes?

1 Answer 1


Yes, you can use the libimobiledevice project to backup your iPhone.

The project website is: http://www.libimobiledevice.org

However, most Linux distributions have it available in their package managers for easy installation.

After you have libimobiledevice installed, run idevicebackup2 to take a backup of the short message and other data from the phone:

idevicebackup2 backup myfolder

where myfolder is a path to a folder, where you want to store the backup.

If you neeed to enter passwords, you'll want to run it as:

idevicebackup2 -i backup myfolder

where -i means to ask for passwords interactively.

To then browse the backup in a traditional file tree format run:

idevicebackup2 unback myfolder


idevicebackup2 -i unback myfolder

A thorough guide can be found at this link.

  • Thanks. I tried using the programme idevicebackup2, but it fails. Also, it seems an encryption password is set, even though I haven't chosen one.
    – Toothrot
    Jul 16, 2017 at 19:38
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    In order for anyone to be able to help you, you need to specify how it fails. I.e. which command did you enter, and what kind of error messages and other output did you get? The encryption password cannot set itself automatically, you (or another person using the iPhone) must have set it. If you have set it in iTunes for example, this is the same password you must enter here with idevicebackup2.
    – jksoegaard
    Jul 17, 2017 at 7:16
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    Try with the password "1234" - it is the default password for some. Apart from that the only way to change the password without knowing it is to erase the iPhone and set it up as new.
    – jksoegaard
    Jul 17, 2017 at 11:37
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    @Toothrot Good idea! I have added info on how to run the command. Another time - you can just edit the question yourself to add any information you feel is lacking. It doesn't have to be the original author - anyone can chime in with added info!
    – jksoegaard
    Nov 24, 2019 at 17:56

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