Because 'it's all fun and games until someone loses an
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General • SMS
Always take a moment to make sure you are using the latest release
version, available at the MSB
. Any significant issues are noted there as well.
MSB was working fine and one day it just started crashing every time I
open it. What happened?
Apple changes their backup
time to time, and this is certainly the case for iTunes 8.1 and 8.2. As
a rule, if problems crop up after a iTunes upgrade; check the MSB download page
MSB fails to
scan and says it will put a log. Why can't it read the backup?
MSB can encounter problems
from time to
time, as it has to deal with unknown quantities such as bad/incomplete
backups, undocumented format changes imposed by iTunes, mysterious
backup files created by the multiplicity of App Store software or files
with weird permissions. In later versions of 2.0 (and higher), MSB
provide as much info as it can in the form of a Log.
Send me the log and I can probably determine what the problem is by
looking at the last file MSB was trying to access. You can try reading
the log and moving the last-named file out and try again. Very often,
the file is an relatively inconsequential image or preference file from
a third-party app. If you determine that the file is causing a problem,
and can attach it, I'd really appreciate it. I'm always looking for
ways to catch these problems.
MSB is not displaying the expected range of dates for a given device.
Why are my older / newer items missing?
If you are not seeing your
Confirm that MSB is
registered (check to see if it says
'REGISTERED' in MSB's Preferences pane)
Verify that you have not inadvertently moved or
renamed the 'MobileSyncBrowser
Data' file in your Documents folder.
If you are not seeing your recent
MSB relies on iTunes
to keep its backups current.
Check to see if iTunes is
updating backups as well
syncing media when your device is attached. If your device is
iPhone OS 3.0 or greater, check the settings to make sure the backup encryption is OFF
read an encrypted backup and will skip it.
disable encryption, select your device in iTunes and make sure 'Encrypt
iPhone backup' is not checked. The next
backup performed will not be encrypted.
If you are using iTunes 10.5 or higher, make sure your device is not
set to backup to iCloud.
Then, in iTunes’
select the Devices
tab and see if the listed backup date for your device is consistent
with your last sync (MSB should display the same info in
the top 'Backups' list).
NOTE: Apple has changed
the name and appearance of this tab on many occasions.
If it is not current, attach your device and right-click/control-click
on its name in the left column of the main iTunes window, then select Back Up
pop-up menu that appears.
MSB is showing a empty
window when viewing an SMS conversation; why is this happening?
When iTunes has successfully completed the back up, relaunch MSB.
When memory is severely
limited within MSB, such as when holding a large database in memory,
you may get a 'blank
screen' when viewing an SMS conversation, which is also
memory-intensive. If this happens, you may
Export to HTML and view the conversation in your default web browser.
How can I save/print SMS conversations the way they are displayed in
normally exports as text for your use in other programs such as
spreadsheets, but can export SMS
conversations as HTML:
or ALT-click on the Export
Version 3.0 and greater: you are always prompted for your choice.
The conversation will then be displayed in a window in your default web
browser; you can then Save As or print/save as a PDF. Your web
browser may also allow selecting a different type size, if you wish.
I have an extremely long SMS conversation and it takes a very long time
to display and export. What can I do?
MSB is up-to-date, you will see
that SMS conversations with more than 1,000 message have a blue chevron
( > ). If you ALT-click on
this button, the conversation will be split into equal parts, never
greater than 1,000 messages each. You can then view/export in sections;
since the memory required is reduced, their combined processing time is
less than that of the full conversation.
Note: MSB must be registered to use this feature.
Why do SMS messages 'to'
and 'from' the same contact appear as TWO 'conversations'?
NOTE: This issue has been
addressed in software - please download the latest version of MSB from
the main page.
Help! I deleted an SMS
conversation on my phone and need it back! Can MSB recover it?
This is due to minor difference in phone number formatting when an SMS
message is received; using US phone numbers as an example, if you send
a message to '(999) 123-4567' (as it appears in your contacts) and the
reply is tagged by your phone company as '1 (999) 123-4567', any
difference in prefixes or country codes can cause a mismatch.
of differences from country to country and from one phone company to
the next, you must alter MSB's behaviour to suit your circumstances.
do this, MSB must know how many digits are truly 'significant' and
which numbers are not relevant. You can change this in the telephone
number formatting option in Preferences.
Can I edit and send my
Notes back to my device?
Recovering deleted text is
a tricky business... MSB will not
show deleted messages, but - they are what are known as 'soft' deletes,
meaning that they do linger in the database for a variable period of
the space is marked as 'available' and will get overwritten sooner or
later depending on your usage and iPhone firmware version.
If you have accidentally deleted a message or conversation, the first
thing to do is
put it in 'Airplane Mode' so no NEW
messages are received, becuase these may overwrite the deleted
If you synced your device recently BEFORE THE DELETION, most of the
messages are likely to be in your backup, so DO NOT SYNC
you succesfully recover that conversation with MSB.
If you have synced AFTER THE DELETION occurred, the conversation you
seek will also have been marked as deleted in the backup.
You may be
able to recover some of the data following these steps.
If you synched AFTER the deletion, skip step A.
- Find iTunes' backup folder (MSB's
File menu has a Reveal Folder item to display the Backup folder) and
make a copy of that Backup folder in a separate location so you have
'before and after' copies of the backup.
- Register for the PLUS version of MSB: you must have access
to the raw SMS database file (as-is, not interpreted by MSB)
- Use the 'Photos & Other Files' item to navigate to
/Library/SMS/sms.db and export the file. Again, the ability to export
is only available using the Plus version of MSB.
- Open this raw file (sms.db) with a text editor. If those
messages are still in there, this would be the way to see if they exist
(in whole or in part) and optionally copy the text snippets out; which
is admittedly laborious.
- If you do see snippets of the conversation you want and
something mission-critical (say, for legal purposes) and you really
need to salvage it with timestamps (dates) and whatnot, you can have
the file 'scraped' by someone with forensic tools to extract the data
(I can do this on a time-available basis). This expertise isn't
free/cheap, so this is why I recommend you poke around on your own
This is not currently
although it is expected that future versions of iTunes (not MSB) will
synch notes much as it does contacts and other information.
What is the upgrade policy for MSB?
I am a registered user
and I just downloaded the most recent version, but it gives me an
When you purchase MSB, you are licensed
the existing version. Updates are provided as a courtesy: MSB is
provided 'AS-IS' but, at my sole discretion, my policy is that keys
allow you to install and use any maintenance updates released
within one year
after your purchase, if released (For example, I cannot be held
responsible if Apple makes some change that makes a fix impossible.)
I am having problems with registration. What can I do?
If you have just received a key
and the program won't register, you may
have received a bad code. Send your registration email with a brief
and I will test it and send a new code if necessary.
received a new key to enable the optional data recovery features. MSB
is already registered and will not let me enter my new key. What should
If this is a code that
has worked before:
Older versions of MSB may produce a
preferences file that newer versions don't like. On certain systems,
MSB will try to reset the preferences file, unsuccessfully. The
quickest solution is to reset the MSB preferences.
To do this, quit MSB if open, then hold down the SHIFT key
before and during the program launch. Continue to hold the key down
until the MSB window is displayed.
You can use the File
menu in MSB to reveal its Preferences folder on your system. In version
5, you must hold down the Alt/Option key to see this item. You may
delete the entire folder or just
file contained in this folder.
Follow the steps in the
preceding question to delete the MSB preferences file.
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