How to Transfer Contacts & Messages on the IPhone With WinSCP

You can also use third-party apps to access the file system without jailbreaking.
... Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Back to My Mac, a feature of iCloud, allows you to connect your iPhone to your Mac over secure shell, or SSH, but unfortunately, there's no native solution to connect remotely to your Windows PC. To back up your text messages and address book to your computer using WinSCP, you must use Cydia on a jailbroken iPhone to install SSH to the device. You can then log in to the SSH client from your PC using your iPhone's IP address.

Open Cydia from the Home screen and then touch "Sections" on the bottom bar.

Touch "Networking" on the Install By Section screen and then choose "OpenSSH" from the list of packages.

Press "Install" and then press "Confirm" to install OpenSSH to your iPhone. Touch "Return to Cydia" when setup completes, and then press the "Home" button.

Open Settings from the Home screen, and then scroll to and select "Wi-Fi." Touch your wireless network and then write down your IP address.

Download and install WinSCP to your computer. Open WinSCP, click "New" and then enter your IP address into the "Host Name" field.

Enter "root" as the username and "alpine" as the password, and then click "Log In" to connect to your iPhone over SSH.

Click "Update," if prompted, and then browse to "/private/var/mobile/Library/SMS" in the right pane. In the left pane, browse to the location on your computer where you want to store your messages.

Drag-and-drop the files in the SMS folder into the left pane to copy the data to your computer.

Browse to "/private/var/mobile/Library/AddressBook" in the right pane and then, in the left pane, browse to the location where you want to store your contacts.

Drag-and-drop the contents of the AddressBook folder into the left pane to copy your data.

  • You can also press the search button in Cydia to search for OpenSSH.
  • To change your SSH password, install and then open MobileTerminal using Cydia. Enter "su root" (without quotation marks here and for all other commands) at the prompt and then log in using "alpine" as the password. Type "passwd" into the console and then enter your new password twice to confirm.
  • To back up MMS media or attachments, browse to "/private/var/mobile/Library/SMS/Parts" or "/private/var/mobile/Library/SMS/Attachments" and then copy the content to the appropriate folder.

Ruri Ranbe has been working as a writer since 2008. She received an A.A. in English literature from Valencia College and is completing a B.S. in computer science at the University of Central Florida. Ranbe also has more than six years of professional information-technology experience, specializing in computer architecture, operating systems, networking, server administration, virtualization and Web design.