I'd rather not lose all those SMS/MMS.
Which is more important, the SMS/MMS history or a working device? I suspect the later is more important.
Honestly, if there are important SMS/MMS messages that you desire to keep, copy the contents of those messages to a note or email. With MMS, simply save the file to the device or email it to yourself.
I'd rather have both, and an effective way to back my device up.
Had I known that the backups were not, in fact, and effective way to backup SMS/MMS, I would have taken precautions a while ago. But there's no effective way to backup SMS/MMS. Go through each conversation and save each file? Copy and paste?
That's not a solution. Sadly, iOS has no effective way to back up messages in this instance.
Also, why would they put a "download all" button when it clearly doesn't work?
Had I known that the backups were not, in fact, and effective way to backup SMS/MMS, I would have taken precautions a while ago. But there's no effective way to backup SMS/MMS.
Does any mobile OS provide this? I doubt it. SMS is simply not important to most people.
Keeping 5yrs of message history merely wastes space on the device and potentially slows it down.
If there are important conversations, save those... there is no logical reason to save everything... illogical maybe if the user is a pack rat.
Considering this is the first I've seen of issues with the "Download All" it may be that you're the lucky person to first run across this or it may simply be a fluke, stating it "doesn't work" because one person is having a problem is simply jumping to conclusions with no basis for them.
The thing is, I have been backing them up. At least I thought I have. But because of this download issue, my backups have been rendered useless.
You can check this message board and others, I'm not the only one with this issue. Also, the Genius at the Apple store knew exactly what the issue was, and the only solution. So definately not the only one.
Android provides this (via third party, but it's available on their app store).
This is a bug in both the backups and the iTunes.