Recovering Deleted Text Messages
Recovering Deleted Text Messages
As mobile phones become further integrated with our lives and we rely on text messages more we tend to keep more important information on them. Sometimes this can be sensitive or sentimental information and other times it can be bank details or the time and date of a meeting. This is all fine until you accidentally hit the delete button or something goes wrong with an update forcing the phone to delete your important messages.
I’m going to assume that because you are reading this you have already been through the panic, dread and/or technology hating rampage and now you are looking to recover your deleted text messages. Well, I can help you there.
First of all – nothing is guaranteed. There’s only so much we can do and a lot of factors at play. Try to keep your expectations managed but I’ll do my best here to help you recover your messages.
Secondly use your phone as little as possible. In fact I’d suggest if you have anything other than a BlackBerry you turn the phone off for now. The deleted message is still stored in your phones memory but because it has been marked as deleted your SMS app ignores it and the memory location where it is stored is not reserved. Any kind of usage which requires memory could overwrite your message and if that happens there is no comeback. A BlackBerry still has deleted messages in the cache so don’t restart it or turn it off but use it as little as possible – other phones should be turned off as soon as possible or at least used as little as possible.
And thirdly this really does depend on the model of your phone. This is where the major limitations come in. Now older phones can be easier or harder to retrieve deleted messages on but I can’t possibly cover all of the models out there. So I’m going to cover the main three – the iPhone, Android and BlackBerry and if you have a different model you can try to apply the same principles to them. Obviously app specific techniques won’t work but the general technique should give you ideas to try. You can also drop me a comment about specific models and I’ll see if I can help with that model.
Recovering Deleted Text Messages on iPhone
If this is the section for you then you’re in luck. Out of any of the phones I’ve dealt with the iPhone has it the easiest for text recovery. It stores messages the longest and has a lot of techniques for restoring them.
- First is the more obvious one. Check your iTunes to see if your computer has made a recent backup of your messages. Check the backup date and see if it compares to when you had the message. If you don’t know when you had the message you can open the backup file with a text editor to check it before restoring it to your phone.
- If you don’t have a backup then we go to the source directly. There’s a lot of tools out there for viewing the files on an iPhone grab your favourite and copy the SMS.db from the phone to your computer. In there you’ll see all of your texts including deleted ones still on the memory. It might not be pretty or formatted but the information is there.
- If you have a jailbroken iPhone you can get an app from Cydia called ‘SMS Undelete’ which does exactly what you’d expect it to. Recovers deleted text messages back on to the phone but is limited still by what is left over in the memory.
Recovering Deleted Text Messages on Android
Android users have it the hardest. There’s no easy way to access the SMS files or tools which recover things for you so we have to rely on bugs that exist in the system. Now these have been patched out of some versions but it is worth checking for.
- Find the person who sent the deleted message and select the ‘show messages’ option. In some versions this will display deleted text messages as well.
- In some versions if you delete an entire thread at once and then send a new text message it will show all of the deleted messages – including the one you want to restore. Be sure to test this with a new conversation thread first.
Recovering Deleted Text Messages on BlackBerry
BlackBerry users only have one technique however it is quite possibly the most effective and easiest to do.
Open your SMS application and hit the menu button. Search for the name of the sender or a keyword from the message itself. BlackBerry keeps deleted messages in the cache so the search will show the message and you can move it to a new folder.