Did you just accidentally delete a text message? Or maybe you deleted an entire conversation? Oops. Don’t panic just yet. If you regularly back up your phone, you might be able to recover a deleted text message. If your phone isn’t routinely backed up, however, you may need to bring in additional software to help you out depending on the phone you have.
In this post, we’ll go over how to recover deleted text messages, whether you’re using an iPhone or an Android phone.
Before trying to recover deleted text messages
Are you trying to recover a photo from a deleted text or check an appointment confirmation? Check your photo app or your calendar. Sometimes, photos and appointments are automatically synced to those apps. And if the option is available, it doesn’t hurt to first reach out to the other person in the text conversation. They can provide a screenshot or a copy of what you’re looking for.
How to recover deleted texts on Android
If you just deleted the texts, you might able to retrieve them. Although not guaranteed, the faster you try to recover deleted text messages, the better chance you’ll have at getting them back.
Step 1. Turn your phone on Airplane mode. Deleting a text message on an Android phone doesn’t remove it from your phone immediately. Your phone will mark the data as inactive until new data is created, which will then eventually overwrite the deleted text. Switching to Airplane mode will prevent you from creating any new data that could overwrite the text you just deleted.
Step 2. Go to Google Drive on your desktop to see when your SMS was last backed up. If you went through the setup process when you first got your phone, it’s likely you’re using Google Drive to back up your data. You can verify when your texts were last backed up by opening Google Drive.
- Open Google Drive
- Go to the Menu
- Choose Settings
- Choose Google Backup
- If your device has been backed up, you should see the name of your device listed.
- Select the name of your device. You should see SMS Text Messages with a timestamp indicating when the last back up took place. You’ll want the back up to be from before you deleted the text.
You can also just see when your phone was last backed up in general (and if a backup is available) by going to System > Backup.
Step 3. Factory reset your phone. Unfortunately, you can’t simply restore your text messages from Google Drive, so you’ll have to perform a factory reset where you can then restore the data from your last backup on your Google Drive account. The navigation will look different for various Android phones, but generally, you can use the following steps.
- Go to your phone’s Settings
- Find the Reset option
- Choose Factory reset
Once the phone has been reset, follow the prompted steps to log in to your Google Drive account to restore your last backup.
Step 4. Don’t want to reset your phone to recover deleted text messages? Try third-party software on your computer. Consider this step only if you really, truly need to retrieve a deleted text. Recovery software can be expensive, and there’s no guarantee that it will work.
They can also be risky if you’re not familiar with the tech behind the process. Some apps may require root access to your mobile device, which means that the software would have access to everything on your phone. Do your research and make sure the software is from a reputable company before moving forward.
If you decide to go this route, don’t install the software on the same storage disk that housed your lost texts since it could override that data.
How to recover deleted texts on iPhone
Step 1. Stop sending texts. When a text message is deleted, the space that housed the text is marked as “unallocated.” The message data will be there until a new message overwrites the space. To increase the chance that you won’t override the deleted text, hold off on texting.
Step 2. Make sure you have a backup via iCloud. Your deleted texts might be available if your iPhone regularly backs up via iCloud.
Double check that iCloud is enabled on your phone.
- Go to Settings
- Tap on your name at the top of the screen
- Tap on iCloud
- Tap on iCloud backup. You should be able to see if it’s enabled and when the last backup was made.
If that’s all good, you’ll need to restore your iPhone to the last backup.
- Go to Settings
- Tap on General
- Scroll all the way down to Reset
- Tap on Erase All Content and Settings
- Tap on Erase Now
- Once the reset is complete, choose Restore from iCloud backup when prompted.
The downside to this, of course, is that since you’re reverting to an older version of your data, any data created after your last backup will be gone.
Step 3: Don’t want to restore your phone to recover deleted text messages? Consider a third-party app. Third-party apps aren’t cheap, and they’ll still require that you have an iCloud backup, but you’ll be able to retrieve only the data you’re looking for (instead of having to restore your phone). Do your homework and ensure that you’re using a trusted app before going forward.
Zipwhip is changing the way businesses and consumers communicate. We invented the capability to text to and from a landline, toll-free or VoIP telephone number and have led the entire industry since. Learn how Zipwhip works.