If you've deleted your SMS inbox you have to act quick, because the messages are only until the portion of memory on which they are saved is rewritten. The longer you wait, the higher the likelihood that deleted text messages, app updates or who-knows-what will be obliterated forever. Here's how to recover deleted text messages on Android.
Tools to recover deleted text messages
There are a couple of different PC and Mac-based tools to help you through this part of the process which we've detailed below.
The particular tool you choose will depend on your personal preference, but they basically do the same thing: scan your Android's memory, then identify and recover your ''deleted'' messages. They'll all walk you through the process, which is usually only four steps long: connect, scan, preview, recover. The process works for other data besides text messages as well. Some programs worth trying out include:
- Coolmuster Android SMS+Contacts Recovery (for Mac or PC)
- Wondershare Dr. Fone for Android (for Mac or PC)
How to recover lost text messages on Android
Depending on which program you choose, the steps may be different, but the process is very similar (I'll use Wondershare for illustration purposes):
- Download and install one of the programs above. Launch the program on your computer.
- Enable USB Debugging on your Android phone. To do this, you need to have access to the Developer Options in your main Settings menu. If it's not there, just go to About Phone, scroll down to Build Number and tap it repeatedly until it tells you that you have developer access.
- You'll now get access to Developer Options in the main Settings menu (just above About Phone). Go into Developer Options, scroll down to USB Debugging (or Android Debugging, depending on your ROM) and check the box.
- Download and install the free Wondershare trial, then connect your Android phone to your computer.
- Follow the prompts in the recovery program to scan or analyze your Android's memory.
- Once the process is complete you can browse and preview the deleted and undeleted data on your Android device. As long as the particular part of memory on which it was originally stored has not been saved over, you can still retrieve the data. This is why it's important to act quickly if you've lost data.
- Next, open the 'Messages' folder in the left-hand pane, select the messages you wish to recover, then click 'Recover' at the bottom right to put them back on your device or save them to your computer for safe keeping.
Note: if you want to complete this process without a PC, chances are you will need root access on your device and more than likely a paid recovery app. In any case, it's easier and free to use a computer.
How to never lose a text message again
Maybe you've learned your lesson, maybe you haven't. If you're not into paying for any of the programs above or simply don't like the free options, your best bet is to ensure you don't have to use them again. This means backing up your messages from now on. The good news is, it only takes five minutes.
I use a free app called SMS Backup & Restore. It's straightforward, looks nice and works perfectly: basically all you need for this type of operation. Check out the screenshots below for the walkthrough.SMS Backup & Restore
- Once you've downloaded and installed SMS Backup & Restore, open the app then tap 'Backup'
- Next, choose what exactly you want to create a backup of, then - crucially - tap 'Local Backup and Upload' if you want to send your backup to Google Drive, Dropbox or an email address. When you're ready, tap OK.
- To restore your backed-up SMS messages, tap Restore on the app's home screen, then on the Restore Backup page you can just tap the backup name in the list to restore it if it's stored locally.
- If your backup's stored in the cloud, tap the menu icon (three dots) at the top right, then 'Load from' and select whichever cloud service it's stored on.
- There are plenty of extra options in SMS Backup & Restore, such as scheduled backups and password protection. You can find these by tapping the menu icon at the top right of the app's home screen, then 'Preferences'.
Have you ever lost your text messages by accident? Did you manage to recover them? How do you protect your text messages?
Updated by Robert Zak on July 15, 2015