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How to recover deleted text messages on your Android phone

Update: FonePaw Android Data Recovery added

Authored by: Kris Carlon — 1 month ago

If you've accidentally deleted all your SMS messages – or even just a single, important message – you need to act fast. Lost messages are recoverable, but only until the portion of memory on which they were saved is over-written by an app update, file download or similar. So grab your phone and your computer and learn how to recover deleted text messages on Android.

Tools to recover deleted text messages

There are several different PC and Mac-based tools available. They essentially all do the same thing: scan your Android's memory, then identify and recover your deleted messages. Some cost money, some are free and some do more than others.

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Stay calm and do what you need to do quickly. / © ANDROIDPIT

Whichever tool you choose, they'll all walk you through the process, which is usually only four steps long: connect, scan, preview, recover (the same process works for other data besides text messages). Note that many, if not all of these processes require root access to your phone, which can void the warranty. Some programs worth trying out include:

Sponsored: FonePaw Android Data Recovery can detect and recover deleted or lost files from Android devices through a clean and intuitive UI. Coupled with its powerful data recovery capacity, supporting multiple Android OS versions and devices, it's a top-tier tool for recovering your lost data.

FonePaw can detect and recover lost files from Android devices. / © FonePaw
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Wondershare has a free trial that lets you recover deleted text messages. / © ANDROIDPIT

How to recover lost text messages on Android

I'm using Wondershare to demonstrate the procedure, but most programs have the same – or at least similar – steps.

1. Enable Developer options on your Android phone. To do this, go to Settings > About phone and tap Build number until you see the notification that Developer options has been enabled.

2. Go to Developer options > USB debugging and check the box (or flip the switch, depending on your version of Android).

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First you need to enable USB Debugging. / © ANDROIDPIT

3. Download and install the free Wondershare trial (or another recovery tool of your choice) and connect your Android phone to your computer.

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Connect your phone to your PC with USB Debugging enabled. / © Wondershare

4. Follow the prompts in the recovery program to identify your device and scan or analyze your Android's memory.

5. Once the process is complete you can browse and preview both the deleted and undeleted data on your Android device. As long as the particular part of memory on which your data was originally stored has not been saved over, you can still retrieve it. This is why it's important to act quickly if you've accidentally deleted an SMS.

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You can filter the data you want to recover: in this case, text messages. / © ANDROIDPIT

6. Next, open the Messages folder in the left-hand pane, select the messages you wish to recover and click Recover at the bottom right to put them back on your device or save them to your computer.

Note: if you want to complete this process without a PC, you will need root access on your device and, more than likely, a paid recovery app. Feel free to do it that way if you like, but it's easier (and free) to just use a computer.

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The same tools can be used to recover photos, WhatsApp messages, music and more. / © ANDROIDPIT

How to never lose a text message again

Maybe you've learned your lesson, maybe you haven't. If you want to avoid the panic of losing your messages and using a PC to recover them, the best thing to do is to back up your SMS messages regularly. The good news is, doing so only takes five minutes.

I use a free app called SMS Backup & Restore. It's straightforward, looks nice and works perfectly: all you need for this type of operation. Check out the screenshots below for the walkthrough.

SMS Backup & Restore Install on Google Play

1. Once you've downloaded and installed SMS Backup & Restore, open the app and tap Backup.

2. 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.

3. Make your selection from the list that appears and then tap OK.

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SMS Backup & Restore is clean and simple to use. / © ANDROIDPIT
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Hit Backup, make your selections and tap OK. / © ANDROIDPIT

4. 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).

5. If your backup is stored in the cloud, tap the overflow menu (three dots) at the top right, then Load from and select whichever cloud service it's stored on. 

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You can back your messages up to cloud storage, then restore them. / © ANDROIDPIT

6. There are plenty of extra options in SMS Backup & Restore, including scheduled backups and password protection. You can find these by tapping the overflow menu icon at the top right of the app's home screen, then hit Preferences.

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Take advantage of the opportunity to schedule backups and more. / © ANDROIDPIT

Have you ever lost your text messages by accident? Did you manage to recover them? Share your tips and experiences in the comments.

Kris is a former AndroidPIT Editor who came to the team via a lengthy period spent traveling and relying on technology to keep him in touch with the outside world. He can usually be found juggling three phones at once and poring over G+ posts, Reddit and RSS feeds.


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