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How to recover deleted text messages on your Android phone

Authored by: Kris Carlon — 1 week ago

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:

androidpit wondershare
Wondershare has a free trial that lets you recover deleted text messages. / © ANDROIDPIT

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.
androidpit debugging
First you need to enable USB Debugging on your Android smartphone. / © ANDROIDPIT
androidpit wondershare 2
Connect your phone to your PC with USB Debugging enabled. / © Wondershare
  • 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.
androidpit wondershare 3
You can filter the data you want to recover: in this case, text messages. / © ANDROIDPIT
  • 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.
Click 'SMS' or 'Messages' in the left-hand pane to view both deleted and non-deleted messages on your device. / © ANDROIDPIT

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 Install on Google Play
  • 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.
androidpit sms backup restore 2
SMS Backup & Restore is clean and simple to use. / © ANDROIDPIT
androidpit sms backup restore 3
Hit Backup, select what you want to save and where, then tap OK - simple. Restoring your backup is explained clearly too. / © ANDROIDPIT
  • 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.
androidpit sms backup restore 4
You can back your messages up to cloud storage, then restore them easily. / © ANDROIDPIT
  • 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'.
androidpit sms backup restore 1
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? How do you protect your text messages?

Updated by Robert Zak on July 15, 2015

Kris Carlon comes to the AndroidPIT Editorial Team via a lengthy period spent traveling and relying on technology to keep him in touch with the outside world. He joined the Android community while resurfacing in civilization back in 2010 and has never looked back, using technology to replace his actual presence in other people's lives ever since. He can usually be found juggling three phones at once and poring over G+ posts, Reddit and RSS feeds.


Write new comment:
  • Augusto 3 days ago Link to comment

    Warp News .... dont read any news... just listen to it!
    @Warp_App on twitter

  • Jerrferry 4 days ago Link to comment

    MobiKin Doctor for Android can recover up to 8 types of files on Android phone, including: Contacts, Text Messages, Media Files (Photos, Movies, Music), Documents, etc.

  • Wqlknow 4 days ago Link to comment

    Messages, contacts or photos deleted from your android, no matter from internal memory or sd card, still are recoverable, since a delete command only flagged the memory block where the deleted files stored as available for use, it doesn’t actually erase or destroy any messages, contacts or videos. You can no longer see the deleted files because the pointers to those files are removed from the file allocation table, but the actual data is intact.
    This guide also is helpful:

  • Menka K. 1 week ago Link to comment

    It's almost impossible to find that one app/software that can recover every single file from your Android device. Recently, I lost some important text messages (mostly business related text conversations) when I was installing a custom ROM on my new Galaxy S6. I tried almost all these data recovery programs to retrieve my text messages but only this one: helped me to recover 8-9 threads of text messages from total 12 threads. But I guess partial recovery is better than the no recovery.

  • Weiwei 2 weeks ago Link to comment

    So many people want to know how to Recovery Text Messages from Android. Accidentally text messages deletion is a common problem that most Android users face. In this situation, you can get the help of MobiKin Doctor for Android, which is specially designed for Android users to retrieve their deleted data and files from Android internal memory, including SMS, Text messages, music, pictures, videos and more.

  • Daniel Bissell 2 weeks ago Link to comment

    I loaded this trial version on the PC and was liking how it easily found my dads old Motorola Atrix. It took awhile but it finally finished. No text messages were found from a phone that had them 3 hours before a factory refresh. It did say that it found 1,187 pictures. Some had been deleted for over a year when he ran out of room the 2nd time. He has since then had to do this 3 more times, so I am pretty sure those pictures are crap or in just name only. Since you can only see what it could do with what it found and not retrieve anything without paying, I uninstalled the software from the PC. I then called AT&T and had my dad answer a few questions for them to prove he is who he is and they sent him his texts. Don't go to the store to do this. They are Sales and not Techs.

    Next I had to setup AT&T Address Book and verify that his contacts were there via the web browser on his computer. You can also see your text messages there as well. I then copied all the had-to-have messages to a word document.

    After doing this I had to do another hard Factory Reset. Why? Because when I installed wondercrap onto the PC and let it detect the phone, it installed malware the form of some memory manager thing that would popup after 2 browsing attempts. I screamed DON'T CLICK IT! and grabbed the phone. Said oh crap. Clicked the X and handed it back to him. A day later he said it is still doing that so I did what I did in the previous paragraph.

    Don't waste your time

  • Jnisttyy 2 weeks ago Link to comment

    Android phone is not like computer .When you delete data on pc,you can find the deleted data from recycle bin .The data deleted on android ,you can not recover directly .You need to some apps to help.

  • Menka K. 3 weeks ago Link to comment

    Why don't use guys use the the apps like SMS Backup and Restore to backup your text messages?

  • noahrobert 3 weeks ago Link to comment

    It is good to know that you can use FonePaw Android Recovery tool to get back the messages that yo have deleted by mistake.

  • Pflmccllaa 3 weeks ago Link to comment

    So many solutions, which one do you like? Or which one are you going to choose ? I only know that the data was accidentally deleted,you should not add data on android phone .Because when you add thing on phone ,phone memory is easy to be covered.

  • Lar fious 3 weeks ago Link to comment

    When it comes to file recovery, the first thing to bear in mind is that there are no guarantees. Data that's gone may very well be gone for good, especially if the device has been used since the file or files were deleted and new data has overwritten it. However, nothing ventured, nothing gained (or lost).

    Look this:
    This tool I have been using 4 months, it could offer you a fighting chance.

  • Wgfterrll 1 month ago Link to comment

    I saw it from google market .But I did not use it .I hope someone tell me this application if it is really good.

  • Po cooker 1 month ago Link to comment

    Thanks for your guide, someone can recover easily by putting the Google account back that you previously were using and the messages and contacts will automatically sync over to your device. Then it is possible to regain lost messages from it, however, the revery tool recommended are also helpful ane more effective and I find another tutorial here, hope be helpful:

  • Wqlknow 1 month ago Link to comment

    My experience is that the lost messages can be still recovered by professional data recovery app, I also deleted the important messages by accident, and I get them back with Android rescuer app. Note, to ensure the recovery rate of your lost data, you must stop using your Android phone to receive new messages, that will cover your original data.

    For detailed tutoril:

  • Malcolm Andrei 1 month ago Link to comment

    Recover Deleted Contacts, SMS Messages, Photos, Video, Music and more from Samsung Galaxy, also works with any other Android phones.

  • Mary Colins 1 month ago Link to comment

    good news to share here. if you are worried about some Android files recovery tool unable to support your Android 5.0 or newer, you can turn to a more professional and versatile one.

  • saraanna 2 months ago Link to comment

    Thanks for sharing.

  • Menka K. 2 months ago Link to comment

    With the new Android 5.0 Lollipop it's more harder to recover deleted data from Android device as most of the Android recovery tools doesn't support this latest Android.

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