We’ve all done it: deleted a text message from our phones and then realized shortly after that that we needed the information in that text. And the longer it’s been since you deleted it, the lesser the chance that you will be able to recover it.
There is no trash can or recycle bin on Android devices as you find on Windows or Mac. There is also no undo button. Once you delete, it’s gone.
When you delete something on Android, it sends the data to memory that can be overwritten. As soon as something on your phone needs space to save something, the phone can use that space with your message on it to save the new data. It’s like erasing something written in pencil and writing over it again.
Honestly, it’s a longshot, but here are some things that might help you recover that text.
Preserve the Data
If you just deleted the files, put your phone into airplane mode to eliminate the chance for new information to download onto your phone because it shuts off the Wi-Fi and the cellular data. To enter airplane mode, press and hold the Power button until the shutdown option appears. Click on “Airplane mode.”
Also, do not use the camera, record any audio, or access any apps that may create new data.
If the message you are trying to recover has other data such as photos or appointment times, you may be able to find that data on apps that store that type of file. For example, a picture might have been saved by your photo app or an appointment time synced to your calendar. Check those apps before trying something else that will be more time-consuming and may end up costing you money.
Another way to recover the information may require you to swallow your pride. Admit you goofed up and text the person with whom you were conversing. Ask them to resend the messages you lost.
If you are desperate, you may have a chance to recover the messages if you had made a full backup of your phone in the time between when you received the message and when you deleted it. This option requires you to factory reset your phone and download the backup copy to restore your phone.
Use Third-Party Software
If none of those options work, you can resort to using a third-party software, but be prepared to spend some money, and even then, it may not be successful.
These apps such as 7-data Recovery, Dr Fone for Android, and MobiSaver for Android don’t guarantee that they will be able to get the message back. They will find the data that your phone identifies as ready to delete, then you can choose what to do with it. This is usually the part that costs money.
The apps most likely to have success are those which require you to root your phone. Rooting your phone opens up access to every part of the phone. It’s like having one key that unlocks every lock in your house, car, and office and giving that key to someone. It’s easy to cause errors in your phone if you don’t know what you are doing. Rooting your phone also often voids your warranty, so use those types of apps with care.
The Best Way
The best way to solve this problem is to avoid it in the first place – back up your messages. The newer Android phones have an option to turn on backup for text messages. Open your settings, click on the Apps menu, and find your messaging app. Open its settings, and if this option is available on your phone. You’ll see the option to turn it on here.
If you are not currently backing up your phone regularly and use text messaging a lot, look for backup software that includes backing up texts. Backup Your Mobile is one that has this option available.
If that’s not an option or if you want to try something different, you could use a third-party messaging app that has an archiving feature. Pulse SMS does this. Swiping the message archives it instead of deleting it. If you try to delete an entire conversation, it asks for confirmation.
If you see yourself as a bit of an Android white-hat, then check out our list of Android hacking apps. And if you’re doing all that tinkering, you want to know it’s all well backed up. That’s why you should also take a look at our guide for installing TWRP Recovery on Android.