It’s been a little over 30 years since the first text was sent, and texting has become an essential part of everyday life. Roughly 18.7 billion text messages are sent around the world each day. Entire conversations that used to take place via phone call can now transpire with a few text exchanges. In the modern world, the time-saving abilities of text messaging can’t be overlooked.
Saving time isn’t the only benefit of using text messages. You can respond at your leisure, think out what you want to say, and have the ability to reread previous messages. For those reasons, you can probably see why experts believe texting is better for your physical and emotional health. No wonder so many people prefer a text over a phone call.
The problem is when you start getting flooded with undesirable text messages. The rise in popularity of text messaging has only encouraged scammers to use it during their crimes. It can be highly annoying to deal with these constant spam attempts. Many people set up auto deleting on their phones or get in the habit of keeping their message inbox empty by manually deleting.
But what happens when you accidentally delete a text that you wanted to keep? The good news is deleting something from your phone doesn’t mean that it’s gone forever. It might be a bit of a hassle, but there’s a solid chance that you can safely recover your deleted text messages.
Retrieving Deleted Texts on an iPhone
Trying to recover deleted files can be pretty easy, depending on the age of your iPhone. If you’re using a device with iOS 16 or later, it won’t take long at all. It’s important to note that the following method will only work if the message was deleted within the last 30 or 40 days.
- Open the “Messages” app.
- Tap the “Edit” option on the conversations page.
- If you can’t find “Edit,” then select the “Filters” option.
- Select the “Show Recently Deleted” option with a trash can icon beside it.
- Choose the conversation with the messages you want to restore and press “Recover.”
Before this option, review how to back up your phone and do so. To initiate and restore backups, you’ll likely need your Apple ID on hand. You can also use iTunes to bring back old iPhone messages if you are operating on Windows. If you’re on a Mac, Finder can help senders recover what they lost.
If you have an older iPhone, you can recover your deleted text fairly easily as long as you have a MacBook. One of the main features of Apple products is that they’re specifically designed to be capable with each other. That can be highly beneficial for anyone that’s trying to recover an important text message. Assuming, of course, that you’ve synced your iPhone and Mac.
- Open the “Messages” app on your MacBook.
- Select “View” and then “Recently Deleted” from the macOS menu bar. You could also press Control + Command + 5 to bring it up in the sidebar.
- Pick the conversation thread that includes the deleted message. You won’t be able to see the message right now.
- You’ll receive a prompt asking you whether you want to “Recover” or “Delete.” Choose “Recover,” and the entire thread will be restored, including that target text.
Digital storage has quickly become an excellent way to back up information on your devices. As an iPhone user, you’ll have access to the iCloud backup feature. It’s smart to regularly back up your device, as you never know when you might lose it, break it, or have it stolen. If you backed up your iPhone before the text was deleted, then you should be able to recover it.
The only way for this recovery tool to work is to perform a factory reset on your phone. It sounds counterintuitive, but wiping everything from your phone is a quick way to recover your texts and other deleted data. It’s imperative to check that you’ve previously backed up your phone's new data before you do this. Otherwise, you’ll have just deleted everything from your phone.
Here is how you can check:
- Open the Settings App on your iPhone.
- Select your name from the top of the screen.
- Click on the “iCloud” option.
- Press “Manage Storage” and “Backups” to see if you’ve enabled iCloud storage.
- You should be able to see the time and date of the last backup procedure.
Phone Service Provider
If all of the other options have failed, you have one final option: contacting your service provider. In most cases, service providers will keep a record of the text messages sent and received by their users. It’s possible that they might help you recover a deleted text.
Unfortunately, it’s very unlikely to work as phone service providers are legally obligated to protect the privacy of both texting parties. You might be able to convince them to restore it, but it would probably require consent from the other person involved with the text. For some companies, you might even need to get a court order first. Saying that this option is a long shot would be putting it mildly.
Retrieving Deleted Texts on an Android
Android phones aren’t quite as universal as iPhones. There are many manufacturers that make Android phones, so not all options will be available to you. Luckily, there are a few of them, so you might be in luck after all. Newer Android devices come with the option to recover deleted texts from the Recycle Bin for up to 30 days as long as the messages were not overwritten by new data.
If you’ve recently deleted the text, then you can quickly recover it:
- Open the Messages app on your phone.
- Tap the three-dot menu icon located in the upper right-hand corner.
- Select the “Recycle Bin” option.
- Search for your deleted text message and long-tap it.
- Click on the “Restore” option when the prompt appears.
Using Google Drive
The method listed above might not be available to all Android users. If it’s not, it will get a tad more tricky to recover your SMS texts and app data. That is unless you’ve been backing up your data on Google Drive. Google Drive does for Android users what iCloud does for iPhone users.
You should be periodically backing up your data to Google Drive to prevent permanently losing it. Everything from calendars, contacts, photos, videos, and even settings can be stored there, so it’s worth the time.
- Open the “Google Drive” app on your phone.
- Select the “Menu” option.
- Look for the “Backups” feature and restore the version of your phone that induces the deleted texts.
Using Third-Party iPhone and Android Data Recovery Apps
You’re not the first person to accidentally get rid of important data, and you won’t be the last. Fortunately, it’s happened to enough people that there is something of a market for data recovery software and apps.
You’ll have your choice from Dr.Fone, PhoneRescue, FonePaw, and MyJad. Be wary of the prices that are often attached to these apps. You should only use them when you’re exhausted from all other options on these lists. Annoying pop-up ads in free apps are only the start — be mindful of data security as well.
Accidentally deleting a text can be very frustrating. It’s not as simple as throwing out an envelope and having to rummage around in the garbage bin to retrieve it. Depending on your phone, it might be quite a headache trying to recover your text, and you might not even succeed. You want to make sure that you’re only deleting texts that have no value to you anymore.
If all else fails, you could always ask the other person you were texting if they still have it or maybe took a screenshot. That would surely beat trying to get a court order to release the message from your phone service provider.
It might also be worth getting a second phone number from Burner to help protect your data from scammers. You won’t have to deal with countless text messages that way, and it will be much easier to properly manage your inbox. If you start getting scammy or unwanted texts, simply delete the number and get a new one with a simple click.
Protecting Your Privacy: Phone and Cable Records | Federal Communications Commission
Cloud Storage Definition, Benefits, Security | Investopedia
Intro to syncing your Mac and your devices | Apple Support
The surprisingly positive power of texting, according to science | The Washington Post
Worldwide Texting Statistics | Vermont State Highway Safety Office
How to Back Up and Restore Your iPhone | PCMag
4 ways to recover deleted iMessages or text messages on your iPhone | Business Insider