Q:

How do you retrieve deleted messages on your mobile phone?

A:

The ability to recover a deleted text message will depend on how the phone handles deletion of files. If you have a phone type that does not permanently remove messages when they are deleted, then it is not too hard to recover a message.

  1. Disconnect from the phone network until you have recovered the message

    Each text message can be though of as taking up a slot in the phone's memory. When a file is deleted, it becomes invisible to the phone software, but is still in its slot and can be recovered until that slot is overwritten with another message. So, it is important to disconnect from the phone network to ensure new messages do not come in and overwrite the slot the deleted message is in. However, as a security function, some phones automatically overwrite slots with gibberish to permanently remove the text message. If your phone does this, then a deleted text cannot be recovered. The only option would be to contact the sender to see if they still have a copy they can re-send.

  2. Obtain the right recovery software

    If you have a smartphone, you may be able to download an app that can recover text messages. One such free app for Android is called SMS Backup & Restore. This allows you to complete the recovery process entirely on the phone. If you have a basic phone, or there is no such app for your device, you may need to install software on a computer and hook the phone up to it. If the messages are stored on a SIM card, there is special analysis and forensic software that can be used on a computer with a SIM slot.

  3. Run the file recovery program

    Instructions will vary depending on what app or program you are using. Simply follow the instructions provided by the publisher to retrieve your text messages.


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