How to recover deleted text messages on Android

We’ve all been there before. That awkward moment when you delete a text message only to soon realize you really need it.

How do you get it back when it’s gone? Where do you even start checking if your Android phone doesn’t have a trash can?

This guide will show you how to recover deleted text messages on Android phone and what to do to prevent it from happening again.

Recover deleted text messages on Android phone

Before you start panicking, there are ways to get messages back on your phone. Unlike recovering deleted text messages on iPhone, recovering them on Android can be almost impossible.

In many cases, deleting a deleted message (SMS or MMS) does not completely remove it from your phone’s system, at least not immediately.

Your phone will mark it as an inactive file, making it invisible and replaceable, so that other new files that arrive immediately after you delete the text message will overwrite or replace it. It’s like writing something on paper, then erasing it and writing something else in its place.

This means that when you find that you’ve deleted a text message and want to get it back, stop using your phone to increase your chances of recovering it. Otherwise, it will probably be permanently erased after some time.

However, as mentioned, it’s almost impossible to recover text messages you’ve deleted from your Android device because of the way the system handles text data.

Unlike your computer, which has a recycle bin or recycle bin where all deleted files are stored for a while before being deleted, your Android device doesn’t have one, and you also can’t undelete to recover deleted texts by confirming the action.

Is it possible to recover deleted texts?

There is no guarantee that you will get your text messages back as the data may already be erased. It’s also not easy to recover them from where they were placed for deletion, since you won’t be using the usual means to access them.

Just like deleted files lurking on your computer hard drive waiting to be recovered or replaced, your Android device does the same; keeping everything you delete, including text messages, long enough until you need more storage space.

After you delete a message, your Android device changes the space it was occupying as “unused” and overwrites the deleted messages only when you create new data as you continue to use the device.

There is no specific duration or period of time that is required to overwrite deleted messages. The best thing you can do is immediately turn off mobile data or Wi-Fi on your phone or tablet and don’t use it to generate new data. This includes creating new photos, creating new files, etc.

It’s best to put your device on airplane mode and quickly find an SMS recovery app that can help you recover deleted messages on your Android before they’re overwritten.

Recover deleted text messages on Android

As soon as you realize that you have deleted the important text, put the device in airplane mode. Make sure you don’t record audio, use the camera, or try to create new data that could overwrite your text messages.

Ask the sender/recipient

This is the first inexpensive method that can be used immediately as soon as you realize that you have deleted an important text message. If the person still has the message on their phone, ask to take a screenshot or have it forwarded to you. If not, try other possible solutions.

Use the SMS recovery app

This is not a foolproof method as it may not work for many people. There are many sites that offer Android recovery software, but they have serious drawbacks. Some of these recovery programs require you to pay to recover your text messages, even if they offer a free trial. You can pay a higher price just to recover a text message, assuming the developer of the app is trustworthy and the app actually works.

Similarly, SMS recovery software may require root access on your devices. This is a risky process as it gives access to any file on your device. By default, the folder with your texts is hidden from you in the secure system folder on Android. This means you can’t go to that folder without root even if you install a normal file viewer.

Text recovery apps may not work without rooting your device. Instead, you may be left with a blank screen or your phone may display a security warning if you allow such apps to root your device.

Also, you may find software that asks you to use the USB Mass Storage protocol for recovery, which is not available.

Clean and restore your phone

This will only work if you have fully backed up your Android device before deleting the text messages. If you haven’t backed up your messages, you can start by going to your Google Drive account, select Settings > Google Backup and then select SMS messages in the new menu.

If you already had Google Drive on your device, it might already be backing up your text messages. However, you should recover the deleted text immediately because Google Drive updates its backup every 12-24 hours.

The problem with using Google Drive to recover deleted text messages is that it’s an archive, so it will immediately update your entire text history to the previous settings. It is not possible to restore only individual text.

Protect your texts

Whether you have backed up your data or not, recovering deleted messages is not that difficult with data recovery software. Hopefully, now you know what to do if you accidentally deleted a message or your phone is damaged.

While the above tips should get you covered, make sure to take screenshots, backup to the cloud or your Google Drive account in the future to save your messages for those moments.

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