Have you ever accidentally deleted a text message from your phone? Well, I guess so. It can happen to anyone. Nobody's perfect. But when this little inconvenience happens with "wrong" messages, those that contain important information or have a particular emotional value, it can turn into a real tragedy. That's why today I want to explain how to recover deleted SMS messages on various operating systems and smartphone models.
Following my instructions, you should then be able to limit, at least in part, the damage caused by accidental deletions of messages. Before you misunderstand me, it's good to clarify a fundamental point: this is not always possible. On the contrary, if before the "patatrac" you have not made at least one backup of your messages, the thing is at the limits of feasibility. In any case, trying doesn't hurt.
If you're actually interested in finding out how to recover deleted SMS messages from your smartphone, I suggest you roll up your sleeves, pick up your mobile phone and try the various solutions I'm about to show you. So, are you ready? Yeah? All right, let's cut the chatter and get on with it!
Restore deleted SMS from Android
Depending on the operating system you're using on your smartphone, the procedure to recover deleted SMS messages is different. Below is an explanation of how to do this for Android devices,
SMS Backup & Restore (Android)
If you want to find out how to recover deleted SMS and use a smartphone equipped with the Android operating system, the wisest and most effective thing you can do is, as I already mentioned, to prevent accidental deletion of messages by making backup copies. To help you do this, I recommend using SMS Backup & Restore, a great free app for Android that allows you to create backups and restore SMS in a very quick and easy way. Let me show you how to use it.
To recover deleted SMS on Android then connect to the Google Play Store's SMS Backup & Restore page by tapping here directly from your smartphone, tap the Install button and then the Accept button to install the app on your phone.
When you're done, go to your device's home screen and launch the app using its icon that appears in the Android menu, press the Start button and answer Give all the alerts that appear on the screen to give the app all the permissions it needs to work. Next, tap the Set a backup button, choose whether to save only the messages or also the call history, go ahead (by tapping on the appropriate button located at the bottom right) and select the path where you want to save the backup: you can choose between Google Drive, Dropbox, This mobile phone (not recommended) or an external SD card (provided you don't set it as the primary memory drive on your device). To finish, if you want, set a recurring backup on a daily, weekly or hourly basis and press the Start Backup button (bottom right) to start copying messages.
After making the backup, you can restore all your SMS on your smartphone by simply starting SMS Backup & Restore by tapping the button at the top left and selecting Restore from the menu on the side. Select, then, the backup file to restore by choosing between a local backup path, a Google Drive path and a Dropbox path and pressing in series the Restore, OK and Change buttons (in order to temporarily set SMS Backup & Restore as the default message management app, without which SMS restore cannot take place).
If you don't want to restore all the messages but only those received and sent from a certain day, before pressing the Restore button, tap on Advanced Options, put the checkmark next to the item Restore backup only from and specify the desired date in the menus below.
Note: Once the SMS restore is complete, you can reset the Messages app as the default message management app on Android by simply opening it and responding affirmatively to the message that appears on the screen.
EaseUS MobiSaver (Android)
Don't have any backups of your SMS? Don't despair, there's still a chance you'll be able to retrieve the messages you deleted by mistake. How? By installing EaseUS MobiSaver: an application that allows you to recover SMS, contacts, photos, WhatsApp messages and other data deleted from your smartphone. It is very easy to use and, at least in my tests, it did very well. It also works without root (at least for SMS) but it's not completely free: it allows you to view deleted messages and recover files in JPG and MP4 format, but to export SMS requires an in-app purchase of 6.49 euros.
It is available from the Play Store, so all you need to do to download it is connect to the Play Store and press the Install and Accept buttons. Once the download is complete, to start searching for deleted messages with EaseUS MobiSaver, open the app by tapping on its icon on the home screen or drawer (the screen with a list of all the apps installed on your device) and tap on the Grant button first (to give it root permissions, assuming you have an unlocked device) and then on SMS.
Therefore, authorize the application to access the messages and patiently wait for the end of the scan. When you see the messages you are interested in, select them to see a complete preview. If you have purchased the full version of EaseUS MobiSaver, you can also export SMS messages by selecting them and then pressing the Retrieve button at the top right.
iReparo for Android (Windows/macOS)
You don't have a backup of your SMS and your smartphone hasn't undergone the root procedure? In this case, all you have to do is connect your device to your computer and use data recovery software to try to recover messages that you deleted by mistake.
Among the many data recovery software available on the market, most of which is paid for, I recommend iReparo for Android, which is also paid for (its full version costs $49.95) but you can download it in a free trial version that allows you to view the text of all recoverable messages. The program is available for both Windows and MacOS and, in addition to SMS, it also allows you to recover WhatsApp messages, photos, videos and more.
To download iReparo for Android to your computer, then connect to the official website of the program, click on Windows or Mac (depending on the operating system you are using on your computer) and press the Download button below. Then, if you are using a Windows PC, open the iReparo installation package (e.g. JIHO_iReparo_AR_Trial8.exe) and click the Yes and OK buttons in sequence. Then tick the box next to I accept the agreement and click on Next four times in a row and then on Install and Finish to finish the setup.
If you're using a Mac, to install iReparo for Android, you need to open the app's pkg package and first click the Continue button twice in a row and then click Install. Then you need to type in your MacOS user account password (the one you use to log in to the system) and click the Install software and Move buttons in sequence.
Now you need to start iReparo for Android and connect your smartphone to your computer from which you want to recover deleted SMS messages. For the connection to be established correctly, you need to activate USB debugging on Android. Go to the Settings menu > Smartphone developer options and place a checkmark next to the appropriate item.
If you don't find the "Developer Options" in the settings menu, go to Settings > Phone Info and tap 7 times on the Build Version or Serial Number item, then "Developer Options" will appear and you can activate USB debugging.
After activating USB debugging, click on the Contact, SMS, Call log button in the main window of iReparo for Android, answer affirmatively to the USB debugging request that appears on the smartphone screen and, once the connection between the device and the computer is established, click on the Start button to start searching for deleted SMS.
When the scan is complete, select Messages from the sidebar of iReparo and you should be able to see the messages you previously deleted from your phone. If you have purchased the full version of the program, you can export the recovered SMS to your PC by clicking the Recover button at the bottom right.
Should iReparo not satisfy you, you can rely on Dr.Fone, another data recovery program. You can find more information about Dr.Fone in the iPhone chapter of this tutorial (the program is compatible with both Android and iPhone devices).
Note: using iReparo for Android on smartphones that have undergone the root procedure could lead to the SuperSu app being deleted. To solve this problem, simply reinstall the application from Recovery (or at least following the procedure that you originally performed when you ran the root).
Retrieve deleted SMS from iPhone
iPhone users can also recover deleted messages from their device. How? Well, that's simple: Just take advantage of iTunes backups saved on your computer or iCloud backups saved over the Internet.
To recover deleted SMS messages from iTunes, connect your device to your PC or Mac using the cable attached to the sales package, wait for the software to start, press the iPhone button in the top left corner, click on the Summary item in the left sidebar and then press the Restore Backup... button at the bottom of the Backup section. You must then choose the backup you want to restore from the available backups and confirm that the procedure is complete. As you can easily guess, the procedure will report all the data and apps and the status they were in at the time of the backup.
If, on the other hand, you want to restore a backup from iCloud, restore your iPhone via the Settings > General > Restore > Initialize Content and Settings menu and, during the initial system setup process, choose to restore a backup previously made to iCloud. For more details on both procedures, see my tutorial on how to make iPhone backups.
If you want to recover deleted SMS messages from your iPhone without restoring the system, you can rely on iExplorer: a program for Windows and MacOS that allows you to freely browse the memory of your iOS devices and iTunes backups without restoring the system. It's not free, it costs 39.99 euros, but the function to view the SMS in iTunes backups can be used at no cost.
To download iExplorer on your computer, go to the official website of the program and select either for Windows or for Mac from the Download iExplorer menu, depending on the operating system you are using on your computer. Then, if you have a Windows PC, open the iExplorer installation package (iExplorerSetup.exe) and click Yes first and then Install to complete the setup. If you are using a Mac, open the dmg package containing the software and drag and drop its icon into the MacOS Applications folder.
When installation is complete, start iExplorer and click the Continue with demo/Continue button in demo mod to continue using the trial version of the program. Then click on the Browse iTunes Backup button, select the iTunes backup from which you want to extract the SMS and click on the Messages item in the left sidebar to view them.
To export messages to your PC (this function is only available in the paid version of iExplorer, click on the Export all conversations button and choose the output format you prefer from CSV, TXT and PDF.
If you don't have a backup of your messages I'm sorry to be repetitive but... recovering deleted SMS becomes a real undertaking. However, you can still use a special computer program that you can use to try and deal with it. I'm talking about Dr.Fone, which is available for Windows and macOS and allows you to restore any deleted file from the phone memory or even from iTunes and iCloud backups. It's a paid version (it's priced between 100 and 140 euros) but it's available in a free trial version that allows you to view (at least partially) the SMS recoverable from your iPhone.
To download Dr.Fone to your PC, go to the official website of the program and click the Download button for the version of the program for iOS devices (it is also available for Android devices). When the download is complete, if you use a Windows PC, open the Dr.Fone installation package (drfone-for-ios_fullxx.exe) and click Yes and OK first. Then place a checkmark next to I accept the terms of the license agreement and click Next three consecutive times and then Finish to complete the setup. If you are using a Mac, open Dr.Fone's dmg package and drag the program icon into the Applications folder.
Now, start Dr.Fone, click on the Recover item and wait for the program to recognize the iPhone (you must have iTunes installed on your PC). Then place a checkmark next to Messages & Attachments, click on the Start Scan button and wait for all available messages to be shown on the phone's memory (this may take several minutes).
If you have purchased the full version of Dr.Fone, you can also select the messages and export them to your PC by clicking on the Export button at the bottom right.
Recovering other deleted messages
Are the messages you accidentally deleted from your smartphone not common SMS messages, but messages from WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger? Nothing to worry about. Some of the apps and software I've suggested in this tutorial allow you to retrieve these types of messages as well: just select the right options and follow the on-screen directions.
Alternatively, if you've been so confident that you've backed up your conversations before they're deleted from your smartphone, you can retrieve them using the back-up copies you've made. For more information on both procedures, see my tutorial on how to recover deleted messages. It has all the information you need to recover messages from WhatsApp, Messenger and other popular messaging or email services.