Have you ever accidentally deleted a text message from your phone? Well, I guess so, it can happen to anyone, no one is perfect. But when this small inconvenience happens with the "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 on various operating systems and smartphone models.
Following my instructions, you should be able to limit, at least in part, the damage caused by the accidental deletion of messages. Before you misunderstand me, it's good to clarify a fundamental point: the operation is not always possible. On the contrary, if before the "disaster" you haven't provided to make at least one backup of your messages, the thing is at the limits of feasibility. In any case, it doesn't hurt to try.
So if you're really interested in finding out how to proceed in order to recover deleted SMS from your smartphone, I suggest you roll up your sleeves, take your phone and immediately try the various solutions that I'm about to show you. So, are you ready? Yes? Very well, let's forget about it and proceed!
Recover deleted SMS from Android
Depending on the operating system in use on your smartphone, the procedure to put into practice to recover deleted SMS is different. Here is how to do it for Android devices,
SMS Backup & Restore (Android)
If you want to find out how to recover deleted SMS and you are using a smartphone equipped with the Android operating system, the wisest and most effective thing you can do is, as I have already mentioned, to prevent accidental deletion of messages by making backup copies. To help you with this, I suggest you use SMS Backup & Restore, an excellent free app for Android that allows you to create backups and restore SMS in a very easy and fast way. Here's how to use it.
To recover deleted SMS on Android, connect to the Google Play Store page dedicated to SMS Backup & Restore by clicking here directly from your smartphone, tap on the Install button and then on the Accept button to install the app on your phone.
Once completed, go to the home screen of your device and launch the app using its icon that appears in the Android menu, tap on the Let's get started button and respond to all the warnings that appear on the screen to grant the app all the permissions it needs to work. Next, tap on the Set a backup button, choose whether to save only messages or also the call history, go ahead (by clicking on the appropriate button located at the bottom right) and select the location where to save the backup: you can choose between Google Drive, Dropbox, This phone (not recommended) or an external SD card (provided that you have not set it as the primary storage drive on your device). Finally, if you want, set a recurring backup on a daily, weekly or hourly basis and click the Start Backup button (bottom right) to start copying messages.
Once you've made the backup, you can restore all your SMS messages to your smartphone by simply launching SMS Backup & Restore, tapping on the ? button at the top left and selecting Restore from the menu that appears at the side. Then, select the backup file to restore by choosing between a local backup path, a Google Drive path and a Dropbox path and pressing the buttons Restore, OK and Change in series (in order to temporarily set SMS Backup & Restore as the default app for managing messages, without which the SMS restoration cannot take place).
If you don't want to restore all messages but only those received and sent from a certain day, before clicking on the Restore button, tap on Advanced Options, check the 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 app for handling messages on Android by simply opening it and answering yes to the message that appears on the screen.
EaseUS MobiSaver (Android)
Don't have any backup of your SMS? Don't despair, there are still chances that you'll be able to recover the messages you accidentally deleted. How? By installing EaseUS MobiSaver: an application that allows you to recover deleted SMS, contacts, photos, WhatsApp messages and other data from your smartphone. It is very easy to use and, at least in my tests, it performed very well. It works even without root (at least as far as SMS are concerned) 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's available on the Play Store, so to download it all you have to do is connect to the latter and click the Install and Accept buttons. Once the download is complete, to start searching for deleted messages with EaseUS MobiSaver, open the app by clicking on its icon on the home screen or in the drawer (the screen with the list of all the apps installed on your device) and tap first on the Grant button (to grant it root permissions, assuming you have an unlocked device) and then on SMS.
Then, authorize the app to access the messages and wait patiently for the scanning to finish. When you see the messages you're interested in, select them for a full preview. If you have purchased the full version of EaseUS MobiSaver, you can also export SMS messages by selecting them and then clicking the Recover button located in the upper right corner.
iReparo for Android (Windows/MacOS)
You don't have a backup of your SMS and your smartphone is not rooted? If so, all you have to do is connect your device to your computer and use data recovery software to try to recover the messages you accidentally deleted.
Among the many data recovery software available on the market, most of which are paid, I recommend iReparo for Android, which is also paid (its full version costs $ 49.95) but you can download 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, go to the official iReparo for Android website, click on the Windows or Mac tab (depending on the operating system you use on your computer) and click on the Download button at the bottom of the page. Then, if you are using a Windows PC, open the iReparo installation package (e.g. JIHO_iReparo_AR_Trial8.exe) and click on the Yes and OK buttons in sequence. Check the box next to I accept the agreement and click on Next four times in a row, then on Install and Finish to complete the setup.
If you are using a Mac, to install iReparo for Android, you need to open the application's pkg package and click on the Continue button twice in a row and then on Install. After that, you have to type in your macOS user account password (the one you use to log in to the system) and you have to click in sequence on the Install software and Move buttons.
Now you have to launch iReparo for Android and connect the smartphone from which you want to recover deleted SMS messages to the computer. In order for the connection to be established correctly, you need to enable USB debugging on your Android: go to Settings > Developer options on your smartphone and tick the checkbox next to the appropriate item.
If you don't find "Developer options" in the settings menu, go to the Settings > Phone info menu of your phone and tap 7 times on the Build version or Serial number entry: this will bring up "Developer options" and you can activate USB debugging.
After enabling USB debugging, click on the Contact, SMS, Call log button in the main window of iReparo for Android, answer yes 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 scanning for deleted SMS.
Once the scan is complete, select Messages from the sidebar of iReparo and you should be able to view 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.
If iReparo does not satisfy you, you can use Dr.Fone, another data recovery program. You can find more information about it in the iPhone chapter of this tutorial (the program is compatible with both Android and iPhone devices).
Note: using iReparo for Android on rooted smartphones may lead to the deletion of the SuperSu app. To solve this problem, just reinstall the app from Recovery (or anyway following the procedure you originally performed when you rooted the device).
Recover deleted SMS from iPhone
Even iPhone users can recover deleted messages from their device. How? Well, simple: just take advantage of iTunes backups saved on your computer or iCloud backups saved on the Internet.
To recover deleted SMS via iTunes, connect your device to your PC or Mac using the cable included in the package of the same, wait for the software to start, click on the iPhone button located in the upper left corner, click on the Summary item in the sidebar on the left and then press the button Restore Backup... located at the bottom, under the section Backup. Then you have to choose the backup you want to restore among the available ones and confirm the execution of the procedure. As you can easily guess, the procedure will restore all data and apps to the state they were in at the time of the backup.
If, instead, you want to restore a backup from iCloud, restore the iPhone through the menu Settings > General > Restore > Initialize content and settings and, during the initial system setup procedure, choose to restore a backup made previously in iCloud. For more details on both procedures, you can check out my tutorial on how to make iPhone backups.
If you want to recover deleted SMS 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 iOS devices and iTunes backups without restoring the system. It's not free, it costs €39.99, but the feature to view SMS messages in iTunes backups can be used at no cost.
To download iExplorer on your computer, go to the official iExplorer website and select the for Windows or for Mac option from the Download iExplorer menu, depending on the operating system you use on your computer. Then, if you have a Windows PC, open the iExplorer installation package(iExplorerSetup.exe) and click on Yes and then on Install to complete the setup. If, however, you are using a Mac, open the dmg package that contains the software and drag its icon in the Applications folder of macOS.
Once the installation is complete, launch iExplorer and click the Continue with demo/Continue in demo modebutton tocontinue using the trial version of the program. Then click on the Browse iTunes Backup button, select the iTunes backup from which you want to extrapolate the SMS and click on the Messages item in the left sidebar to display them.
To export messages to your PC (a function available only in the paid version of iExplorer), click on the Export all conversations button and choose the output format you prefer between CSV, TXT and PDF.
If you don't have a backup of your messages, I hate to be repetitive but... recovering deleted SMS becomes a real challenge. However, you can still resort to the use of a special computer program thanks to which you can try to cope with it. I'm talking about Dr.Fone, which is available for Windows and macOS and allows you to restore any deleted file from your phone memory or even iTunes and iCloud backups. It's paid (it's priced between €100 and €140) but it's available in a free trial version that allows you to view (at least partially) recoverable SMS from your iPhone.
To download Dr.Fone on your PC, go to the program's official website and click on the Download button for the version of the program for iOS devices (it's also available for Android devices). After the download is complete, if you're using a Windows PC, open the Dr.Fone installation package(drfone-for-ios_fullxx.exe) and click Yes and OK first. Check the box next to I accept the license agreement and click Next three times and then Finish to complete the setup. If you're using a Mac, open the Dr.Fone dmg package and drag the program's icon into your Applications folder.
Now, launch Dr.Fone, click on Recovery and wait for the program to recognize your iPhone (you must have iTunes installed on your PC). Check the box next to Messages & Attachments, click on the Start Scan button and wait for the program to show you all the messages available on the phone memory (it may take several minutes).
If you purchase the full version of Dr.Fone, you can also select the messages and export them to your PC by clicking the Export button in the lower right corner.
Recover other deleted messages
Are the messages you accidentally deleted from your smartphone not ordinary SMS messages, but WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger messages? That's nothing to worry about. Some of the apps and software I've suggested in this tutorial allow you to recover those messages, too. Just select the right options and follow the onscreen instructions.
Alternatively, if you've been so foresighted as to make a backup of your conversations before deleting them from your smartphone, you can recover them using the backup copies you've made. For more information on both procedures, please see my tutorial on how to recover deleted messages, where you will find all the information you need to recover messages from WhatsApp, Messenger, and other popular messaging or email services.