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How to get copies of text messages on Android and iPhone


By law your messages can be used as evidence during legal proceedings. This applies to messenger chats and SMS.

If you assume that the messages from your phone might be helpful in protecting your rights, try one of the five tips given below. We're going to show you how to get a copy of your phone messages on Android and iPhone.

Table of Contents

1. Make a screenshot (via standard buttons or programs)

A screenshot is the easiest way to save a chat for forwarding or printing it. As a rule in order to save a shot of the screen on Android smartphones you have to:

  • open the message you need on your device
  • and press Volume Down and Power buttons at the same time.

The screenshot will be saved to your phone Gallery in "Screenshots" folder.

The algorithm for iPhone is quite similar:

  • open the message you need
  • and press Home and Sleep/Wake buttons simultaneously.

An alternative way for iOS devices is to use AssistiveTouch. In order to activate it:

  1. Go to the Settings → General → Accessibility
  2. Enable the corresponding slider.
  3. In the menu of AssistiveTouch floating button the screenshot feature can be found in More → Screenshot.

In both cases, your screenshots will be saved to "Photos" app.

2. Using Dr.Fone or other app

It's a bit harder to find and save the messages you've already deleted accidentally/ intentionally or after resetting your device to factory settings. However, with some effort you can still retrieve your correspondence. In order to do this you have to understand how the simple interface of a program connecting to your phone and reading data works. Among them are 7-Data Recovery, iSkysoft Android Data Recovery and Wondershare Dr.Fone.

Let's see how you can recover a chat via Dr.Fone-Android Toolkit from Wondershare. We're going to use a cell phone running under Android OS.

  1. Install Dr.Fone program on your computer.
  2. Get root on your device via Kingroot or in another way.
  3. Enable "Developer options" in the settings. This can be done by five consecutive clicks on the operating system version in "About device" section.
  4. Enable USB debugging on Android.
  5. Connect your smartphone to your computer via a USB cable and launch Dr. Fone.
  6. In the program agree on downloading and installing drivers.
  7. In the opened menu tick the box next to "Messaging" and click on "Next" to search for deleted data.
  8. When the search is completed, the messages that the program manages to find will be displayed in the program window.
  9. Select the SMS you need and click on "Recover".

Those messages will be recovered directly on the device in the app that is used for sending text messages by default.

In Dr.Fone version iOS Toolkit which is designed to recover data on iPhones the algorithm of actions is the same. Follow the instructions from 4 - 9 points for Dr.fone-Android.

The full version of this manual (+a video) can be found here.

3. Some mobile operators store the records of text messages

For some time after sending your messages are stored on your operator's servers. At least this is how it should be. Try to contact your operator, perhaps you can recover the correspondence you need by making an official request. When it's a matter of life and death, such variant is definitely worth considering. But keep in mind that you can submit such request only with the help of a lawyer or a prosecutor who can justify the need for retrieving data from a mobile operator.

4. Copies can be stored in an old Nandroid backup

Android device owners are able to recover deleted messages from a backup. However, only if it has been made in Nandroid mobile app.

By default, Nandroid backs up everything that is stored in the memory of your gadget standard apps: call logs, contacts, multimedia and Whatsapp messenger chats.

In order to recover data from Nandroid backup:

  1. Restart your phone in "Recovery mode". On most models it can be done by pressing Volume Up and Power buttons when the gadget is turned off.
  2. In the opened menu go to "Backup and restore" tab by pressing volume buttons.
  3. Via a file manager select the backup file you need and click "Restore".

After unpacking is done your phone will restart automatically. The recovered messages will appear in the app for sending SMS and you will be able to make screenshots of them for printing.

On iPhones a backup to iCloud is made automatically. After resetting you can recover it through the settings with the help of a step-by-step wizard.

5. Gaining access to SMS correspondence via a SIM card reader

Modern SIM cards have a small amount of memory allocated for storing SMS. If the messages you need were stored on your SIM card which for some reason is out of order, going through its contents with the help of specialized tools definitely makes sense.

As a rule you can find devices for reading SIM cards in mobile operators official offices. From those that are sold on Amazon, you should pay attention to SIM Card Reader.

Note: in order to be allowed to do it you have to prove that you own your phone number. To retrieve data via a reader you also have to confirm the rights to this number or gain the support from a prosecutor/lawyer/police with the appropriate permissions for withdrawing the data from this storage device.

Vlad Brown, USA, Buffalo, WY

Vlad is a professional writer. He has expert knowledge in data recovery with 15 years of experience. He started his career as a journalist by reviewing PC and mobile apps. His current responsibilities are to keep track of users' questions and answer them. 

His current responsibilities are to keep track of users' questions and provide answers to them, write proven manuals, be the website technical support and also run a Youtube channel.

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