In spite of the fact that Android users communicate via messengers (like Viber and Whatsapp) exchanging sms messages hasn't lost its value.
Sms messages often contain some important data (like addresses, passwords, codes and phone numbers). Once important messages are lost (by accident or on purpose) an urgent need to recover them arises.
In this guide you will find out how to recover deleted sms and what tools to use. Also you will learn how exactly messages are deleted and why it isn't always possible to recover them.
Before starting to recover sms messages we are going to explain how exactly sms are deleted.
There is a file used for storing sms and other mobile data in a sim card memory. This file contains special cells and each of them stores an sms. In overall a sim card can only store about 20 – 25 sms messages.
The cell consists of text fields that record various information such as the date, time, sender name and the text of the sms message.
The cells are marked as "empty" or "in use" ones. Mobile device delete an sms by giving the status of "state" to an "empty" cell. When you receive a new sms your phone checks for empty slots. Those empty slots are used to store new sms messages.
In fact, a deleted sms is still stored on a sim card and it can be recovered by changing the "state" field to "in use".
Note. Some phones not only change the cells status after deleting sms messages but also overwrite them by giving them the status by default.
How to retrieve deleted sms message with SIM Manager
As you see, the main challenge when recovering an sms is to change the cell status to "in use". After you manage to do this you'll be able to read a deleted sms on your phone.
Tools needed to undelete sms:
- SIM Manager - sms recovery software which costs 29.00 $
- SIM card reader which costs 33 $. It's an interface between the software to recover a sim card and this sim card. Alternative programs can be easily found on Amazon and Ebay.
To recover deleted sms messages with SIM Manager:
- Open "Options – Settings" and enable "Show deleted SMS" option.
- The messages marked as deleted will be shown in red color.
- Click the right mouse button on the sms and select "Undelete".
On the screenshot you can see a real sim card with 20 sms slots, 4 of which contain messages but only the first two cells are used. The last two are marked as deleted.
Below you can see another screenshot made with SIM Explorer which is a tool for a forensic analysis. It displays the raw data of a sim card. The tool is mostly used to gather electronic data from sim cards but we will use it to understand how a SIM card works.
Please note that the numbers "00" at the beginning mean "empty", and "07" – "in use". The first two messages will be displayed on the phone, the next two won't be displayed. It's clear that the actual message content is still on the card and this is why a sms message can be restored. The rest of file is empty slots.
Unfortunately, SIM card reader and sms recovery app can't help in all the cases. There are at least two problems:
- some phones delete an sms completely without marking it as "deleted”.
- a lot of phones store an SMS on their memory instead of a SIM card. In other words, the phone uses internal storage or a sd card to store SMS text messages; when there is no space SMS are stored on the SIM card.
Each mobile device stores sms in its own way, depending on the operating system. You should deal with this question on your own because none of the companies writes about this in the documentation provided with your phone or tablet.
For Android users we have prepared a list of software that can restore sms messages from the phone memory:
Advice: start the recovery as soon as you realized that you have deleted an important text message. If you don't retrieve deleted sms in the nearest time the slot marked as an empty one may be overwritten with a new message and of course when you need it to happen the least.
Store the messages on your phone in order to increase the probability of recovering deleted SMS. Android OS allows you to save the messages on your device memory.
In addition to this we suggest using a special program to backup sms messages:
SMS Backup & Restore regularly, on a schedule backups messages and stores them in the cloud. Thus, if you delete an sms or even lose access to phone, your messages can be recovered during a few minutes on any mobile device and than you can read your old sms messages any time.