In this review we are presenting several apps which can be helpful in SMS recovery on your Android mobile phone. In addition, we included some backup tools on our list so you can make sure your important text messages won’t be lost.
Best Android SMS recovery apps:
- Wondershare Dr Fone
- Coolmuster Android SMS Recovery
- Yaffs free extractor
- Undeleter app
- MiniTool Mobile Recovery
- EaseUS MobiSaver
- Apps to restore text messages from backup
- How to recover messages: Q & A
Dr. Fone is probably the most widely promoted app to recover deleted messages. While we believe Dr. Fone’s efficiency is often exaggerated, better to retrieve a little than nothing at all.
We can outline a number of reasons why this software is worth using as a message recovery app:
- It has a simple and intuitive interface with a handy recovery wizard. In other words, you don’t need any special knowledge to work with this tool; all instructions and tips are given in the Dr. Fone window.
- The chances for restoring text messages which have been only recently removed are quite high.
- Using the Demo version of Dr. Fone you can assess the probability of recovery, and only then pay for the full version of the app.
- This app is universal; Dr. Fone’s set of tools can be used to recover many types of data on a mobile device: photos, documents, contacts and other types of data.
- It is secure; Dr. Fone developers reassure that it won’t brick your device.
Summing up, Dr. Fone gives a chance to recover text messages on Android, so why not use it?
As you could guess from the name, the SMS recovery function is key for this app. Similar to Dr. Fone, the simplest interface has only one button – Start - which allows you to begin the process of scanning the internal memory of your mobile device.
What you need to do:
- Connect your phone to the computer using USB.
- Enable USB Debugging Mode on your phone.
- After the app has been installed, sync your computer with the phone from which the messages were deleted.
Coolmuster works in Read-Only Mode, so it doesn’t make any changes to the phone memory. (Doing so could narrow your recovery chances.)
We recommend downloading a free trial version of the app and test how effective it is; if it works for you, you can pay to get your recovered data. The Preview shows content of the messages, deletion date and the sender/recipient.
Although the app claims to do a deep scan, it wouldn’t retrieve deleted text messages after, say, a hard reset. At the same time, Coolmuster can help get back other data types: contacts, images, video and audio.
In the vast majority of scenarios, recovery software is supposed to do the job on mobile devices which are 100% operational. But in more complicated cases, an SMS may need to be retrieved from:
- a bricked Android phone,
- a mobile device with a broken screen.
Basic recovery software like Dr. Fone appears to be useless then. There is an alternative way to get deleted text messages, but it requires a bit of skill from you.
Where are text messages stored
Text messages on Android are stored in the /data/data/
databases/mmssms.db. The file format is SQL. To access it, you need to root your device using mobile rooting apps. From this database, you can retrieve the following data:
- text of the messages,
- sender’s name.
Unfortunately, few softwares that read SQL can read the contents of the text messages database file. Yaffs extractor, also known as mmssms.db & contacts2.db converter, comes in handy here.
The database file with text messages is the easiest of all to convert to XML format by executing the extract.exe -s mmssms.db command.
The retrieved text messages can then be read in any notepad app/text editor, or transferred to SMS Backup & Restore (see above) to be exported to Android device memory afterwards.
The outstanding feature of the Undeleter app is it can recover data from the internal memory of the phone. Taking into account that the majority of the Android recovery programs only work with SD cards, Undeleter is a nice option in comparison.
In general, this text retrieval app works with all types of mobile data. These can be photos, videos, documents, and contacts, and, of course, SMS messages and text notes (plain text).
Undeleter has an option to view messages before recovering them through a special preview window. Received messages may be stored on the phone and also uploaded to cloud storage, like Dropbox or Google Drive. Thus, your deleted messages will not be overwritten, and the chances of their recovery will remain the same (for example, if you make several attempts).
Undeleter is not a free app when it comes to text retrieval.You must purchase a license to recover messages fully. Otherwise, you can recover only images/photos in JPG, PNG and some other formats with the free version
Note that without an activated root access, Undeleter functionality will be significantly limited and the recovery of SMS messages and texts will be possible only from SD cards.
MiniTool Mobile Recovery has two modules: Recover from a Phone and Recover from a SD Card. It's logical that you will need the first module to restore text messages on Android because the messages and SMS are stored on the phone memory.
The text message retrieval app is compatible with the majority of modern smartphones and tablets, like Samsung, HTC, Lenovo, Huawei, etc. In addition to the ordinary messages, the program searches for Viber and WhatsApp chats on the memory device.
Testing has shown that Mobile MiniTool Recovery doesn’t scan the memory too deeply, but recovering messages will be problematic if you haven't enabled the root settings.
As in other applications, there are two ways to scan deleted messages: Quick or Deep Scan. We advise you to choose the Deep option: the time difference is minimal but the results are higher than with the Quick method.
The free version of MMR isn't as functional as expected, as there is a limit of 10 on the recovery of items. Accordingly, only 10 text messages can be recovered from the chat. The MiniTool Recovery Full Mobile edition doesn't have these restrictions.
MobiSaver, which is similar to Mobile MiniTool Recovery, isn't a free app at all. The Full version of MobiSaver is more functional and doesn't have limits.It can be tested in a trial mode.
In the MobiSaver app, there is a built-in step-by-step wizard which can help easily recover mobile data, including text messages. When connecting the phone via USB, the program will check whether your phone has a root access. Full access to the file system is really necessary when searching for deleted messages; using MobiSaver for Android without a root is actually pointless.
Saved messages and SMS can be saved in .txt or .html format to the mobile device SD card.
In Google Play you can find some applications that restore SMS from a backup copy. Obviously, they are helpful only if you have a backup copy. However, we’d suggest examining some backup tools and, consequently, backing up all your text messages.
We’ve listed a number of apps which have a feedback rating of 4+ in Google Play:
- SMS Backup & Restore
- Titanium Backup
- SMS Backup +
What’s good about these is that you don’t need to do a backup copy of your text messages manually. As a rule, SMS backup apps automatically create a backup copy and do online synchronization. To recover your SIM card after deletion of data, or if your phone broke down, simply export the backup copy to your phone.
Is it possible to recover deleted text messages android without sim card?
The answer. Yes, but only if they have been stored in the internal memory or on the sd card. In fact, messages are rarely stored on sim card due to the limitations of the sim memory. If only the user haven't exported the data on the sim card himself. Almost any program listed in the review will work for recovering sms and text messages.
Is it possible to extract text messages from android without using the recovery programs that cost money and aren't always effective?
The answer. Try Yaffs extractor. This app retrieves the chat texts from the file mmssms.db stored in sql format. To use it you need to get the root access on Android.