Recover Lost or Deleted Text Messages

October 2019 | Article

If your goal is retrieving deleted text messages, you're not alone. Google reports that, on average, more than 8,100 people every month are trying to do the same thing. Whether for criminal or civil cases, or for personal reasons, the need to retrieve deleted messages from cell phones is not uncommon. The data on your phone can be critical in many types of legal cases. What might be uncommon is recovering text messages and deleted files correctly.

Before you go down the road of recovering deleted text messages, make sure you have looked at your easier options. If accidently deleted, can you restore a backup from your computer or a cloud-based account? This can be done with android devices as well as iPhones. A backup from your computer, or an iCloud backup, may help you restore your device to gain access to your deleted data.

In your search for answers, you have likely found a cheap downloadable software option. Before you do this, however, remember that you get what you pay for. The forensic practice of cell phone preservation and recovery is not something done with a $30 or even a $50 download. While these cheap options might allow for some success, how much are you leaving on the table? If you do decide to use a DIY recovery software, will it be admissible in court?

A best practices approach requires hardware and software approved by the Department of Justice, as well as proper training and experience. At Eide Bailly, we recover deleted text messages for hundreds of clients every year and only use hardware and software approved by the Department of Justice. We use tools like Cellebrite and Axiom from Magnet Forensics, which have been accepted in court hundreds if not thousands of times in the past.

How Does it Work?
A simple way to explain how text messages are recovered is to refer you to the Dewey Decimal System from any library. Any book in the library can be found through this system. Computers and cell phones are no different. When you send or receive a text message, it is placed in a database on your device. This database allows you to view it over and over by knowing where it was placed on your device. Anyone with access to the library could find a particular book using this system. Likewise, anyone with access to your device could find your text messages.

If you remove the card from the card catalog, then a person would need to manually search every shelf in the library for the book in question. This is what happens when you delete a text message from your cell phone. The text message is still on the device, but the operating system no longer has a way to find it. A manual search must be done to discover it again.

We Recover your Lost or Deleted Text Messages
When we recover deleted text messages, we do this for a flat-fee and make all of the data on the device available to you, not just the recovered messages. This can include deleted pictures, videos, WiFi connections, call logs, installed apps and their contents, and internet browsing history, to name a few.

This can all be done in varying degrees on both Android and iOS devices. The degree of success depends on the make and model of the device, the amount of time that has passed since the text messages were deleted, the frequency of use of text messages (i.e. do you text like my 16-year-old daughter, or my 65-year-old mother) and the storage size of the device. This would also include MMS, or Multi Media Service. The MMS message can contain a message in text and an embedded file that could be an image, video, audio, or other format.

The ability to recover deleted text messages in most cases is highly beneficial. Most messages that are recovered hold the answers to your questions or prove or disprove a legal matter. It is no wonder that a recent report showed that 62% of all legal matters use data from cell phones. If you have other questions about how cell phone forensics might play a useful role in your case, please contact us.

If you need deleted text messages recovered, please contact one of our computer forensic examiners by calling us or filling out the contact form to the right.

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