Find Deleted Text Messages
Trying to recover a deleted text messages is a snap. As soon as we’ve found the memory location of the message it’s as simple as telling the phones operating system that that message is no longer free to overwrite.
The trick, however, is actually finding the deleted text in the first place.
When a message is deleted it still remains on the memory, because trying to physically remove it every time you delete a message would be way to inefficient. So unless you’re using an app which is designed to go over that memory location when you delete a message, if we can find it we can access it.
Finding the deleted text message means knowing what a message marked as ‘deleted’ looks like. We call this a footprint.
The footprint for a deleted message will vary depending on the phones operating system and the version of that operating system. So, for example, a BlackBerry might delete files differently than an Android or iPhone. The end result is still the same and the text message app still won’t be able to access it. But when it comes to finding delete text messages the footprint matters.
Different types of phones have different chance of getting their messages back. While no model or operating system can guarantee you’ll get anything back some leave a more obvious foot print than others.
Keep in mind it also relies on you using your phone as little as possible. The closer you come to overwriting the memory the bigger the likelihood you’ll overwrite the message you’re trying to get back.
It’s why when I was asked (via text message) how to recover a deleted texts I just replied ‘turn the phone off I’ll be there in five’. The less you use your phone the easier it’ll be to find the footprints and be able to cover your deleted message.
Software to Find Deleted Text Messages
It the not too distant past the best way of finding and recovering deleted text messages was to find the footprint manually and use a low level file scanner to look manually. This was slow, inefficient and if the footprint changed at all you had nothing.
On top of that? Even if you did manage to spend all that time and find the message you wanted, there was still no automated way of re-syncing the data back to your phone. You’d have access to the text on the computer but that was it.
Luckily recovery software has come a long way since then. Finding deleted text messages can be done with the click of a button. If the data still exists on the phone memory then tools can not only automatically pick it up but they can restore them directly to your phone. It used to be the realm of the tech guys to delve into the hidden marks of your phones memory. Now your grandmother could boot up software and do it.
Granting Access to Your Phone
Whether you’re using software or searching for your deleted texts manually, you’re going to need access to the phone. Firstly that means physical access to the phone, to connect it to your computer, and secondly it means you need to grant the software access to a level it wouldn’t normally get.
So say, for example, you connect your iPhone up to iTunes. Normally it has enough access to see the files and data it’s supposed to see. The first level which are supposed to be visible to the phone and to iTunes.
The problem with this, however, is that those deleted messages are not supposed to appear so they don’t. The text recovery software you use will have the same problems so we need to open the phone up a bit.
For an iPhone this means holding the power and home buttons together for ten seconds and then releasing the power while still holding the home button. And this should be done while the phone is connected to the computer. Now this does not mean that iTunes will suddenly be able to see more data or that your SMS app will display deleted messages, but it does mean your recovery software can scan the memory for it properly.
Forensics Labs to Find Deleted Texts
Now I don’t want to shout scam, but…
There are labs you can go to which specialise in this kind of thing. I’m wary about suggesting any one in particular because I’m yet to see one which doesn’t just charge people to do things we show them how to do for free.
But in theory a company could have their own proprietary software to find deleted texts and recover them. There’s also hardware access. It’s pretty incredible the kind of abuse they’ve been able to recover deleted data from hardware which has been pretty beaten up. But to be honest if this is even possible for a mobile phone it won’t be cheap.
Actually finding a deleted text message is part of it. You need to either export that data to another format or be able to reverse the footprint marking it as deleted so your phone will actually be able to access the content again. Luckily this isn’t really as hard as it sounds and the same tools which can find deleted text messages can also restore them back to your phone. You can find the best ways to do all this by clicking here.