How to Retrieve Deleted Emails

While the main focus of our tool is mainly retrieving deleted text messages we do appreciate that these days people tend to keep important emails stored on their phones as well. Working largely the same way as text messages do, emails can be used for personal or business use and losing an important one can be anything from annoying to devastating.

Now first up is the obvious piece of advice which we should really all be following: Don’t store important information on an email. Back it up somewhere. Print it out, forward it to a secondary email, save it somewhere on a different computer or device. Just don’t rely on one inbox or device holding everything. And while we all know that’s best practice we also all know that most of us don’t do that kind of thing. So, what can we do to restore those deleted emails?

Well first of all it really depends on the settings of your email client. So you’re going to want to work out what’s going on there.

Step One: Where’s the Email?

retrieve deleted emailsWhen your phone retrieves an email it will do one of two things depending on the email client your phone is using and its settings. If you look at the settings on your phone it will have an option to delete the messages from the server or leave them there. If your phone isn’t set to delete them then retrieving the deleted email is easy. The email is still in the inbox on the server so you can log in if you have access to the the web mail (if you’re using Hotmail or Yahoo for example). From there you can forward the email to yourself or mark it unread and get your phone to re-sync the emails.

If you don’t have access to your email server then contact your system admin (or a friend good with computers who owes you a favor might work as well). The reason this works is because the email isn’t actually deleted. It’s removed from your phones inbox which was just a copy it made from the server, the original is still safe.

Step Two: Scramble

OK so if your phone deleted the original message from the inbox – what’s the next step?

Well you can attack it on one of two fronts.

The server: This is going to be a headache. If you have a free web host like Yahoo or Hotmail you’re probably not going to get very far. Check the deleted messages folder. Sometimes you might have them sitting in limbo in there for a while before they’re removed. If they’re not there it’s unlikely that you will get to see those emails again. Big hosts like that would be spending a lot of time dealing with deleted email requests 24/7 if they offered that kind of service. Especially on free email accounts.

If your email server host is a little smaller (for example you’re paying a hosting company or your company owns the server) you might have a little more luck. Now I’m assuming you’re not the system admin here or you’d already be running forensic tools on the server hard drive but if you speak really nicely to an admin they might be able to recover your email(s) from a backup or a scan of the hard drive for files marked as deleted. Be prepared to buy them a drink though because it won’t be a quick job.

Your phone: The same way as data isn’t always actually removed when it has been deleted. Sometimes it’s still sitting on the memory waiting to be overwritten. If we’re going down this path then you’re better of going here and getting the TextRar tool. It mostly focuses on text messages but a lot of the methods are the same.

Comments for this article: (3)

  • Mike says:

    Man thanks so much for this I would have been so screwed if I didn’t get that email back! Luckily it was still kept on my computers inbox I didn’t think of checking there.

  • Princess says:

    My admin really wasn’t happy when I asked him to go looking for the email but I got it back so I didn’t miss my flights at least. I feel like he’s the one who should have been going on my holiday though…

  • iPhoneMasta says:

    Does this work for iPhone?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *