How to Find and Recover Deleted Text Messages on Android

Although most users and businesses have switched to instant messaging apps like WhatsApp or Messenger, many still prefer regular text messages to receive real-time alerts and stay in touch. Whether you’re using a Google Pixel phone or a high-end Samsung Galaxy phone, recovering an accidentally deleted message isn’t easy.

While Google offers the default Messages app on every Android phone, OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) like Samsung and OnePlus bundle a different Messages app into their offerings.


Check your archived inbox on Messages

The default swipe gestures in the Messages app archive a message. If you accidentally swipe left or right on one of the conversation threads in Messages, the app archives the thread.

Here’s how to find and unarchive important messages:

  1. Open Messages on Android.
  2. Tap the three-dot menu in the upper right corner.
  3. Select Archive.

  4. Long press on the message you want to unarchive and tap the up arrow icon at the top.

Google does not offer trash on messages. If you haven’t enabled Google Drive backup yet, you have to rely on third-party data recovery apps to recover deleted text messages.

Recover Deleted Text Messages on Samsung Galaxy Phone

The default One UI Messages app on Galaxy phones supports RCS and comes with a long list of features. When you delete a text message on your Samsung phone, the Messages app sends it to the trash for 30 days. After a month, the recycle bin permanently deletes the message.

  1. Open the Messages app on your Samsung phone.
  2. Tap the three-dot menu in the upper right corner and open the Basket.

  3. Check your deleted text messages. Long press on the message you want to recover.
  4. Select Restore at the bottom and tick the same in your main inbox.

Check your carrier’s app

Apart from OEMs, mobile carriers offer text messaging apps on Android phones with useful functions. For example, AT&T has AT&T Messages Backup & Sync, and Verizon bundles Verizon Messages which backs up your texts and makes them available on the web and other devices. If you are using the carrier’s messaging app, you can easily restore deleted text messages.

What about third-party data recovery software?

There is no shortage of third-party data recovery apps on the web. Software solutions like Dr.Fone, PhoneRescure and FonePaw claim to recover deleted text messages on your Android phone.

These apps provide features like quick scan and deep scan to find deleted data on your phone. Some features require you to root the device to work as intended. Additionally, several advanced features cost a subscription and results are not guaranteed. If you are considering using any of these tools, check out their money back guarantee.

Rooting your Android phone may void the manufacturer’s warranty.

Reach the recipient

If none of these tricks work to recover text messages on your Android phone, you have no choice but to contact the sender. The person may have a copy of the text message you’re looking for, and you can ask them to forward the message again.

Enable message backup in Google Drive

You should enable Google Drive backup on your Android phone to avoid such situation. Google Drive backs up installed app data, media files, SMS messages, call history, device settings, and Google account data.

  1. Swipe up from the home screen to open the app drawer.
  2. Find it Settings app with a familiar gear icon.
  3. Scroll to System.
  4. Select Backup.

  5. Check account storage and enable the backup toggle in the next menu.

The backup of your Android phone is taken into account in the storage space of your Google account. If you’re running out of the default 15GB storage, free up some space or subscribe to one of the Google One plans.

To recover deleted text messages on your Android, you need to factory reset your Android phone and restore Google Drive backup during setup.

Use a third-party SMS app

Not everyone prefers cloud backup and lengthy factory reset method to restore deleted text messages. If you’re one of them and want a convenient alternative, use a third-party SMS app like Pulse to backup and restore your SMS.

Pulse SMS offers multiple theme options, web version to check your messages on desktop, Wear OS support, rich web link previews, password protection, ability to backup and restore messages text and automated responses. Some advanced features are part of the Pulse+ subscription which starts at $0.99 per month.

Find your lost messages

If you prefer the Google Messages app, check out our top tips for RCS and chat. Since Google Messages is available on the web, you can also access conversations on your laptop. Read our dedicated guide to using Google Messages on desktop.