How to Easily Recover Deleted Text Messages on Android

By Kay FleuryUpdated on January 7, 2020

How to Recover Deleted Android Messages header

Have you accidentally deleted a text message from your Android smartphone, and wished you could get it back? Text message conversations can sometimes hold memories or important information, so knowing how to preserve and recover them when necessary is quite useful. Fortunately, there are a couple of ways you can go about doing this, and we’re here to help! Here’s what we’re going to cover with you in this tutorial:

How to Recover Deleted Android Messages header

Before we get into the sets of instructions, we thought it would be good to start by explaining how the recovery process works.

How does Android text message recovery work?

In order to restore text messages, you will need to have backed them up in advance, so that you can restore the messages from that backup. The steps for recovering text messages from your Android varies depending on the software you use to do so, but the basic processes and outcome will be the same.

If you had not backed up your text messages or your entire device before deleting the conversation(s), it’s far less likely that you will be able to recover them. We recommend backing up your messages frequently to avoid running into these kinds of problems in the future.

Now that we’ve covered how the message recovery process works, let’s get into the step-by-step instructions for how to back up the messages on your Android device using a free app called SMS Backup & Restore.

How to back up Android text messages

Following these five steps will allow you to quickly and easily set up recurring backups of the text messages on your Android so you don’t have to worry about losing them ever again!

1. Download and install the SMS Backup & Restore app from the Google Play Store.

Open the Google Play Store, tap the search bar, and type in “SMS Backup & Restore”. When the app appears in the search results, tap it to open its details. To add it to your device, tap Install. The app is completely free.

Download SMS Backup & Restore: Android

Installing the SMS Backup & Restore app

2. Launch SMS Backup & Restore and allow access to your device data.

Once the app has been downloaded to your device, tap Open to launch it.

Opening the SMS Backup and Restore app

3. Select the data you want to back up then tap Next.

When you open the app for the first time, tap Get Started to begin using it.

Get started with SMS Backup & Restore

Then, you’ll need to allow the app to access the data on your device, tap Allow on the pop-up windows that appear, asking for access to your various files and contacts.

Allow SMS Backup and Restore to access your Android device's files

To create your first backup, tap the green Set Up a Backup button.

Set up your first SMS Backup & Restore backup

Then, indicate what data you want to be included in your backup. The app can back up both your calls and text messages. By default, both are selected. Tap the toggle switch beside either option to exclude it from the backup, if you wish. Then tap Next to move on.

Choose which types of data you want to back up

4. Choose where you want to store your backups.

You can store your backups locally (on your device), on Google Drive, or on Dropbox. Tap the toggle switch beside the storage location(s) you’d like to use. Then tap Next in the bottom right corner.

Select where you wish to store your backup

5. Schedule recurring backups, then tap Back Up Now.

When creating your first backup, SMS Backup & Restore will automatically prompt you to set up automatically recurring backups so that you won’t have to remember to back up your messages and calls in the future.

Make sure the toggle button beside “Schedule Recurring Backups” is switched on (i.e. green); tap it if it isn’t. Then tap the selector button beside how frequently you’d like your data backed up – daily, weekly, or monthly. Finally, tap Back Up Now in the bottom right corner.

Set recurring backup schedule and confirm backup

These five easy steps are all it takes to set up backups of your text messages on your Android smartphone. Once you’ve created these backups, you can restore them to your device at any time. Next, we’ll show you how to retrieve deleted text messages on Android from a backup.

How to restore Android text messages with SMS Backup & Restore

Completing the following five steps will allow you to easily recover your deleted text messages and attachments.

1. Launch SMS Backup and Restore.

From your home screen, tap SMS Backup & Restore to start up the app.

Launching the SMS Backup and Restore app

2. Tap the menu icon in the top left corner.

To access the restoration options, tap the Menu button (three lines) in the upper left corner of your screen. This will open a menu panel on the left side of your screen.

Open the SMS Backup and Restore main menu

3. Select Restore, then choose the backup you’d like to recover messages from.

From the options in the menu on the left, tap Restore.

Restore from a backup

Now you’ll be able to see the backups you’ve created. Select the backup of data you want to load to your device.

Select the backup to restore from

4. Tap the Restore button to load that data to your device.

Once you’ve selected a backup, tap Restore at the bottom.

Start the restore process

5. To complete the recovery process, tap OK, then tap Yes. When it is done, tap Close.

In order to recover your messages, you’ll need to temporarily set SMS Backup & Restore as your default messaging app. To agree to this, tap OK.

Temporarily set SMS Backup & Restore as default messaging service

In the second pop-up window, tap Yes.

Confirm a change in default messaging app

Lastly, you’ll see a window appear letting you know that the restoration has been completed. When you see this window, tap Close.

Confirm that the restoration has finished

Once you’ve completed these five steps, your messages (and phone calls, if you chose to restore them) will be recovered to your device. Besides the app we’ve mentioned so far, there are quite a few other options for software to use to back up and recover text messages on Android devices.

One other good one we’d recommend is FonePaw Data Recovery for desktop. This method requires use of a computer, but is a good option if you don’t want your backups stored online or directly on your Android device. In the next section, we’ll be showing how to retrieve deleted messages and save them to your computer with FonePaw’s Data Recovery software.

How to recover deleted text messages with FonePaw Data Recovery

This method is slightly more complicated than using the SMS Backup & Restore app, as it requires use of a computer, but it may be able to help you out if you hadn’t backed up your messages beforehand.

1. Download FonePaw Data Recovery & open it on your computer.

The first step of course is to install the software on your computer. FonePaw’s Android Data Recovery software is available for both Windows and Mac computers. Download the software and allow the installer to run.

Download FonePaw Data Recovery: Windows | Mac

Download FonePaw Data Recovery

When the installation is complete, launch the software on your computer.

The FonePaw software launching

2. Connect your smartphone to your computer using a USB cable.

Using the USB cable your device came with, connect your Android device to your computer in order to access its files in the FonePaw software.

Android smart phone plugged into a computer

3. Unlock your smartphone’s developer mode (if you haven’t already).

The next step requires some advanced settings on your phone that you won’t be able to find if you haven’t unlocked developer mode yet. Fortunately, doing so is pretty simple… if a bit obscure. Start by going to your Settings menu, and then tap About Phone.

Viewing technical information about your Android phone

This brings you to a screen showing some technical information about your phone. Scroll down until you see the “Build Number” section. Tap on this section 7 times in a row.

Tap the Android build number repeatedly to unlock developer mode on your phone

If done correctly, you should see a message stating “You are now a developer!” This will open up the additional options that you’ll need.

4. Enable USB debugging on your device.

To allow the software to display your Android’s messages on your computer, you’ll need to enable what’s known as “USB debugging” on your Android. The steps to do this may vary from one device to another, but the basic steps are to open your Settings, then search for and access Developer Options. Here you should see the option to enable USB Debugging. Read more about USB debugging and how to enable it here.

Enabling debugging mode when Android device is connected to USB

5. Choose the messages you want to recover.

Now you’ll be able to select the types of files you’d like to recover. For text messages, select Messages. If you also want to include attachments to messages (like pictures sent in text conversations), click Message Attachments. When you’re done, click Next.

Selecting the types of data to restore

6. Allow the software to access your smartphone’s data.

In the window that pops up on your Android device, tap Allow/Authorize/Grant (varies across different devices).

Allow FonePaw to access your Android device's data

7. Preview messages, then click Recover.

Now you should be able to see your text message conversations in the FonePaw window on your computer. Conversations that are still existing/active on your device will appear in black, while deleted conversations are in red. Click on a contact name to preview a conversation. Click the check box beside a conversation you want to save, then click Recover. The messages will then be saved as a file on your computer.

Selecting the conversations to recover

To view the messages you’ve recovered, open the HTML files you’ve saved to your computer.

A sample of what a recovered conversation will look like

That’s everything you need to do to recover deleted text messages from your Android using the FonePaw Data Recovery software. Now that we’ve shown you how to back up your messages and recover deleted messages in two different ways, we have some helpful tips to make it easier for your future self to get back conversations you’ve erased.

Tips to make it easier to restore messages in the future

These three easy tips will save you a ton of time and frustration and make it much easier to restore your conversations if you happen to delete them accidentally in the future.

1. Set up recurring automatic backups of your text messages.

As we showed in the section about backing up conversations with SMS Backup & Restore, when creating your first backup, you’ll be prompted to set up automatic recurring backups. We’d recommend taking advantage of this feature so you don’t have to worry about remembering to back them up manually.

2. Regularly back up your messages to your computer.

If for some reason you’d rather not have your conversations backed up automatically, be sure to regularly back up your messages so that you’ll have a copy of them saved in case you happen to delete a message by mistake in the future.

3. Try other messaging apps that allow for messages to be archived.

Outside of the messaging apps that come built into Android devices, there are tons of other messaging apps available that have message archiving or backup features included. These include apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Check out our recommendations for the best messaging apps for Android and iOS to find your new favorite messaging platform.

That covers everything you need to know about how to get deleted messages back on Android devices. To find out about other awesome things you can do with Android devices, check out the Android section of our website for more tutorials and informational articles.