By Ben Stegner
Losing data from your phone is heartbreaking. Whether you accidentally delete something or have your phone stolen or damaged, your irreplaceable photos, messages from loved ones, and more could disappear.
If you need to recover some text messages from your Android phone, you’re probably desperately looking for the best solution to do so. Here’s what you need to know about recovering deleted texts, and how to back them up to prevent this in the future.
How to Recover Deleted Text Messages on Android
We’ll start with the bad news: there’s really no reliable way to recover deleted texts on Android if you didn’t prepare beforehand. Perform a Google search for how to do this, and you’ll come across a variety of sites trying to get you to use their Android recovery software. The problem is that they won’t work for most people.
We tested Mobikin, FonePaw Android Recovery, and EaseUS MobiSaver for this article. Each of them failed to recover data due to at least one of three big limitations:
- You need root access to recover text messages.
- The tools don’t actually recover anything without paying.
- They ask you to use the unavailable USB Mass Storage protocol.
Let’s discuss each of these drawbacks in turn.
Drawback 1: Root Access Needed
Whenever you progress through one of these text recovery programs, they’ll usually check for root access. Without it, they can’t do much. When testing Mobikin, we skipped the root prompt and ended up at a blank results screen. FonePaw attempted to perform a temporary root, which causes Android to display a security warning.
While a temporary root reverts after you reboot, this is still an invasive (yet unfortunately necessary) step for these apps to take. And permanently rooting usually requires unlocking your bootloader, which wipes the data on your phone. Additionally, you might not want to root your phone for security reasons, plus you don’t really need to do it anymore.
Thus, requiring root access prevents most people from using these recovery tools.
Drawback 2: Recovery Isn’t Free
Even if you have a rooted phone or don’t mind the temporary root, you’ll be in for a shock when you actually try to restore texts. These tools are all quite similar and offer “free trials” that do virtually nothing other than check for deleted files. You’ll need to pay a high price ($40-$50 or more) in order to actually recover anything.
Drawback 3: USB Mass Storage
When you connect your Android phone to a PC, you can choose from several protocols to use. Modern devices typically use MTP (Media Transfer Protocol) or PTP (Picture Transfer Protocol). Ancient Android devices (older than 4.x Ice Cream Sandwich) used a different protocol known as USB Mass Storage (UMS).
UMS is the same protocol that flash drives use when connected to a PC. It makes their contents completely available to the host computer. The problem is that a device needs exclusive access when using UMS.
All this said, Android doesn’t support UMS anymore. Thus, you can’t use a program like Recuva to recover files from a device connected with MTP or PTP. It won’t even see your device. EaseUs MobiSaver asked us to enable UMS, but this just isn’t possible on modern Android phones.
How to Back Up and Restore Android Text Messages
For easily backing up text messages, SMS Backup & Restore is your best bet. It’s easy to set up, runs on a schedule, and backs up to cloud storage. If you want to back up everything at once, try another top backup app.
After installing it, give it permission to access your information. Then, tap Set up a backupon the main screen. You can choose to back up phone calls in addition to texts, if you like. Tap Advanced Options to enable backing up MMS and emoji, or back up only certain conversations.
Finally, choose how often to perform the backup. Daily is a fine interval for most; you can pick Hourly for more protection. When you’re done, tap Back up now to start a backup and schedule it. Your messages are now protected!
You can slide out the left menu in the app and tap View backups to make sure they’re working anytime. Choose Restore from this menu when you need to recover messages.
Download: SMS Backup & Restore (Free)
Android Texts Backed Up for Good
While the Android text recovery scene isn’t great, thankfully backing up is. If there was a perfect way to back up, we’d be happy to share it with you. As is, though, a combination of Android limitations and expensive recovery tools mean that you can’t recover messages without paying a significant amount of money and modifying your phone.
Image Credit: londondeposit/Depositphotos Source: www.makeuseof.com