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All of my old text messages disappeared. What might I be able to do to recover them?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Unless you have a previous backup, there's no easy way to recover them.

Use Handcent or GoSMS - they have in-built scheduling to backup SMS to your SD card or to send the backup to an email mailbox you specify.

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Maybe you want to correct your "no way" to "no easy way" or "no way without root". But agreed: nothing for the "average user" to easily achieve... –  Izzy Aug 16 '12 at 12:17
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SPOILER: The following does only work on rooted devices!

If they are already gone, in most cases it's too late. However, some chances are left if your device is rooted -- but they are not that easy to achieve: You would need a complete (physical) file system copy from your internal storage, and pull that to your workstation. Once you've achieved that, you can use a process called File Carving to get hold of even deleted files. This might get especially tricky as most devices use YAFFS2 for their internal storage -- a file system rarely used on any workstation.

Some File Carving software solutions include:

  • Scalpel available for Linux (prefered), Mac OS X, Windows
  • foremost Linux; can also work on Images created with dd -- so if you were able to create such on your device, the YAFFS2 barrier is gone)
  • TestDisk supports a lot of operating systems

Concerning this special case (especially with YAFFS2), I'd say the best approach would be to go with a dd image and foremost. As on YAFFS2 things are not that lightly "deleted or wiped" (to prolong the life of NAND-Flash, "stuff" is rather marked deleted and only overwritten when that storage block is needed to store new data), chances are quite good to recover "stuff".

Not everybody's easiest way, I know -- but there's no "easy solution" I could see.

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Remark:You might also want to check Recover deleted content from userdata partition?, which especially deals with deleted SMS and offers additional details. Quoting: So it came to pass, that Amanda did have a blonde moment and deleted all her threads in the SMS app by mistake. –  Izzy Sep 5 '12 at 11:35
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protected by eldarerathis Jul 26 '13 at 16:36

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