I work in IT and I'm part of an on-call rotation. Normally we use a dedicated on-call phone, but that's not available since covid, so I'm using my own device right now. We had a major networking outage tonight which resulted in roughly 600 SMS notifications from our monitoring service to my phone.

The problem is that each one of these notifications comes from a different address (I don't know why/how that works). So rather than 600 new messages in a single conversation, I now have ~600 new conversations in my Messaging app with a single message each. I would like to delete them so I don't have to scroll through 600 conversations to find my conversations with friends.

Is there any way to bulk delete conversations based on some kind of search filter? I did see this question, but the answers only address how to delete all SMS messages. I would only like to delete the conversations which were generated by this incident.

I'm on a OnePlus 3T with LineageOS 17.1 (based on Android 10). My phone is rooted so I can run adb commands on it from my Linux desktop.

  • if you prefer doing it on Windows you can use MyPhoneExplorer (you can filter by keywords, select all + delete like in Thunderbird)
    – alecxs
    Dec 3, 2020 at 17:05

1 Answer 1


Act fast to get quick results

  • Use SMS backup and restore and backup all your SMSes to local storage on device immediately.

  • Go to the app menu and choose restore. It will select the backup you made. Go to advanced options and select only restore backup since and you choose date before you got flooded by all these SMSes.

  • Assuming you don't have any important messages after the chosen date , you are good. If you have, follow steps in answer here to backup, selected conversations and choose those to be restored. It doesn't restore duplicates and at most you may end up having to manually delete a few messages

  • Alternatively, you can export the SMS backup file which is in XML format to your laptop, search for the common term in these messages, delete all those, maybe use a script to do that. Transfer the file to your device and restore to device.

  • 1
    You deleted your original comment which suggested using this same app to export the backups to XML, writing a script to prune the XML file, and running a restore from the modified XML backup. I'm not sure why you deleted that comment because that's exactly what I ended up doing and it worked quite well.
    – jayhendren
    Dec 4, 2020 at 4:40
  • It's good that your problem was solved by the earlier suggestion. I deleted that comment thinking it was probably difficult (which was a mistake). I added that suggestion to the answer, so that you can mark it as accepted. Thank you
    – beeshyams
    Dec 4, 2020 at 8:35

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