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I have a HTC Vivid and need to delete about 30,000 texts. Every time I try to do it, it freezes my phone. The same thing happens when I try to create a backup.

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    Factory reset? Much quicker, as for 30K texts, I find that hard to believe. No wonder Android freezes as their data store holding the texts is struggling to perform the operation in deletion!
    – t0mm13b
    Dec 15, 2012 at 3:41
  • its true is there a way to only delete a certain amount of texts at one time that you know of?
    – Hunter
    Dec 15, 2012 at 4:07
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    did you try deleting batches of conversations? (i.e. try to delete 5 or 10 conversations at a time)
    – Sid
    Dec 15, 2012 at 6:22
  • Could possibly help if you tried 3rd party apps to manage the SMS.
    – Irfan
    Dec 15, 2012 at 16:00

6 Answers 6

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There is a way to delete all SMS and MMS (and call logs) all at once.

In Android, SMS are normally received and stored by the package com.android.providers.telephony. That package’s common name is “Phone/Messaging Storage” in Android 4.2.2 and “Dialer Storage” in Android 2.3.7.

If you clear all data of that app, all it’s databases are cleared and SMS/MMS are gone. You can “force stop” and then “clear data” with the app manager, which you find under

  • Settings→Apps
  • Settings→Application settings→Manage applications

If you have an alternative SMS app, note that most of them side access the “standard” database anyway. – This is technically not clean, but has the huge advantage that you can swap SMS apps at will, because the SMS storage stays the same.

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    I tried this, but after Force Stopping the Phone/Messaging Storage, the Clear Data button was grayed out, even though it says I have 7MB of data. Jul 24, 2016 at 4:29
  • @JasonGross On my Android 5.0.2 it is the same: even stopped, the data can not be cleared in the app manager. There might be a command line way... Jul 24, 2016 at 13:06
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Here are the steps (requires root):

  1. Back up all SMS using the SMS Backup & Restore app to your external card
  2. Open Root Explorer, go to /data/data/com.android.providers.telephony/databeses/mmssms.db
  3. If you want, you can copy the current mmssms.db to external card for backup too
  4. Delete the current mmssms.db file
  5. Restart phone
  6. Now all your SMS will disappear.

If you want to restore just some of the SMS threads, you can restore them using the "SMS Backup & Restore" app from the backup SMS data that has already been made.

Hope this help

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    Note that SMS Backup & Restore has an option to delete all the messages.
    – user82946
    Dec 5, 2014 at 17:02
  • The "SMS Backup & Restore" app. has such an option indeed. It's under "Tools" as "Delete messages or call logs". You could delete nearly all of them in one go. It left the last 15 messages in the list. Dec 18, 2021 at 18:56
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Here is a non-root way to delete all text messages:

adb shell content delete --uri content://sms/inbox

Tested and works on Google Pixel 3/Android 10.

You can also delete some text messages using a Where clause:

adb shell content delete --uri content://sms/inbox --where "read='1'"

Some (but not all) columns are: address, person, date, date_sent, read, status, type, subject, body, locked, error_code, seen

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In Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, open the standard messaging app, go to Settings or press the bottom-left touch key to show options/settings within the app, select/press Delete > Select All > Delete.

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You might also try using a phone manager via your PC that works over Wifi, such as AirDroid. You should be able to delete from there, but not all of them at once I don't think, but in batches at least...

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  • Hi, this app can not delete sms in Android 4.4 and higher. Do you have an alternative ?
    – Maxime
    Oct 31, 2016 at 10:53
  • AirDroid allows deleting messages one by one, but has no mass delete option
    – M.M
    Sep 23, 2018 at 1:22
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If a factory reset isn't acceptable, you might try an app such as Handcent, which allows you to set a limit on how many messages are kept for each sender. Set the limit to 29000 and see if it trims them down in a reasonable time. If that works, try dropping the limit 2000 at a time until you get to the number you want. This won't work if your messages are from many different senders.

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