How to Read Deleted Text Messages From a Cell Phone

By Misty Rodriguez

Updated September 28, 2017

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Cell phones that are on a global system for mobile phone network, or GSM network, have an SIM card that makes it easy for you to store all of your important data. SIM stands for subscriber identity module, and the SIM card makes it possible for you retrieve text messages on your cell phone that have been deleted. With the help of a SIM card reader, you can recover messages that have accidentally been deleted or monitor your child's cell phone usage.

Locate your phone's SIM card. To do this, simply open up the battery cover and remove the battery. You should see a small card that looks like a microchip--that's your SIM card. If there's no card under the battery, then it's likely that your cell phone provider isn't part of the GSM network. In that case, you must call your provider and request a record of your text messaging history. Some companies may not give you this information without a court order.

Research different SIM card readers to determine which one fits your needs. There are numerous choices, such as Cell Phone Spy, Zonet, and ZiO FoneMate. Cell Phone Spy was featured on CNN.

Use the CD that came with your SIM card reader to install the proper software. Follow any prompts that pop up, and wait for the program to finish installing before you proceed.

Remove the SIM card from your cell phone and insert it into the card reader. The SIM card should slide easily into the reader, which is essentially a USB flash drive. Once the SIM card is in place, plug the card reader into your computer's USB port.

Open the card reader program if it doesn't automatically open when you insert the reader into the USB port. There should be an icon on your desktop that will open the program if you double-click it.

Follow the instructions to restore deleted text messages. Some readers have the option to print the messages, but you can still print them out if your reader doesn't have that feature. Simply highlight the messages and copy them into a word processing document, then print as usual.

Take the SIM card reader out of your computer once you're done retrieving the messages. Slide the SIM card out of the reader and return it back to your cell phone before replacing the battery and battery cover.


Save a copy of the text messages on your hard drive for easy retrieval in the future.