How to Get Back Deleted Text Messages With Verizon Phones
By Amanda Knaebel
Updated August 24, 2017
If you’ve deleted important or sentimental text messages from your Verizon cellphone, don’t go into panic mode right away -- there are a few ways you may be able to get them back. If you use a smart phone, you can check for backups of your data through services specific to your phone’s manufacturer or in a third-party app.
If you use an iPhone, you may be able to find your deleted messages in an iCloud or iTunes backup. Both types of backups contain your messages, as well as most of the other data on your phone. If you have iCloud backup turned on, your phone will automatically make backups (as long as you have iCloud storage space available) whenever your phone is plugged into the charger, connected to Wi-Fi and on the lock screen, so there’s a good chance there might be a backup from before you deleted the messages.
To see the date and time of your last iCloud backup, tap on the gray gear Settings icon on your iPhone. From the Settings menu, choose General > Storage & iCloud Usage > Manage Storage (under the iCloud heading) > Backups.
If you have an iCloud backup from before you deleted your texts, you can restore it by erasing your iPhone and choosing to restore the backup during the setup assistant process. It’s a good idea to make a current backup of your iPhone in iTunes before you do this since you’ll be erasing your phone first. Plug your phone into your computer and click on the “Back Up Now” button in iTunes to make a current backup. By making the current backup in iTunes, you won’t overwrite any of your older iCloud backups that might contain your messages.
To restore your iCloud backup, open the Settings app and go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. Your phone will prompt you to turn off Find My iPhone before it erases it. After your phone is erased, it will restart with the white “Hello” screen and guide you through the setup process as if you were setting up a new iPhone. When you get to the setup screen that asks if you want to set your phone up as a new iPhone or restore a backup, choose “Restore from iCloud backup,” then choose the date and time of the backup you want to restore. You’ll need to be connected to Wi-Fi to restore from iCloud.
iTunes only makes automatic backups when you plug your phone into your computer if you choose that option in iTunes instead of having iCloud store your automatic backups. You can still make a manual backup in iTunes, even if you have iCloud Backup turned on, by connecting your phone to your computer and clicking the “Back Up Now” button in iTunes, however.
Plug your phone into your computer and open iTunes. Click on Edit > Preferences > Devices in iTunes (or iTunes > Preferences > Devices if you’re using a Mac) to see the dates and times of any iTunes backups you have to see if you made one that would include your deleted messages. If you see one from before you deleted the messages, you can click on the “Restore Backup” button on the iTunes Summary screen and choose the backup you want to restore from the list of dates and times that pops up.
Remember that when you restore a backup on your iPhone, your phone will go back to exactly how it was when the backup was made, meaning any messages you sent or received after the backup time won’t be there once the backup is done restoring. iPhone backups don’t contain any content you originally synced to your phone through iTunes, so you’ll need to resync to get your music, ringtones and any other iTunes content back on your phone after you restore the backup.
Third-Party Recovery Programs and Backup Apps
If you use an Android device, the built-in backup service backs up a lot of your data to your Google account, including your contacts, photos and files, but it does not back up your text messages. If you don’t have your messages backed up to Verizon Cloud and you use an Android, you can try using a third-party software tool, like MobiKin Doctor for Android, FonePaw Android Data Recovery or Coolmuster Lab.Fone for Android to recover them. Most of these programs are paid applications, and some of them do require you to root your phone to take advantage of their recovery options, but there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to get your messages back.
Several third-party developers make backup apps for the iOS App Store and Google Play. While these apps won’t be helpful to you if you didn’t have them installed and backing up your data before you deleted your messages, they can be helpful to prevent future data loss. If you were running a third-party backup app on your phone before you deleted your messages, go into the app and navigate to the app’s menu or settings to see your options for restoring your deleted data.
SMS Backup & Restore by Carbonite and SMS Backup + are two such apps on Android. For iOS, you can try PhoneView or CopyTrans to save your text messages if you don’t want to use iCloud or iTunes for your backups.
What About Verizon Cloud?
Verizon provides its own backup service to customers called Verizon Cloud, formerly called Backup Assistant Plus. The first 2 GB of storage is free, though customers can choose to pay for additional storage or get additional storage for no extra charge with certain rate plans. While you can sync your text and multimedia messages to Verizon Cloud, they’re one of the types of data that Verizon deletes from Verizon Cloud when you delete them from your phone, so unfortunately you won’t be able to recover them that way.
Deleted Texts From Regular Cellphones
You may still be able to recover deleted text messages if you use a cellphone that isn’t a smart phone, but the process is usually a bit more difficult and potentially costly since you won’t have a backup app like you might on a smart phone. When you delete data stored in your phone’s internal memory, it isn’t immediately gone. Your phone marks the space taken up by the deleted data as available so it can be overwritten with new data.
Some phones have an option to copy text messages to the SIM card. Most phones with this functionality are smart phones and Verizon non-smart phones don’t often use SIM cards, but if yours does and you copied the messages to the card before you deleted them from your phone, you may be able to get them back. Connect your phone to your computer and try downloading and using a SIM card recovery program, such as SIM Card Files Recovery or SIM Recovery PRO, to retrieve the messages from the card. These types of programs aren’t made by Verizon or your phone’s manufacturer, so there is no guarantee they will work.
Independent data recovery companies or cellphone forensics specialists may be able to retrieve deleted messages from your phone’s internal memory as well. These types of services can be costly, however, since they require specialized software.
Verizon may be able to access your deleted text messages depending on how old they are, but most companies keep that information very secure and typically will only release it when presented with a legal subpoena. That’s an option if your deleted messages are important to a court case or investigation, however.
- Apple: Restore Your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch From a Backup
- TechAdvisor: How to Restore Deleted iPhone Messages
- Nexus: Back Up or Restore Data on Your Android Device
- TechRadar: How to Back Up and Restore Your Android Phone or Tablet
- AndroidPit: How to Recover Deleted Text Messages on Your Android Phone
- Coolmuster: Coolmuster Lab.Fone for Android
- Android Authority: Backup Your SMS, MMS and Call Log Automatically - Android Customization
- AndroidCentral: How to Recover Deleted Text Messages on Android
- Google Play: SMS Backup +
- Wired: Total Recall: How to Back Up All the Text Messages on Your iPhone
- Verizon: Copy Messages Between SIM Card and Device - Thunderbolt by HTC
- Verizon: Copy Messages Between SIM Card and Device - Samsung Stratosphere
- CCM: SIM Card Files Recovery
- Enigma Recovery: Recover Deleted Text Messages From SIM Card
- Slate: Do Text Messages Live Forever?
- Verizon: Verizon Cloud FAQs
- Verizon: Restore Deleted Files - Verizon Cloud - Website
- SIM card readers are a great preventative measure as well, allowing you to save all the data off your phone onto your computer, including text messages. If you back up your text messages onto a computer, you'll never have to worry about retrieving erased ones.
- Some Verizon phones don't have SIM cards. In this case, retrieving erased text messages is a bit trickier. You may be able to call Verizon and request a printout of recently sent and received texts, though the company only store customer texts on its servers for a limited period of time. You could also try a data recovery company such as Sensei Enterprises, though such services can cost hundreds of dollars. In any case, the quicker you act, the better chance you have of getting those texts back.
Amanda Knaebel is a self-professed gadget geek and loves all things tech, both new and old. Amanda has been working as a freelance writer for over 10 years on topics including technology, health, fitness, nutrition, gardening and many more. She has also worked with Fortune 50 tech and financial companies, both in technical support and content production.