How to View Lost or Deleted Text Messages on an AT&T Cell Phone

by Michelle Carvo ; Updated October 09, 2017

Lost or deleted text messages may be easy to recover on your AT&T cell phone if you have a recent backup that you can restore. Even if you don’t have a recent backup then you may still be able to view lost or deleted texts with another of these methods.

Restoring Android SMS Backup

You can view lost or deleted texts on your AT&T cell phone running Android if you have been using a text message backup app such as Carbonite or SMS Backup+. If you have not been using a SMS backup service then you will need to use a third-party data recovery tool like Android SMS Recovery, FonePaw or MiniTool Mobile Recovery. Note that these devices are not always successful in recovering text messages but are worth a try.

You may also contact AT&T to see if they have any suggestions for recovering text messages on your Android device.

Restoring iOS Backup

You can restore lost texts on your AT&T iPhone by either restoring your phone’s iOS backup or using iCloud to restore backed up texts. As with restoring backups on Android devices, you will lose all apps and data after the backup that you restore.

Restore your phone’s iOS backup

  1. Tap “Settings” and then tap your Apple ID. Tap “iCloud” and then tap “Manage Storage” followed by “Backup” to check your iPhone for backups. Look for one that is around the same day and time as the lost texts that you want to view.
  2. Tap “Settings” and then tap “General” followed by the “Reset” option. Tap “Erase all content and settings.” Wait for your iPhone to reset.
  3. Follow the on-screen prompts to set up your iPhone and then tap “Restore from iCloud Backup.” Sign into your iCloud account and then tap the backup that you want to restore on the phone.
  4. Wait for the iPhone backup to restore. You will then be able to view all text messages on that backup.

If you do not want to delete your iPhone’s data, you may be able to use the iCloud text message restoration method instead:

  1. Log into your iCloud account on icloud.com.
  2. Click “Text Messages” (if this is not listed then you are not able to use the iCloud method to view deleted texts and instead must restore from an iCloud backup). You can view all text messages backed up, even if they have been deleted from your iPhone.
  3. Tap “Settings” on your iPhone and then tap “iCloud.”
  4. Tap to turn off “Text Messages” on your iPhone and then tap “Keep on My iPhone.” Tap to turn on “Text Messages” and then tap “Merge” to sync all of your deleted text messages back to your iPhone.

Alternative Tools

You may also be able to view lost or deleted AT&T cell phone texts by using a third-party program to restore the texts. Third-party options include PhoneRescue by iMobie, Enigma Recovery and WonderShare Dr. Fone for iOS. These typically aren’t free to use and may not be as effective as the phone restore options mentioned above. You should use these third-party options only if the options above do not work.

Items you will need

About the Author

Catherine Hewson has been writing professionally since 2006, contributing to a variety of websites. She is also a technical writer with extensive experience in Android/iPhone development and PC repair. Hewson holds a Bachelor of Science in computer information systems from the University of Michigan-Flint and works as an IT project manager.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera sim card image by Renato Francia from Fotolia.com