How to Retrieve Old SMS Messages

By Leyla Norman

Phones hold only a certain number of text messages.
i cell phone image by MateiA from

Worldwide, nearly 5 billion cell phone subscribers walk around with cell phones in their pockets or purses. That many cell phones means even more text messages. Cell phones have storage capacity to hold a certain number of text messages; the amount varies from phone to phone. When your text message inbox is full, you will receive notification on your phone that you cannot receive any more text messages until you delete at least one of the old messages. If you need to save some text messages but your inbox is full, consider emailing yourself the ones you need to save. Enter your email address in the "To" box where you would normally enter a phone number for sending a text message.

Open the text message menu on your cell phone. Don't use a shortcut key as you might to start a text message. Go to the main menu on your phone, then select the text message button. Its icon often looks like the reverse side of an envelope.

Scroll down on the text message menu until you find your inbox. Select the inbox. A list of your text messages will appear. They are listed by the date they were received.

Scroll to the top or bottom of the list. Your phone may list newer text messages at either the top or the bottom of the list. Your older messages will be on the opposite end.

Open each text message to find the date and time it was sent. Your phone's list of text messages may indicate the date without your having to open each one.