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How do I retrieve accidentally deleted SMS conversations on iPhone?

I followed many steps found online. None worked. I have the mddata files saved in CDC, txt, and xls, but am unable to successfully retrieve most of the texts that I need along with date, and time sent/received. This is for a custody hearing and I am very limited on funds.

Last updated one year ago by Ron Bielman

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Answers

Hi, my name is Ron and I'll try to assist with your problem. My supervisor will contact you shortly and I'll look at your file to see if we can retrieve the necessary data from your .csv file.

Posted by Ron Bielman one year ago

Hi,

Thank you for contacting us through the site. It's my pleasure to assist you.

I don't know if you would want to consider this but you could try using a software called Wondershare Data Recovery for iTunes. Let me know if this would work for you.

Respectfully,

Joseph

Posted by Joe Araneta one year ago

Replies

As a follow up to my previous response, you may still be able to restore the SMS messages if you've performed a backup of your iPhone on iTunes or iCloud. If you have, then you wouldn't need the software I've mentioned earlier. If you need guidance with restoring from a back up using iTunes or iCloud, please let me know so I can help you.

I hope this works.

Kind regards,

Joseph

Posted by Joe Araneta one year ago

I looked in to that program, Wondershare, and it says it is for MAC. I have a PC. I've already paid for 3 programs that have not worked.

As for the backup you mentioned, I did a back up and tried various directions found online. However when I plugged my phone in, it suddenly started synching to iTunes (was supposed to be set to manual) and there have been 2 more backup files added as a result, since the backup I created to try to retrieve the texts (I'm not a computer wiz so excuse me if I'm not using the right words). However, I tried backing up from the most recent backup, and the deleted texts are not appearing.

I will gladly honor the price agreement, if I am able to get a resolution that is successful!

Posted by Guest one year ago

Hi there,

Thanks for writing back and updating me on the procedures you've already done to back up and restore SMS on your iPhone. From what I know, SMS messages actually remain on the iPhone after deletion. When “deleted” on the iPhone, they are technically hidden and marked for deletion. Text messages are then deleted only after sync with iTunes. If iTunes was set to automatically sync with iPhone when connected, then you might have lost deleted SMS already. But we can try to check still if you are willing to.

I'm planning for you to backup and export iPhone SMS as CSV to your computer. Would you still want to try?

Kind regards,

Joe

Posted by Joe Araneta one year ago

I do want to try. As for the syncing that occurred, I immediately cancelled when I noticed that it was syncing. It may not have gotten far enough. But if you will guide me, I will try it out. Do I need Internet access for this process?

Posted by Guest one year ago

I'm glad to know that you are still willing to try recovering your SMS messages with me. Thanks for letting me know that immediately cancelled iTunes synching when you noticed. I am hoping with you that we could still retrieve the messages.

Before you can backup and read the SMS database, get prepared with the required tools. Simply click the link to download iPhone Explorer and SQLite Database Browser to your computer.

Both tools are available for Windows and Mac platform. Just make sure you download the correct version.

Next, backup the SMS database to computer. First, connect your iPhone to computer via USB and launch “iPhone Explorer”. Go to /private/var/mobile/Library/SMS and download the “sms.db” file to computer.

As you’ve saved the database file on computer, you can now use SQLite Database Browser to export the text messages.

  1. Launch SQLite Database Browser you’ve downloaded.
  2. Once launched, click “File” -> “Open Database”. Select the “sms.db” file you’ve just downloaded from iPhone. If you can open the database correctly, you’ll see the database structure screen.
  3. Next, click “File” – > “Export” and select “Table as CSV File”.
  4. Select the “message” table when prompted and then click “Export” button.
  5. Choose the file path and name you want to save the CSV file.
  6. After you click “OK”, the SQLite Database Browser will automatically export your text messages to a file in CSV format.
  7. Use Microsoft Excel to open the CSV file. You’ll be able to read the text messages (in text column) and manipulate them.

I hope this works. Do keep me posted.

Kind regards,

Joe

Posted by Joe Araneta one year ago

I will need to go to a wifi spot for this. I have tried a few SQLite browsers. None would open the file that I tried out prop to this request. I read online that was because it is not compatible with ios 5. But I will try your recommendations.

Posted by Guest one year ago

Hi there,

I'm hoping the SQLite browser I recommended would work with your Windows computer rather than on the iPhone. Make sure to follow the procedure I gave you exactly as I've written. Let me know if you get stuck on a step.

I hope it works. Do keep me posted.

Kind regards,

Joe

Posted by Joe Araneta one year ago

Hi there,

I'm just checking back on you to find out if the previous resolution I gave you worked and you were able to retrieve deleted messages. You should be able to read retrieved messages on .csv file via Excel.

Let me know if it didn't work so I can guide you to another possible way of retrieving deleted messages.

Kind regards,

Joe

Posted by Joe Araneta one year ago

I have not been able to get to a wifi connection. I plan to go tomorrow and will update you when I try your suggestions.

Posted by Guest one year ago

Thanks for writing back and updating me on the status of your situation. I will wait for further updates from you.

Kind regards,

Joe

Posted by Joe Araneta one year ago

This did not work. I received the same result as I mentioned previously. The files will not open in SQLite database browser. I am getting a blank document. I am still willing to pay if I can get a working solution that can allow me to view the dates and times the messages were sent.

Let me clarify a few things. I have the backup in which I need. It was overwritten by the accidental auto sync. However I was able to save the backup that is needed, and it is saved in .sqlite, .csv, and I even went as far to copy and paste it all into a word and a notepad.

I just opened the file on my pc (beginning with 3d0d7...), which (acc
ording to numerous searches) is the backup file. It has the date my phone was last backed up. When I opened the file in notepad, it begins with "SQLite format 3...". I did a search using "find", and the messages I need ARE still on there. BUT, when I use the now 5 different programs I've downloaded to retract my texts, the accidentally deleted texts do not show up. I tried a "restore from backup" of my device using iTunes, however it did not reinstate the accidentally deleted texts. So they are here still. But nothing is letting me get to them in a readable format.

That being said, I can partially view some of the texts. However, they are jumbled up, out of order, and do not includes dates (time of day isn't as important as the actual date). Plus, some of the messages do not show what number they were from.

Posted by Guest one year ago

Hi there,

Thank you for writing back and letting me know that the previous procedure I gave you didn't work to retrieve your messages still but you know that you still have the deleted messages from your iPhone backed up in your iTunes database. I'm glad to know your still willing to try other methods to retrieve your messages.

Have you tried using TextPad already to read the text messages from the iTunes backup database? If not here are the steps:

  1. Download and install TextPad
  2. Open TextPad.
  3. Select Search > Find in Files…
  4. Complete the “Find in Files” dialog as you see in the following screenshot. Make sure you’ve checked the Search subfolders checkbox or else this won’t work. Note: this was taken from a Windows 7 machine. The path value for the “In Folder” field should be the same for Windows Vista (of course, your username will appear instead of “mike” in the path. For pre-Windows Vista your path will be under c:\Documents and Settings[username]\Application Data\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup\
    alt text

  5. Click Find.

  6. In the TextPad search results pane you should see at least one search result found (even though multiple results may have been returned, they all will point to the same SMS DB file per backup folder). Below is a screenshot of what might appear (your filename will likely be different):
    alt text

  7. Double-click on one of the search results and the SQLite file will open in the upper pane. Much of it will look like garbage, but there’s alot of human readable info in the file, particularly your text messages.

Let me know if this works for you.

Kind regards,

Joe

Posted by Joe Araneta one year ago

As I stated previously, I am able to view parts of the texts but I need a way to retrieve then in a readable format that shows date and possibly time.

Posted by Guest one year ago

Hi there,

Thanks for updating me that you've already tried the last resolution I gave you but it didn't work for you. Let me try to get someone else to jump in and work on your problem. I'm sorry I couldn't proceed any further as I have ran out of options for you to do.

Kind regards,

Joe

Posted by Joe Araneta one year ago