Where Do I Find My Text Messages?

Angela Shaffield Picture

by Angela Shaffield | Last Updated: Apr 2, 2023

23 billion text messages are sent every day worldwide so there is almost always someone reaching for their mobile device to check their text messages. Depending on your device, your text messages can be stored in different places depending on the device and the manufacturer. Most people use text messaging on their mobile devices. You can purchase a mobile device from several different manufacturers, but Apple and Samsung owned 37 percent of market share in Q3 2022 making these two brands the most popular phone brands. Apple’s iPhone messages are usually stored in the Messages app. You can access the Messages app via your homepage or by utilizing the search bar feature. Since the Messages app is automatically installed on your device by the manufacturer, you can use the search bar feature to find it by swiping down on your home screen to reveal the search bar. Then all you have to do is type messages and click on the app. Samsung’s phones are referred to as Androids because they use the Android operating system, a mobile operating system designed by Google. Androids have a messages app similar to Apple where Android text messages are stored. This app can be found in the previous ways mentioned above, but you can also find the messages app in your settings by clicking apps and then finding the messages app in the list of apps.

How Can I Get My Text Message History?

You can find your text message history in the messages app. In the messages app, your text message history is organized by contact so the conversation you had with someone is easily accessible. When you tap on a conversation in the messages app, the conversation is listed on your screen in chronological order, and you are able to view sent and received text messages. It is designed this way so that you can scroll up and see older messages. You can also view text messages by using the search bar, at the top of the screen, in the messages app. This allows you to search for a message. This same functionality can be used with the search bar on your home screen as mentioned above although it is less effective. If you work on your laptop or computer it may be beneficial to view your text message history on that device. You can use this functionality to send yourself documents and other resources that you need for work or want to share with your team.

Where Do Text Messages Go When Deleted?

Most people think that when you delete text messages they are gone forever, but more often than not this is not the case. When you delete text messages they are often moved to the trash folder or recycle bin where they are held just in case you want to recover them. These trash folders may have a time limit until they remove the data from the mobile device. This can be anywhere from 30 days to indefinitely. If you want to ensure you can always access deleted information, you should back the information up using iCloud or another online storage service.

Do Phone Companies Keep Your Text Messages?

The short answer is yes. Your phone service provider does keep records of your cell phone use. This includes text messages, calls, and even pictures sent from your phone. This can be concerning for most people that worry about the privacy of their cell phone use. Never fear because phone carriers only use this information on billing statements sent to the owner, and billing statements don't tell you what was written in a text message or show you the picture.  Even if you want to access this information yourself, as a general rule your cell phone carrier can’t help you. Under federal privacy laws, such as the Consumer Telephone Records Protection Act of 2006, your cell phone carrier can’t give you these phone records, even if you own the phone and pay the bill. That’s because these records show text messages sent and received by someone else, and they have rights too. So these records are so protected not even you can access it.

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