Can Text Messages Be Retrieved From the Cell Company?

In 2008, old text messages were critical evidence in proving perjury by Michigan mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, according to Slate Magazine. You might be able to recover your texts from your cellphone company, but only if the message is under your account and within certain time constraints.

You can usually retrieve messages shortly after deleting them.


Most cell phone carriers archive their text messages for two days to two weeks, according to Slate. Some cellphone companies store basic details for texts, such as the date and time of the messages and the receiver, but not the actual conversation.


Information contained in texts is sensitive and protected under federal law. If you need to retrieve the information in a text, you may need a subpoena unless you were a party to the conversation.


Deleted messages on a cellphone that uses a SIM card are not truly gone until the cellphone needs storage space and the information is overwritten. Special gadgets that cost as little as $150 can "read" the deleted texts on a SIM card until the information is truly erased.