How to Get Cell Phone Text Message Records

By Melly Parker

Different mobile providers offer different platforms for viewing text message records. One thing that they have in common, however, is that you need to have a court order to obtain records of the actual messages sent. You can view dates message were sent, the number they were sent to, and the time they were sent -- as long as you're the account holder.

Sprint

Sprint says that they don't keep records of text message data because of the privacy issues that storing such information could cause. In order to get the usage data about the text messages sent from your phone, fill out the consent form and submit it to Sprint. It must be notarized before you send it. Text data from Sprint can only be retrieved for the past 90 days.If you need the messages with regards to civil or criminal proceedings, ask your attorney to submit a supeona to Sprint to get the information.Phones with Sprint Direct Connect can store and maintain a record of the text messages sent and received, if you enable it on MySprint. Sign in to your account, click "My Preferences," click "Deleting Messages" and select the option "Do Not Delete Messages After I Receive Them on my Phone."

Verizon

To obtain information about the content of text messages sent on the Verizon network, a legal professional -- usually a judge or lawyer -- has to submit a request to Verizon's Law Enforcement Resource Team. Requests can be made via court order, supeona or warrants. Law enforcement officers can also make emergency requests for data.For information about your monthly usage, send a text to #DATA. You can also sign in to My Verizon to see usage information.

AT&T

AT&T doesn't retain text message content. However, you can sign in on myAT&T to check the usage records for your account. There, you can see the number of text messages sent from your account, where they were sent to and the date and time information. The usage information available is for your current billing cycle only.

Privacy Concerns

No matter how secure mobile providers keep your text message data, there's no guarantee that a court order won't require its release. If you need to save copies of your text messages, use screenshots, copy/paste and the forwarding function to back them up. There are also apps to help you maintain a record of your text messages, if you use a phone that can run mobile applications.