Once deleted, can text messages be retrieved?

Wednesday 22nd July 2009
Submitted by Gareth Mitchell
David Brown, Leeds

Yes they can, so if you’ve been having an affair or doing something dodgy at work, beware! Messages are laid out on the SIM card as data files. When you move messages around or delete them, the data actually stays put. All you’re doing is telling the phone to point at the files in different ways. Deleting a message from the inbox, for instance, just tells the phone not to point to it any more when it’s listing the contents of that folder. Even when you ‘permanently’ clear messages, you’re simply getting the phone to stop listing it in the deleted items folder. You can’t recover such texts on the phone itself, but there are plenty of commercially available software packages you can buy that allow your PC to read data directly from a SIM card. Some of the more advanced tools figure out the file structure on the card, thus allowing those long-hidden deleted messages to be resurrected.

Why are optical fibres replacing telephone wires?
previous qanda Article
Why can't I use a mobile phone on the Underground?
next qanda Article
Q&A Tabs

Hydration is just a fancy word for absorbing water. Since your digestive tract is a continuous unbroken tube that runs from your mouth to your anus, anything you swallow must either be absorbed or...

Most people can’t focus on anything as close as a face at kissing distance so closing your eyes saves them from looking at a distracting blur or the strain of trying to focus. Kissing can...

Stalactites form when water containing dissolved calcium bicarbonate from the limestone rock drips from the ceiling of a cave. As the water comes into contact with the air, some of the calcium...

The Ancient Egyptians believed that 42 demons were present at the judgment of the soul; 42 is also a perfect score in the International Mathematics Olympiad. But in modern maths its main...

You might think it would just be a question of learning to live without honey, but bees play an incredibly important role in agriculture as pollinators. Cereal crops are wind-pollinated but...

All female mammals have a clitoris, the sole purpose of which is to react to sexual stimulation, and presumably this stimulation has evolved to be pleasurable for most species. But establishing...

To create a sound, we have to set matter - whether it's a gas like air, a liquid or even a solid material - in regular motion, creating a wave of specific frequencies, which we hear as a sound of...

Mirrors don’t reverse left and right either – that’s just our interpretation of what happens. Your reflection in the mirror is actually reversed front to back – if you have...

Discovered by an American student named Gary Flandro in the mid-1960s, the slingshot manoeuvre usually involves spacecraft briefly 'coat-tailing' a planet orbiting the Sun, extracting some of the...

The ice disappears because the wind blows away water molecules that have evaporated or 'sublimed' from the ice, so the ice slowly shrinks in size. The molecules that escape are those with the...