You wish you hadn’t. But you did.
Now the only question is, what are you going to do about the incriminating text that you just sent on your Android?
Can’t you just make them go away at the snap of a finger, just flat out disappear and never come back again?
Or, if you have an iPhone, wouldn’t it be awesome if you could easily and permanently delete iMessages?
Sounds like science fiction, right? Well, what seems impossible is actually possible by simply using your phone’s menus, restoring factory settings, or adding an app.
So read on, because we’re going to show you a few tricks, including how to delete text messages from another phone.
It Is Possible to Permanently Delete Text Messages
Yes, there are measures you can take to permanently delete incriminating texts. If you are using an iPhone, you can sync regularly after removing an SMS message. Within the messaging app, select Edit, then you can isolate messages or just remove that contact from the messaging interface altogether. Another step you can take is to turn off messages in the Spotlight search or, last but not least, restore the phone to its original factory settings, which will cause all prior messages in the phone to be deleted.
But Doesn’t Deleting Text Messages Eliminate Them?
You might think deleting an incriminating message destroys it completely. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Text messages can remain on your phone until they are overwritten by other data. However, if you follow the steps above, all the messages will be deleted from your device – but are the deleted messages really gone? No. Some cell phone carriers keep records of text messages and phone records. Sprint, for instance, will keep them for two weeks, AT&T for about 48 hours, and Verizon not at all. Congress, however, is trying to make it a Federal law for more carriers to retain text and phone records longer, claiming that these records could be useful in criminal investigations.
Other Solutions for Permanently Deleting Incriminating Texts
If you don’t feel comfortable doing a system restore on your own, and if you’re in the market for a new phone and want to sell your current one, PC World recommends a phone reseller as a handy source for obtaining a new or used phone. A reseller will do a full factory reset/restore of any used phone they receive, and will also dispose of old SIM cards. This is a pretty extreme solution to permanently deleting incriminating texts, but it’s nice to know there are companies on the Internet who offer this service.
Apps— Of course there’s always Snapchat, which automatically deletes your messages after a certain time. There are also a number of apps that allow you to delete messages before the recipient opens them. Privates and Wiper are two examples, and a third is TigerText, which allows you to delete incriminating texts and other data.
Nothing is permanent. Yes, you really can control what does and doesn’t live on in your phone, just by becoming familiar with the menus of your device and being more conscientious about data maintenance.
Note: this post has been updated 2/11/17 for accuracy.