How to delete and recover text messages in Android

Deleting text messages is usually a straightforward affair, but some people may be confused about, or unaware, of the different ways you can select, and delete, text messages. In this guide, we’re going to take a look at how to delete text messages in Android individually, or by thread. We’ll cover the standard Messages app that you’ll find on the vast majority of Android phones, but since you can also set Hangouts to handle all your SMS messages, we’ll cover that as well.

Sometimes you’ll delete the wrong message, however, or realize you want to recover a text that’s gone. Such being the case, we’re also going to run through some basic options on how to recover deleted text messages on your Android device.

Deleting text messages

How to delete an individual text message

  1. Open the Messages app.
  2. Go into a message thread, and then tap and hold the specific message you want to delete.
  3. Select Delete from the options.

How to delete a text message thread

  1. Open the Messages app.
  2. Tap and hold on the thread itself, and not on the contact picture.
  3. Select the trash icon (or Delete on a Samsung Galaxy phone) on the upper right hand corner.
  4. Tap Ok to confirm deletion.

How to delete all message threads at once

  1. In your Messages app, tap the More menu more menu on the upper right hand corner.
  2. Select Delete all threads from the options.
  3. Tap Ok to confirm deletion.

How to delete an SMS thread in Hangouts

delete android sms thread hangouts

If you use Hangouts, you may have it as your default SMS app in Android. It will not let you delete all threads at once, but you can select them in the same way you select them in the messages app. Let’s take a look.

  1. Open the Hangouts app.
  2. Tap and hold on the thread itself, and not on the contact picture.
  3. You are now in selection mode, so you can keep selecting the threads that you want to delete.
  4. Select the trash icon on the upper right hand corner.
  5. Tap Delete to confirm deletion.

Recovering text messages

So what if you didn’t mean to delete those text messages? Well, there are several ways to recover them through third-party software and apps. Here are some of the best to get you started.

Wondershare Dr.Fone ($70+)

This recovery tool is compatible with the latest Android devices, and you can install the program on both MacOS and Windows-based machines. The software will allow you to quickly recover text messages, as well as photos, videos, and even data from third-party apps like WhatsApp. This software can also help recover your device from system crashes, rooting errors, and more.


FonePaw ($49+)

recover sms
This software will allow you to recover data from devices running the most current version of Android, all the way back to Android 2.1. It supports all the most popular brands, and it will help you recover many types of data including text messages, contacts, photos, media, documents, and even WhatsApp. The recovery includes internal storage, as well as SD cards, and even SIM cards.


SMS Backup & Restore (Free)

delete sms on android

To save your text messages and keep them safe you need an app that makes backups of your text messages. If you are in the habit of making backups, then you’re in luck. This app will let you back up messages, and call logs. This app will work on devices running Android 4.0.3 or higher. It is a very simple app to use, and it will let you back up to Google Drive, or Dropbox.

Google Play Store

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