In my line of work, the most common question I get from readers is advice on how to get access to text messages. Trying to get them out of someone else’s phone without their knowledge is a risky idea. First of all, depending on your state, it can be illegal. Secondly, if you are ever want to use those text messages as part of a court proceeding, like evidence during a divorce, snooping into a spouse’s cell phone can make that information inadmissible.
But there are legal uses for saved text messages, and there are messages in my own phone that I would love to keep for perpetuity, so I wanted to find out how to extract the messages and save them. There are several products that are advertised to easily take the text messages out of your phone and save them to your computer.
I was optimistic that the products would work – I had visions of simply plugging something into my computer, and having all of my text messages come tumbling out onto my screen. But John Simek, the vice president of Sensei Enterprises, Inc.,
a computer forensics company, told me I would be sadly mistaken. “Most of these things don’t work,” he said. I should have listened. MORE STORIES FROM DIVORCE360.COM Real Life Cases of Proving Cheating with Text Messages Professionals Can Help Prove Cheating with Text Messages More on How to Catch a Cheating Spouse
But I’m stubborn that way, and I wanted to try to do it all myself. I wanted to find out if the advertisements for products that were purported to easily extract saved and deleted text messages from cell phones actually worked.
So, I tested several products that claim to make it easy to retrieve deleted text messages. Many computer programs on the market require a SIM card reader. A SIM card, or security information management card, is the card in most cell phones that stores memory and identifies users on a particular network. The products are made available to people who want to reorganize their telephone numbers or to retrieve lost data in their phones.
The SIM card is not the memory card. It is usually much smaller, and the one in my phone is stored underneath the battery inside the phone. I popped open the phone, slipped out the battery, then pried out the SIM card.
A little background might be in order. I am technologically literate, but I am no expert. If there are directions, I can follow them. If the program is supposed to be intuitive, it probably won’t be for me. For example, it took me an entire weekend to figure out my Ipod, but I figured it out. Then again, in graduate school, I installed a modem into my computer. I fall somewhere in the middle of technological understanding.
Also, it’s worth mentioning that I text message. A lot. I would say that my husband and I send messages about 15 to 20 times a day. On top of that, I text other friends and family members. So my phone is full of deleted and nondeleted messages. GENERAL CARD READER
I started out just getting a general card reader. There are several card readers on the market, and they are small boxes with a lot of slots on them to fit different kinds of memory cards. For example, if you cell phone and your digital camera have different memory cards, these kinds of one-stop card readers will let you use one piece of hardware for both.
If you shop for a card reader, be sure that it reads SIM cards. The first one I brought home was great, but it didn’t read SIM cards. I went back to the store and specified that it must read SIM cards. On the second try, I got the Sakar Digital Concepts 51-in-1 card reader for $19.99. It is available at a lot of online retailers