SMS message storage on iPhone
Ask iLounge offers readers the opportunity to get answers to their iPod-, iPhone-, iPad-, iTunes-, or Apple TV-related questions from a member of the iLounge editorial team. We'll answer several questions here each week, and of course, you can always get help with more immediate concerns from the iLounge Discussion Forums. Submit your questions for consideration using our Ask iLounge Submit Form. We reserve the right to edit questions for grammar, spelling, and length.
Q: I have a jealous husband. On my iPhone 3G I have been texting with an old high school boyfriend - flirting maybe, but nothing more. I’ve read that all my texts are stored on my SIM card. Is there some way to permanently delete text messages? If not, how many are saved?
A: Actually, in the case of the iPhone SMS messages are not stored on the SIM card, but rather in the iPhone’s own memory. This is actually the case with most smartphones, since these devices have more than sufficient internal memory to store SMS and MMS messages and therefore do not need to rely on the SIM card. Many older “dumb” phones relied on the SIM card for SMS storage simply because they did not have any internal memory in which to store them. Even in these cases, the SIM card could generally only store the most recent 20-30 SMS messages.
With the iPhone, deleting SMS messages directly on the device will effectively remove them permanently from any normal means of access. However, SMS messages are also backed up to iTunes as part of your normal iPhone backup process. iTunes itself normally only keeps the most recent backup of your iPhone, but if you’re backing up your computer itself, then those backups may contain older copies of the iPhone backups that were created by iTunes at the time.
Lastly, there is no guarantee that any data normally deleted on the iPhone itself cannot be recovered through actual forensic procedures. The only reasonable assurance against this would be to wipe your iPhone completely by using the “Erase all Data” option found in the “General” section under the “Settings” app. This option basically overwrites all information on the iPhone’s internal memory and may take a couple of hours to run. Even in this case, however, your iTunes backup may still include deleted SMS messages and other information hidden within the various database files that the iPhone maintains, and restoring this backup would put that information back onto your iPhone. In any case, however, this information would only be accessible by somebody with technology expertise who was specifically looking for it.
- Will removing a credit card from Safari also remove it from Apple Pay?
- Can I mute Handoff calls coming into my Mac from my iPhone?
- How do I keep my iPhone calls from ringing on my Mac?
- Why doesn’t Traffic show up on my Today Notifications Screen?
- Why doesn’t my iPhone reconnect to Wi-Fi after I turn it on?
- Why can’t I see the iPad-style landscape view on my iPhone 6 Plus?
- Apple releases fifth beta of iOS 10.2 to developers
- Apple reveals cause of unexpected iPhone 6s shutdowns
- Report: 99 percent of fake Apple chargers found to be unsafe
- Apple offering battery replacements for iPhone 6s models with ‘unexpected shutdown issues’ (Updated)
- Report: Fitbit to acquire Pebble
- Apple releases statement on iCloud Calendar spam
- Apple sending out drones to improve Maps data, adding interior building maps
- Tim Cook allegedly tells customer AirPods to ship in ‘next few weeks’
- Apple Pay reportedly launching in Spain tomorrow
- Netflix enables offline viewing for some shows and movies on its iOS app
- iHome iZBT10 Zenergy Bedside Sleep Therapy Speaker
- Twelve South HiRise Duet for Apple Watch and iPhone
- IK Multimedia iLoud Micro Monitor
- JBL Under Armour Sport Wireless Heart Rate Headphones
- Edifier e235 Luna E Speaker System
- Clamcase ClamCase+ for 9.7” iPad Pro
- Scosche BoomBottle H2O+ Waterproof Wireless Speaker
- Thermos Connected Hydration Bottle with Smart Lid
- Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones
- Creative iRoar Go Portable Bluetooth Speaker
- Top Five: The Best Products for Building a Smart Home with HomeKit
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of watchOS 3
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 10
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 10
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Photos gets Advanced Computer Vision
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Music app delivers ‘clarity and simplicity’
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Maps gets a major redesign
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 shakes up the user experience
- Inside the betas: watchOS 3 promises a real speed boost
- Inside the betas: A sneak peek at what’s new in tvOS 10