Can you get back deleted messages on Messenger?
By: Navid Sobbi
This is a question our technicians are asked on a daily basis. Facebook Messenger messages may be needed for personal reasons or for legal purposes. NSI can assist in both scenarios.
So, is it possible to recover deleted Messenger messages? Firstly, we need to understand what happens when Messenger is installed on your phone.
When you install Messenger from the AppStore or Play Store, a database is created within your phone’s memory. This database holds all the messages that are sent and received, including media such as audio, images and videos.
TIP: Instead of deleting a Messenger message, it is best to archive it using Facebook Messenger’s archive option. This will remove it from your inbox however you would still be able to view archived threads at a later date.
In the event the Messenger messages have been deleted, NSI’s digital forensic equipment can access the database associated with the Messenger app and reconstruct it. This process will allow NSI technicians to recover deleted data and piece the Messenger messages back together. In some cases, NSI have been able to recover Messenger messages that were deleted over 1 year prior.
- We do not recommend the use of common downloadable data recovery programs. These do not follow a forensic process, and can, in the process of their installation, overwrite the very data you are trying to recover. A quick read of the reviews of most of these programs reveals that most users did not have any success in recovering their data.
- Never delete the Messenger app and reinstall it. Doing this will overwrite the area where the original Messenger data would have been stored.
- If you have attempted to recover the data yourself or deleted the app and reinstalled it, please continue reading below to find out how NSI can still help you with recovering your Messenger messages.
Can I recover messages from Messenger after I have deleted the app or tried data recovery software?
In the section above, we explained how it is possible to recover deleted Messenger messages from your phone using a proper digital forensic extraction process. This is done by reconstructing the Messenger database which contains all your messages be they:
- Received, and
In this section, we will explain what happens when:
- You have attempted to recover the deleted messages from Messenger yourself.
- You have deleted the Messenger app then reinstalled it in the hope that the messages would reappear.
Using data recovery software can be harmful as the software needs to be saved onto a computer to be installed to the phone or installed directly on the phone itself (read this article re The Dangers of using data recovery software).
The process of installing the data recovery software to the phone can actually overwrite crucial areas within the phone’s memory. In most instances, the data recovery software will require you to update your phone’s operating system to ensure compatibility with their software.
This part of the process has the potential to do the most harm as it:
- Backs up your device.
- Updates your software and,
- Reinstalls your backup.
This non-forensic process, unfortunately, overwrites an extensive amount of deleted data from your phone’s memory with new data. This non-forensic process also wipes all app databases, and all apps must then be reinstalled.
If your Messenger app has been deleted, the area in which the database was created is wiped and reconstructing it is difficult. Also, if the phone is still in use, the chances of data being overwritten increase. If you reinstall the app, this then creates a new database which will not have the original data within it.
At NSI, we can perform a forensic process known as Social and Cloud Forensic Extraction. This allows our digital forensic examiners to access the database that is held at the app manufacturer’s servers.
We can then:
- Extract data that is being held on the cloud,
- Extract all the data from your device,
- Overlay both extractions and,
- Attempt to reconstruct the deleted Messenger data.
At NSI, we have true Digital Forensic Data Recovery tools to enable every possible extraction method and we will exhaust every possible avenue in order to recover deleted Messenger messages. We have not limited ourselves with one forensic tool. To maximise your chances of a successful recovery we use multiple proprietary digital forensic tools that are used by law enforcement worldwide and will not overwrite your valuable data. Contact us today and let us retrieve your deleted Messenger messages.