Preserve messages for court

If you expect you’ll need to use text messages in a lawsuit, the law generally obliges you to avoid deleting relevant messages. The easiest way to do this is: first, don’t delete any messages and second, get a backup copy off the phone.

Both iPhone and Android can auto-delete messages. On iPhone, this can be found in settings for messages. On Android, the precise location varies depending on Android version, brand of phone, and which messaging app you use.


Many Android phones auto-delete messages out of the box, so you may be deleting old messages and not even know it.

Disable auto-deletion on Android

The setting to auto-delete text messages has moved around in different Android versions, and different manufacturers like to customize where it appears as well. Usually, however, you can find it thus:

  1. Open the text messaging app
  2. Go to the app menu -> settings
  3. Look around for an option called Delete old messages. It might be in top-level settings or buried in a submenu.

Make a copy you won’t lose

So you’ve turned off message auto-deletion, but what if you lose or damage your phone? If you use an iPhone, Apple’s iCloud backup is probably all you need. Google provides free backup on all Android phones, but it is much more limited than the Apple’s backup. On most phones, Google’s automatic backup does not include text messages.

Google does, however, provide a backup that includes text messages on some of its own phone brands. Likewise, Samsung, LG and others provide backups for their respective brands of phones. These typically include text messages, but may have important limitations. For example, Google’s backup may not include messages with pictures or group messages.

When preserving messages is important, use the backup features your phone manufacturer provides, but be wary of relying exclusively on them. It’s best to make another copy with Text Collector: it gives you an archive you can easily take off the phone.

Simply making a collection is free and creates an archive that you can export later. Instructions

If you like the result, a small purchase unlocks the sharing feature to export the archive off the phone. It’s best to export your collection and keep it in a safe place until you need it: until you do so, it’s still on the phone and would be lost if the phone were lost or destroyed.

With Text Collector, use the “share” feature to export your messages and remember you can “share” with yourself.


I am not a lawyer, don’t consider this to be legal advice.