Text messages completely disappeared

Well this is new… Today I wanted to send a text message and when I opened the message app I saw that all the previous messages just disappeared - message list completely empty, as if I just activated the app.

I’m not sure exactly when it happened as I don’t use text messages that often, but certainly in the last few days (possibly during one of the constant reboots the phone goes through… :roll_eyes:).

Any suggestions on what might have happened and whether I might be able to salvage my old messages somehow?

I should point out that I haven’t installed the latest update yet, so it’s not that. And the app seems to be working fine - it’s there and responsive, it just looks as if it was wiped clean. I tried restarting the phone, just in case, but that didn’t help

Please be more precise here so we know if there can be something done.

The default app for text messages, that comes with the phone, that’s just called ‘Messages’

Edit: a better, and easier, first thing to do is to go into your Messages app, hit the little three dot menu, and hit ‘Archived’. Are your messages there?

Quickest way to check if your messages are still there is to use a file manager application to have a look at the following file:


Most Android file managers have an SQlite database reader built in, so you can open that file, hit the category ‘words’ and see if your messages are still there. If you can’t open the file, just look at how big it is. If it’s 0kB or thereabouts, it looks like your messages have truly been deleted. I have several years of text messages stored, and my mmssms.db is ~1MB.

And if your messages are still there, I’d go ahead and make a quick copy of that file and store it in a safe place. If you can report back on what’s in that file, we can see what the best course of action will be.


I don’t seem to have a com.android.provider.telephony folder. I have a ‘data’ folde, but it doesn’t have ‘user_de’ in it.

What am I doing wrong?

(edit: and no, no archived messages :frowning: )

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Ah, I’m an idiot - I forgot that your device may not be rooted. Are you using Fairphone OS or Fairphone Open? You can check by opening the Fairphone Updater app.

When l look at the App info though (via settings) it does say that it is using 75MB for the cache and 27 MB for the data (plus 77mb for the app itself), so it seems that there is some info somewhere…

Ah yes, I’m using OS! :slight_smile:

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Ah, so that makes it a little bit more cumbersome. But we’ll get there. Install the app ‘SMS Backup & Restore’ (Google Play Store).

When you open it, it’ll ask for permissions to read storage, messages, contacts, and telephony. Give it those permissions, and then it’ll go to its main screen which will tell you how many messages it sees (the left hand number).

Does the app see any messages?


It does see messages! :smile:

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Hurray! You can hit ‘set up a backup’. It’ll guide you through the steps to backup your messages (choose ‘to your phone’), and once you’ve done that you can swipe from the left and hit ‘Restore’ to see if restoring your messages makes them pop back up in your Messages app.

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Hurray indeed!! It worked! Thank you so much!

And now that I am familiar with this app, I will set up regular backups…


So happy to hear it worked, and I’m glad I could help. Regular backups are definitely a good idea!

It works across devices, and this app is also pretty good about working across different versions of Android - so it can also be quite useful when one gets a new phone.

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Hi @robbert.f, I hope you don’t mind if I ask you a follow up question :slight_smile:

The messages app did the same thing again - disappeared all my messages. Of course, now they’re all backed up (plus, like previously, they are all still hiding in the phone any way) so I’m not panicking :slight_smile: But I did try and restore the messages, and for some reason it’s just not happening. The messages are still there, so I haven’t lost anything, but somehow it is not restored to the messages app.

Do you know enough about the 'SMS Backup & Restore" app to suggest a solution? If not, I’ll of course take it up with the app people.

Strange. Have you tried rebooting? You can also try to install an alternative SMS app like QKSMS to see if that does anything.

Thanks for that. Before trying another app, I did check this app’s website, and turns out that this is indeed a known issue for them. So though it’s not a FP-specific problem, I figured this will be useful if anyone else here has a similar problem.

From their website:
"We’ve seen a few reports of this with the latest version of the Android Messages app… we suggest that you clear the storage of the Messages app from Phone Settings and after that it should start showing the messages properly. "

Worked like a charm!


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