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Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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If someone was to trying to recover deleted text messages

Resolved Question:

If someone was to trying to recover deleted text messages or deleted pictures off of an iphone 4, and it has not been backed up , will one be able to obtain those texts word for word with a court order? I have spoken to various carriers and they say that it's not possible to get any deleted texts or deleted pictures off of an iphone. I need to know for sure. Iphones don't have a sim card. AT&T says it can't be done if those texts and pics were deleted and not backed up.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ely replied 11 months ago.
Hello friend. My name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

Just to clarify, please:

1) Is there litigation now pending?
2) Do you have the cellular telephone, or, does someone else?
3) Is the person who has the phone the one who you intend to sue, or, a third-party who you do not intend to sue, but, has the phone as evidence?

This is not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.


A divorce is about to ensue between a friend of mine and their spouse. He has received conflicting information and needs this clarified. He has the physical phone, it is his. It's in a business account and his wife was able to obtain the itemized bills for the last two years. She wants to get a court order to obtain deleted texts and deleted pictures. I know it can be done with other phones, but I have been told that it cannot be done with an iphone, unless it has been backed up, which he has not done. She wants to make this divorce aggressive.

Expert:  Ely replied 11 months ago.
Thank you, M.

Let us first discuss who evidence is received from other parties in litigation, and then we can go from there.

Let us say that Adam sues Betty for divorce. Cindy has evidence that Adam needs which is a cellphone. If this is the case, Adam can file what is known as a subpoena to command Cindy to produce the evidence as pertinent to the case, or risk punishment from the Court. The physical cellphone is produced by Cindy. Adam then take the phone to a specialist to recover whatever data is needed.

Adam may also subpoena the carrier of the line for the cellphone to get information about text messages (if available) and other record data (called metadata) from the carrier, also by subpoena.

Adam may use discovery to request any evidence from Betty (his soon to be ex). This works like a subpoena, but is different in nuance. Again, once he gets whatever evidence from Betty via discovery, that may also be used in Court.

Both the power of discovery and subpoena only become available when litigation is filed, not before.

Now, speaking about the iPhone - it can often be done, but it really depends on what was deleted, and who is the carrier (T-Mobile, ATT, etc?).

A good tech specialist may be able to recover deleted information on the hardware once the phone is subpoenaed, but, whether or not the carrier has additional metadata information depends on the carrier's retention policies for data of customers.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Good luck.

Please note: I aim to give you genuine information and not necessarily to tell you only what you wish to hear. Please, rate me on the quality of my information and do not punish me for my honesty. I understand that hearing things less than optimal is not easy, and I empathize.

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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 87577
Experience: Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
Ely and 3 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 11 months ago.


The carrier was At&T. Should I call an apple technician or speak with someone at At&T? He has had this iphone for at least 2 or 3 years. Never backed it up as he is not a very tech oriented kind of a man. What she obtained so far, were the calls for the last several months. How often conversations occurred. All texts and photos of the incriminated parties had been deleted. I just want to know if it's possible off of an iphone that was never backed up. I've been told it's not regardless of the carrier. She has been told to go to web sites that specialize in recovering deleted text messages and other data.

Expert:  Ely replied 11 months ago.
M,

Thank you for your follow up.

Should I call an apple technician or speak with someone at At&T?

Before anything is done, I would wait until the phone is in one's hands via subpoena or discovery. Once this is done, then the phone may simply be taken to a technician.

There is nothing a tech can tell you without looking at the phone model before them.

I just want to know if it's possible off of an iphone that was never backed up. I've been told it's not regardless of the carrier. She has been told to go to web sites that specialize in recovering deleted text messages and other data.

It is possible but you are not going to get a "100%" yes or no answer. This is because how long data is stored before it is ACTUALLY deleted once deleted by the user depends on (1) model of phone, (2) what other data was entered that overrode the deleted data, (3) the carrier, (4) the OS used, etc.

However, it is certainty possible. It is not guaranteed that 100% of the data would be recovered, but a substantial amount - possibly.

See links here, here, and here, for example. See here for an hour's worth of explanation via video about this. Of course, in the end, it all depends on the factors above.

Gentle Reminder: Please use the REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE and submit your rating when we are finished.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.

Can he take his iphone in to AT&T (his carrier) and find out firsthand? I mean, it's his phone. If he left it with a tech or they looked at it and looked at the account, would they be able to tell him if his deleted texts and deleted pictures could be retrieved? He has so much anxiety about this, it would be nice to be able to know for sure.

Expert:  Ely replied 11 months ago.
M,

Can he take his iphone in to AT&T (his carrier) and find out firsthand? I mean, it's his phone.

Sure. If it is his phone and he has it in possession, then there is no need for a court order to recover data. He can take it to ATT or any other tech - it can be an unaffiliated mom-and-pop shop. It does not matter.

If he left it with a tech or they looked at it and looked at the account, would they be able to tell him if his deleted texts and deleted pictures could be retrieved?

Yes. At the very least, they can tell him whether or not it can or cannot be done - of course.

If it is his property and he has it, there is no need for any court order to get this information.

Gentle Reminder: Please use the REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE and submit your rating when we are finished.
Expert:  Ely replied 11 months ago.
Thank you for your gratuity.

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