Cell Phones

Cellphone repair questions? Ask a cellphone technician ASAP

Ask an Expert,
Get an Answer ASAP!

Can litigants produce transcripts of their text messages?

Customer Question
I have seen many litigants...

I have seen many litigants produce transcripts of their text messages to prove their cases on TV. I have been told by my mobile provider, which is AT&T, that they do not save these electronic messages and that there is no way to get them. I really find that hard to believe.

Can you shed some light on how these litigants can produce these documents, please? I need mine for a court case and don't have a lot of time to produce them.

Submitted: 6 years ago.Category: Cell Phones
Show More
Show Less
Ask Your Own Cell Phones Question
Answered in 4 minutes by:
3/7/2012
Cell Phone Technician: Rod, Electronics Engineer replied 6 years ago
Rod
Rod, Electronics Engineer
Category: Cell Phones
Satisfied Customers: 4,501
Experience: Previous employment with GTE (now Verizon) worked with mobile phone systems
Verified

Most wireless carriers do not retain text messages - they are only stored on the phones. Some phones use the internal memory - others you can have the option to store text messages on a SD card (if the phone has that capability).

If the person deleted the message - then it is gone, as the memory space is reused for new data. The only way to produce them, is if they are still on the phone. Sorry, but we have many people asking about retrieving old text messages they deleted, and they are just not there - if they deleted them.

Ask Your Own Cell Phones Question
Customer reply replied 6 years ago

The phone that they are/were on is still in my possession, but after 7 years (it was a "throwaway" phone with a SIM card that I purchased because I had lost my new, expensive phone) I guess eventually the battery just wouldn't accept a charge any longer, and the Radio Shack manager that sold me the newest AT&T phone was able to get my entire phone list from the phone by taking out the SIM card and putting it in his pwn phone and transferring it somehow.

Can this be done with my text messages? The ones that I need now were "saved" with a little button that said to save them and not erase them. In your experience, do you think that anyone could retrieve the needed text messages from the old phone for me? Also, most; if not all of the "Judge" shows on TV, as well as other "Cop" and NCIS programming show people getting those "old" text messages in transcript form long after they've been sent. I understand that they can be retrieved by court order...why then am I being told that they can't be? Either they can be, or they can't....I don't want the "easy" answer, I want the correct answer.... could you do a little research please?

Cell Phone Technician: Rod, Electronics Engineer replied 6 years ago

Most likely the text messages were stored on the internal memory - not the SIM card - but what I cannot understand - if it would not take a charge - did they not have a new battery for it - so it would charge?

There is not an easy way to read the memory, that is internal - it will take a laboratory environment to "attach" to the internal memory and see if the files can be recovered. I do not know of a easy way for this, only a forensic lab can try - and they will tell you they cannot guarantee results.

Was this a GSM phone (AT&T)? If so, it is most likely the text messages were stored on the internal memory - as the SIM card holds the phone information/contacts etc, but the internal memory stores the text messages.

Ask Your Own Cell Phones Question
Customer reply replied 6 years ago

My "Expert" gave a pat answer, not an informed answer. There are ways to get these transcripts, if even through a court order. I already had an answer like his from my mobile provider, which I know is not the correct answer. I expected to PAY for an answer that was both correct and informed, neither of which did I see in my original answer. I sent a reply back to my "Expert", but have not received either an acknowledgement of the reply or an informed answer to the original question. I don't need a popular opinion, I can get those on the street for free. I expected to receive an informed, correct answer, and absent that, I will need a refund, or a REAL expert from AT&T that KNOWS exactly how to accomplish what is needed. IT CAN BE DONE!

Cell Phone Technician: Eric, Android Expert replied 6 years ago
Eric
Eric, Android Expert
Category: Cell Phones
Satisfied Customers: 5,161
Experience: 3 Years as an Android Developer, Complete detailed knowlege of all Android Devices and the OS itself
Verified

Hi and thanks for using JustAnswer. My name is ***** ***** I will do whatever I can to help answer your questions.

I am going to answer this as clearly as I can for you, so that you dont have any misunderstandings about how this works. I will take it step by step:
"All of the "Judge" shows on TV, as well as other "Cop" and NCIS programming show people getting those "old" text messages in transcript form long after they've been sent."

This is television. Last night I also saw on NCIS that they took a laptop out of a car bomb and were able to restore the files and locate the person who owned the laptop. Its nothing but a work of fiction, a fabrication of reality for entertainment purposes and almost nothing you see is on those shows is real. Yes, you can restore some data from an old device.

There about 10 labs in the country that have whats called electronic forensics departments. The issue is, to do so, would cost you about $100,000. They are used by the FBI and other federal agencies. They do not retrieve old text messages for people.

If you cannot get your device to turn on, then there is basically zero chance of you being able to restore those messages as they were stored on the internal memory. Also, over years that memory degrades, especially if not powered on and used.

"I understand that they can be retrieved by court order...why then am I being told that they can't be?" - Yes, they can be. But that is not through your phone. That is a process where the court order goes to the Cellular company for copies of the messages. That court order needs to be sent in within 30 days of the text message being sent as the companies do not store the messages longer than that.

While they will tell you that they do not store those messages, that is true and not true. They do not store them with the intent for you to use them, and under no circumstances can you request them, however they do store them for legal purposes and a timely court order can retrieve them from the company.

I hope this clarifies it for you.

Ask Your Own Cell Phones Question
Customer reply replied 6 years ago

Thank you Eric, this is the type of answer that I had expected originally. The information that I need is from August of 2010. I know that it is still stored in my phone without the battery, if the memory has not "leaked out" by now. If I were able to obtain a new battery for that phone somehow, would your expert opinion be that I could, or could not see the text messages?

I get that even for "millions" I couldn't get AT&T to produce them now, but could I possibly still have access to them and not know it? I told the phone to "save them" the minute I got the texts, so that's why I ask.

THANK YOU again for your detailed answer...even if it isn't what I had hoped for, it's what I need to know so that I can proceed to my next idea to try. Priscilla

Cell Phone Technician: Eric, Android Expert replied 6 years ago

Actually Priscilla, if you were to get a new battery, I would be pretty confident that you would be able to see those texts but please dont in any way take that as a guarantee that you will be able to.

I surely hope you can, and I also would be happy to provide you with a link to purchase a battery pretty cheap so you dont waste money on one, just tell me which make and model phone it is.

Ask Your Own Cell Phones Question
Customer reply replied 6 years ago

THANK YOU, ***** ***** very much. I know that the phone is a Motorola, and I'm tearing the place apart right now to try to find it. I want to say a 620 model (flip phone, no camera) or something, maybe I can find out from AT&T what I had before this new Pantech that I purchased after the Motorola took a dump. The Motorola phone was one of those "throw away" phones that you usually pay for by the minute with no contract. I purchased it because I was angry at AT&T for not replacing the new phone that (I LOST) a week after I purchased it and signed up for a new 2 year contract.

That was about 7 years ago, and I used that $29 Radio Shack phone at that time as my contract phone because I vowed not to purchase another $250 phone from AT&T, or to sign another contract. I finally did 5 months ago when the throw away stopped taking a charge. (I am technologically challenged and because I don't understand it, I get by with whatever works for me that I can understand) I even hate the new Pantech because it isn't the old, easy to use Motorola.

Cell Phone Technician: Eric, Android Expert replied 6 years ago

Its ok Priscilla, take your time. You dont need to run around looking for it just for me. I will be here tonight, tomorrow, next month, etc. When you do find the phone, just take out the battery and look on the inside of the phone and get me the model number and as soon as I see your reply I will find a cheap battery for you.

I am glad that I was able to make your experience with JustAnswer.com better than it was initially.

Thank you for using Just Answer.

Eric
Eric, Android Expert
Category: Cell Phones
Satisfied Customers: 5,161
Experience: 3 Years as an Android Developer, Complete detailed knowlege of all Android Devices and the OS itself
Verified
Eric and 87 other Cell Phones Specialists are ready to help you
Ask your own question now
Was this answer helpful?
Ask Eric Your Own Question
Eric
Eric
Eric, Android Expert
Category: Cell Phones
Satisfied Customers: 5,161
5,161 Satisfied Customers
Experience: 3 Years as an Android Developer, Complete detailed knowlege of all Android Devices and the OS itself

Eric is online now

A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How JustAnswer works:

  • Ask an ExpertExperts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional AnswerVia email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction GuaranteeRate the answer you receive.

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help.

Mary C.Freshfield, Liverpool, UK

This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!!

AlexLos Angeles, CA

Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult.

GPHesperia, CA

I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion.

JustinKernersville, NC

Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around.

EstherWoodstock, NY

Thank you so much for taking your time and knowledge to support my concerns. Not only did you answer my questions, you even took it a step further with replying with more pertinent information I needed to know.

RobinElkton, Maryland

He answered my question promptly and gave me accurate, detailed information. If all of your experts are half as good, you have a great thing going here.

DianeDallas, TX

< Previous | Next >

Meet the Experts:

Eric

Eric

Android Expert

5,161 satisfied customers

3 Years as an Android Developer, Complete detailed knowlege of all Android Devices and the OS itself

Richard S.

Richard S.

Accounts and Device Specialist

2,077 satisfied customers

5 years working with major US carriers in billing, contracts, devices and network

Daniel P.

Daniel P.

Wireless Consultant

1,915 satisfied customers

Extensive experience with AT&T and Alltel/Verizon in areas of tech support and consulting!

Mike

Mike

Cell Phone Technician

724 satisfied customers

6+ Years Repair / Support / Troubleshooting / and Programming Experience

Kriptokrit

Kriptokrit

Cell Phone Tech.

582 satisfied customers

Over 6 years of experience in Electronics support service

Mr. Clark

Mr. Clark

Cell Phone Engineer

509 satisfied customers

Cell Phone Repair Business Owner & CIS Degree

Andy

Andy

Electronics & Computer Consultant

310 satisfied customers

11yrs exp. MS Electrical Engg. Design Engineer. SEO, Cust. support

< Previous | Next >

Related Cell Phones Questions
Went dead during conversation. It is blinking. Took battery
went dead during conversation JA: When did you last charge your phone? Customer: it is blinking JA: Have you tried a force reboot (pressing and holding the Power button)? Customer: took battery out an… read more
Harry
Harry
1,701 satisfied customers
Fading battery. Samsung s-6 active. Ordered new battery on
Ordered new battery on line. Tools also sent. watched U-tube on how to change out. Said you need to send me to china to learn Samsung. Chickened out took to Computer repair store. He cannot get the screen off and is afraid he will break screen. Samsung's planned obsolescence is beyond belief. … read more
Sean Feehan
Sean Feehan
IT Specialist & Admin Asst.
Associate Degree
57 satisfied customers
My TracFone LG Rebel shows invalid battery and shuts off. LG
my TracFone LG Rebel shows invalid battery and shuts off … read more
Expert-Repair
Expert-Repair
Owner Kingsland Auto & Marine Services
Vocational, Technical or Trade Scho
11 satisfied customers
1 WANT TO BUY A NEW BATTERY FOR SAMSUNG J3 6 CELL PHONE.
1 WANT TO BUY A NEW BATTERY FOR SAMSUNG J3 6 CELL PHONE … read more
Richard
Richard
IT Manager
IT Manager, Consultant
3,415 satisfied customers
I have a power pack that I use in case my cell battery
I have a power pack that I use in case my cell battery depletes when I'm out on the road. However, i'm very unclear on what it actually does. Obviously if I leave my phone on with no power coming into… read more
Samuel White
Samuel White
Owner and Expert Tech
246 satisfied customers
I can't hear on it. Could it be the battery. I can talk on
I can't hear on it. Could it be the battery. I can talk on it and others can hear me, I just can't hear them … read more
Richard
Richard
IT Manager
IT Manager, Consultant
3,415 satisfied customers
It appears the battery has died-I recharge it and a very
it appears the battery has died-I recharge it and a very short time it is DEAD. before I buy a coffin [said the Scot] can the batter by rplacced, or should I buy antoerh tracphone? … read more
Samuel White
Samuel White
Owner and Expert Tech
246 satisfied customers
My ihome ibt22a clock radio stopped communicating with my
My ihome ibt22a clock radio stopped communicating with my iphone 7+ when the new OS was installed a week or so ago, I think OS 11. I called Apple and they couldn't fix it, and I emailed iHome and they… read more
Richard Hill
Richard Hill
Director
Vocational, Technical or Trade Scho
57 satisfied customers
AT&T P2030. Taaking out the battery in hopes the phone would
taaking out the battery in hopes the phone would reset Looked on quite a few sites for help … read more
Harry
Harry
1,701 satisfied customers
How does it take for batteries to charge new phone. Tze.
How long does it take for batteries to charge new phone … read more
Russell H.
Russell H.
Computer Technology Consultant
Vocational, Technical or Trade Scho
789 satisfied customers
Low battery on my Verizon Wireless 2,0 MEGA Pixel flipt top.
low battery on my Verizon Wireless 2,0 MEGA Pixel flipt top … read more
Harry
Harry
1,701 satisfied customers
A red light is blinking next "need a new battery" I don'
As I said, it's not he phone. It's on the large white box attached to the wall … read more
p0llinate
p0llinate
Bachelors of Science
14 satisfied customers
I need help to purchase a battery replacement for my Model
I need help to purchase a battery replacement for my Model E52 system. … read more
Samuel White
Samuel White
Owner and Expert Tech
246 satisfied customers
I am trying to network unlock an old Panasonic EB-G51M, GSM
I am trying to network unlock an old Panasonic EB-G51M, GSM Cellular Telephone, originally from Telcel Mexico. NO ONE including Telcel can unl;ock this phone. they do not carry them anymore and sent m… read more
Harry
Harry
1,701 satisfied customers
Have a Samsung Rugby phone several years old, battery died,
Have a Samsung Rugby phone several years old, battery died, bought another exact battery for the phone but it WON'T charge. What could keep the phone from charging with a new battery? … read more
Pete
Pete
Engineer
Bachelor\u0027s Degree
1,130 satisfied customers
My remote on one of my uverse type stopped working. Battery
My remote on one of my uverse type stopped working. Battery relacement or re booting did not cure problem. Remote from 2nd tv does work on tv with broken remote (I do us tv remote to get pass set up i… read more
Richard
Richard
IT Manager
IT Manager, Consultant
3,415 satisfied customers
Camera don't work / touch camera button then it goes to
camera don't work / touch camera button then it goes to camera then goes black and back to front screen and says can not open camera. … read more
Richard
Richard
IT Manager
IT Manager, Consultant
3,415 satisfied customers
Does at&t support unlocked gsm phones in athens georgia? i
does at&t support unlocked gsm phones in athens georgia? … read more
Richard
Richard
IT Manager
IT Manager, Consultant
3,415 satisfied customers
Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.

Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.

Show MoreShow Less

Ask Your Question

x