How To Permanently Delete Messages on Android
If you’ve been holding onto the same phone for a while, you might start to notice your messaging app begin to slow down or take a long time to load.
Deleting your messages on Android isn’t hard, but it can be unclear how to delete every message on your phone at once without factory resetting the device. We’ll cover every method below, from deleting threads to erasing entire libraries of messages on Android.
These methods may differ based on the make and model of your phone, as well as the version of software you’re running. Unlike iPhones, Android texting apps vary. Although the instructions for each vary slightly, we’ll cover a few different apps.
With all that said, let’s get started.
The Android Messaging App
The Android messaging app is often found on LG and Motorola smartphones. If that’s the app you’re using, follow these instructions. If you want to use this app, simply download it from here.
Deleting Individual Messages
We’ll start with the smallest, easiest way to delete texts—deleting single messages from a thread.
Start by opening up the messaging thread containing texts you want to delete. Scroll through the message until you find the text you want to delete, whether it be a sent or received message.
Now tap and hold your finger on the text you want to delete, and the message will highlight itself. An action bar will appear at the top of the display, and tapping the garbage can icon in the top-right corner of your display will erase the message.
Unfortunately, Android Messages doesn’t allow for multiple messages to be deleted this way at once. Instead, you’ll need to long-press one message, then tap the other messages and hit the trash can icon.
Deleting Messaging Threads
Of course, when it comes to deleting entire conversations, deleting messages one by one would take hours, if not longer, depending on how many texts are on your phone.
Deleting old, unused threads is a great middle-ground between deleting every message on your phone and deleting nothing.
It helps keep your texting app clean and clear of any non-important threads, while simultaneously keeping the messages you’ve received from close friends or family members.
To delete a thread, press and hold on the thread you wish to delete from the main messaging menu. A checkmark will appear on top of the photo icon for your texting thread, and another action bar will appear at the top of the display.
Next, tap the trash can icon and confirm by tapping ‘Delete.’
Unlike individual messages, Android Messages does allow for the selection of multiple threads to be both deleted and archived. Once you’ve tapped and held down on a single thread as detailed above, just tap—no holding required—on other threads to delete these as well. The same checkmark will highlight the additional thread, and you’ll be able to delete or archive your threads.
If you’re trying to delete every message on your phone, even selecting and deleting message threads one at a time might be too much work for some users, depending on how many messages populate their phone.
Textra is a messaging app that you can download on any Android device. When you download the app simply set it to your default messaging app. All of your current texts will automatically carry over. We like this app because it does give us a little more freedom to delete messages than others on our list.
Note: Any messages that you delete from Textra will also be removed from your phone’s default messaging app.
In appearance, Textra has nearly the identical layout and design of Android Messages, with two main advantages: complete and total customization, and additional options and settings not offered through the Android Messages app.
Automatically Delete Messages in Textra
So, once you’ve installed Textra through the Google Play Store, fire up the app, let it complete optimization, and dive into settings by hitting that triple-dotted menu button in the top-right hand corner of your display.
Once you’ve opened the settings menu, scroll down to the very bottom of the options and find the “More Stuff” category. It’s here where we’ll find the easiest way to delete your text messages.
Select “Messages to Keep,” from the top of the list, and you’ll receive a pop-up notification allowing you to customize how many messages are shown per conversation.
From here, you can set your text and media message limits to the lowest applicable numbers: 25 and 2, respectively. This will delete all by the most recent 25 text messages per conversation, and all but the most recent 2 media messages per conversation, thus limiting the messages coming into your phone and keeping your conversations private. Once you’ve selected the numbers of your liking, you can tap “Okay” to close the menu, and your phone will do the rest.
If you have a Samsung device it’s highly likely that you are using the default Samsung messaging app. If that’s the case, this section is for you.
Delete Individual Texts
Open your text message app and locate the text you’d like to delete. Then, long-press the message.
A pop-up window will appear. Click ‘Delete.’ Then confirm.
Unlike the other messaging apps that we’ve listed above, you can’t tap on more messages within the thread to delete multiples. But, you can easily delete entire threads.
Delete a Message Thread
You can use this method to quickly delete all messages from one contact, or all messages in your phone. Here’s how:
Long-press the message thread you’d like to remove. It will highlight with a checkmark. Tap on the trash can icon at the bottom and confirm.
This is the perfect solution for deleting old messages with verification codes or spam. However, Samsung makes it really simple to delete all of the message threads at one time too.
Delete All Messages on Samsung
Deleting all messages on a Samsung device is simple. Follow the steps above to long-press one message thread.
Then, click the ‘All’ button at the top of the messaging application. Then, tap on the trash can icon.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I be sure all messages are permanently deleted?
With technology today, it can be difficult to be sure that all traces of your text messages are completely gone. Of course, if your cell phone carrier has them stored on their servers there really isn’t anything you can do.
But, you can make sure there are no traces left on your phone. You’ll need to check for any cloud services that you have on your phone. If you have something like the Samsung Cloud setup, it’s likely that your messages are stored on external servers (even though you can’t see them on your phone).
Look for an option to ‘Delete backup.’ Scroll through and delete any recent (or older) backups depending on the timing of the messages you want permanently deleted.
Can I recover deleted text messages?
In most cases, yes. But, it’s best to avoid deleting any texts you may need later on.
Your first, best option, is to check your cloud service for the texts. If you’re using Textra, they may be saved in a backup. If you use a Samsung or LG, your phone has a native backup service. Simply head over to the phone’s Settings and look for the Sync & Backup option (often found under ‘Accounts).
Attempt to restore your last backup to get your deleted texts back.
If you do need help with a specific texting app, let us know in the comments below!